De Boer on his Euro plans

The competition is done, in The Netherlands. The biggest shock probably Emmen’s relegation. After a dramatic return to form the popular club fought themselves back into a relegation play-off and after 90 minutes of attacking and creating dozens of chances vs NAC Breda, they failed to score and got relegated after losing the penalty-series. The big leagues will all be done with competition football this weekend so it’s time for a look at the Euros, with Frank de Boer.

“It’s key to create a good vibe. We’ll be together for weeks and having a good atmosphere or not-so-good atmosphere will be key. I have been around when the vibe was not good, in 1990 and 1996 and look at the results. Whereas in 1998 we had a real connection in the squad and we overachieved.”

Johan Cruyff liked to use the conflict model to drive players to higher levels. Frank thinks it’s an outdated concept. “You can use the conflict model with individual players. Not everyone responds well to it. But overall, I am a fan of the Deschamps method. Any coach would want Benzema in his squad but Deschamp left him out for many years, as he would be toxic in the group. No Benzema in 2018, in other words.”

Louis van Gaal tweaked the traditional Dutch 4-3-3 for the 2014 World Cup after realising that Oranje couldn’t beat the strong teams in that way. Arjen Robben back then was the only real winger in the top of Europe and different playing styles were needed. Bert van Marwijk was also a pragmatic coach and Frank de Boer soaked it up when he assisted Bert in 2010. “I will definitely sit down with Bert before the Euros to revisit that World Cup. He got the maximum result out of the team and we weren’t the favorites back then.”

How long would you want the squad together prior to a tournament?

“I’d say, ideally 3 weeks. Now it’s less than two weeks. We have four days between our friendlies vs Scotland and Georgia. But…”ideal” is out of the window. Ideally, we have full stadiums too. You also see big droves of Orange coloured fans marching towards the stadium, that is all not going to happen. Or maybe at least a bit.”

How do you look back at that Euros in 2000, also in The Netherlands?

“Very positively, actually. I don’t see those two missed penalties vs Italy as my trauma, no. I think we are all proud of what we did, despite that match. And playing in our own country. And now again, three games in Amsterdam. We are favorite in the group, I get that. We won’t skirt away from that. But, Ukraine kept France at 1-1 and also beat Spain 1-0 in the Nations League. The same Spain that embarrassed Germany 6-0, you know? And Austria, they do have quality players from the Bundesliga in their squad. You may have heard of one David Alaba?”

What is the objective for Oranje at the Euros?

“I want to say semi-finals, at least. That is where I think we should aim for. Final four. But, everything needs to work with us, no injuries, no silly red cards and key players in form. Anything beyond semi finals would be a tremendous results. Our first 13 players are all top class. And I see we’re homogeneous, as a team. I can see parallels with the 1998 team. And we have some exciting youngster on top of the 13 and some great utility players. The mix is excellent. We can reach far but I think we are not the real faves. I think we’re an outsider. Belgium, France and Spain are top favorites for me. And don’t underestimate Portugal, England, Germany and Italy. I think we belong in that second series of 4 nations.”

How will we play?

“We’ll vary, I want to be able to shift systems instantly, during games. I want to move from 4-3-3 to 5-3-2 or 3-4-3. We will work on this in the prep period. I have discussed this with the players already and some of them, those 13, are used to this already with their clubs. As a coach, I used to play 4-3-3 predominantly. We want to be dominant. Holland isn’t a team that parks the bus. Also, counter football is not our thing as we lack pure speed up front. Whether it’s Memphis, Luuk de Jong, Berghuis or Weghorst, speed is not their weapon. Only Malen has that in his arsenal. But we need to make decisions. What happens if we lose possession here. Or there, you know. Do we have the lock on the door? Is the rest-defence properly organised? Turkey away, for instance… What went wrong? Two goals conceded from a turnaround moment in the game. That is completely unnecessary. In Poland, same thing. One moment of concentration loss and boom, you concede because you’re wide open. That needs to improve. When we played Italy in Bergamo, we did way better. The Italy version of Oranje, and whether you call it 5-3-2 or 3-5-2, I want to use these systems and want to switch during a match, if need be. But not in the first round. Only when we play tough opponents who want the ball even more than us (Spain?) We also need to assess which players are top, which are truly fit, after this long and tough season. And then find a way to have your best players excel. The good thing is, all players, even the youngster, have played with a back three, so no one will say “Wtf is De Boer cooking up for us now??”….

What will be Ruud van Nistelrooy’s role?

“Well, among other things he will work with our forwards. If there is one player who knows what it takes to score, it’s him. He is also a very good analyst, so he’ll do scouting and analysing for us as well. I also want him to talk about 2008, under Van Basten. We played a sensational set of group games, only to lose focus afterwards. And in the first knock-out match, we get beaten. Ruud has seen it all.”

How was your own debut in 1992 and what did you learn from that?

“I was never coached or guided by the older players. What can you expect, how to behave, what to be aware of, etc… I want to do things differently. Back then Michels said: “You’re in the squad. Do your thing.” He never said how he wanted me to play, for instance, what the plans were. But also 1998 was a big lesson. I remember thinking “Wow, we’re playing a nice tournament!”. But the team focus was never “We can win this!!”. We were quite happy with ourselves and when we lost the semis vs Brazil, we even felt like “Wow, being beaten by Brazil…yes, that can happen…”. Now, I look back and think: we should have approached that game differently. And many 1998 players look back at that match and feel the same way. We were satisfied with playing the semis. That is not good enough, hahahaha.”

What does it mean for the hierarchy in the dressing room, now Captain Virgil isn’t present?

“We will miss him dearly. His leadership, his charisma and of course his football qualities. But the hierarchy… there won’t be a vacuum, don’t worry. Wijnaldum is very vocal in the dressing room, Memphis as wel. They’re leaders. Then we have players who lead by example, like Blind and De Ligt and Frenkie. We have enough leaders. Our training sessions will be intense and no one will pull out of a challenge.”

Did you not select Weghorst in the past because he might disturb the vibe in the squad?

“Huh? No… I never thought about that, with him. Never looked at it like that. No, Weghorst position was already doubly booked, so to speak. Babel and Malen on the left, Stengs and Berghuis on the right and Memphis and Luuk de Jong centrally. End of story. And Wout is doing so well, he is a top striker and whether he is an asshole in the match or not, I don’t care. But as long as he’s an asshole to the opponent, hahahaha.”

You know already which 26 players will be selected?

“I have a couple of players where I am not 100% sure yet. I still need to lay that egg. I also considered bringing Virgil as one of the three additional players, even if he couldn’t play, just for his presence in the squad. But I won’t.”

How will you deal with the social media stuff?

“It’s part of life now. Players do a lot with this and it’s all good. We do have someone in the back room staff who will take care of films and photos, so the players 1) don’t have to worry about that and 2) can be assured they’ll look good on the pic, hahaha.”

Do you support a mandatory vaccination policy for the players?

“No! That is an individual decision, people should be free to decide for themselves.”

Bookmark and Share


  1. The way I see the midfield holds the key to the sucess of the team and as to how far they can go.

    If they are able to pull the right strings and bring the forwards in the game, what FDB said is possible.

  2. Belguim final 26

    Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Matz Sels (Strasbourg)

    Defenders: Jan Vertonghen (Benfica), Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Thomas Vermaelen (Vissel Kobe), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin), Jason Denayer (Lyon)

    Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Axel Witsel (Borussia Dortmund), Youri Tielemans (Leicester), Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Dennis Praet (Leicester), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund), Timothy Castagne (Leicester), Nacer Chadli (Istanbul Basaksehir)

    Forwards: Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Jeremy Doku (Rennes), Leandro Trossard (Brighton)

    backline is a question mark.

  3. Kevin Diks,AGF, on loan from Fiorentina,Jeffery Bruma wolfburg, Van Ginkel PSV on loan from Chelsea are officially free agents now and of course Depay and wijnaldum who are both looking for clubs.

  4. Nice comment by Klopp on Wijnaldum:

    “Gini Wijnaldum. An LFC legend now and forever. What this person – this wonderful, joyful, selfless person – has done for our team and club I cannot sum up in words, in truth, because my English is not good enough.

    “He is an architect of our success. We have built this Liverpool on his legs, lungs, brain and his huge, beautiful heart. If – and it is still if – he goes, he does so knowing we as his teammates are eternally grateful for having this special human being come into our lives. I love him and he will always be family.”

    1. You can tell his quality by the fact that Kloop still play him in the starting XI while there is big chance that he will go by the end of the season. My concern is that he did not play well in the last few games for us, mostly due to tactical reason from FDB. I hope FDB can sort it out before the Euro.

      1. I have long said this, klopp has turned him into jack of all trade master of none and thats why in NT he hasnt really being able reach his upper limit and maintain consistency at that level.

        1. I don’t know why you have this agenda against him but saying jack of all trade master of none is wrong. In Liverpool, his role is to help transition the ball from defense to offense and he did that really well. His ability to retain the ball in small space is very useful. In Netherlands, we have Frenkie did better in that role so Wijnaldum is playing AM. He was playing really well under Koeman where he scored and assisted goals. Under FDB, the whole team has failed so far and that would be more on FDB than Wijnaldum not showing up in these games.

          1. you are spot on but come NT the whole scenario changes. his workload increases and he is no more playing around the same players where his role is confined to like what you have said.

            its also true he was playing good under koeman particularly in the Nations league where they reached the final and also in the qualifiers for the same competition but he hasnt been able to maintain the same form/consistency coming through and as we saw in the EC qualifiers which under koeman as well.

          2. his situation in NT is such when he is good he is good and when he is bad , he is a ghost. a lot also depends on the tempo of the game being played as well.

          3. There has been many players who have gone on thrive exceptionally well at one club but then flopped after transfer. this to say they thrive because their role is confined to the limits of their ceiling/capabilities and after transfer when the situation demands for an upgrade or with more competent players around in the same team like to that of VD Beek situation at Man United, the transition is often difficult and outcome is “Flop” . the other one I can think of is Mario Gotze when he went to Bayern. injuries aside and with Guardiloa constantly demanding more and pushing players to their limits , consistency etc contributed to his fallout

            I see the same happening to wijnaldum. if he goes to a team where there are more competent players than him in the team, he will end up the same, Fallout. Again the same as VD Beek. if he goes to a team where he fits in better with less competent players around him then he might thrive becoming an integral part or standout in the team. I think this was also the he same scenario when he was at Newcastle and I would say Liverpool as well..

            wijnaldum has scored some very important goals and at the highest level but frankly speaking consistency has been his biggest problem and he is not a player whom you can expect to pull some thing extra special from the hat when needed the most. *yes he did pull something special vs Barcelona but im more taking about his situation in NT where to some extent he has become stagnant.

  5. Ukraine had a friendly game vs Bahrain without their overseas based contingent . the game ended 1-1 but its very clear what Shevachenko is trying to do. I was looking at their last couple of games, shevachenko has basically being using same set of players in different formation through out and its evident he trying to find the right balance with his players strength to where they fit the best, mainly in which formation. A smart move and I think is Sheva is very much working on getting his tatic right.

  6. Spain’s squad

    Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Robert Sanchez, Unai Simon

    Defenders: Aymeric Laporte, Jose Gaya, Jordi Alba, Pau Torres, Eric Garcia, Diego Llorente, Cesar Azpilicueta

    Article continues below

    Midfielders: Marcos Llorente, Sergio Busquets, Rodri, Pedri, Thiago, Koke, Fabian

    Forwards: Dani Olmo, Mikel Oyarzabal, Gerard Moreno, Alvaro Morata, Ferran Torres, Adama Traore, Pablo Sarabia

  7. @Wilson,

    Your comment:

    “I see the same happening to wijnaldum. if he goes to a team where there are more competent players than him in the team, he will end up the same, Fallout. Again the same as VD Beek. if he goes to a team where he fits in better with less competent players around him then he might thrive becoming an integral part or standout in the team.”

    Liverpool doesn’t have competent players?

    1. in the midfield I meant and attacking midfield to be precise. Milner, Ketia, Ox, Thiago (injury prone), Henderson. apart from Fabiano,who more defensive midfielder.

        1. Re Chelsea. Not the same. He didn’t play the same attacking role for Liverpool as the attacking mf’s do for Chelsea. He played deeper in the mf with alot of defensive responsibility and getting the ball to the forwards, and when the
          time was right coming in behind them. Always running, reading the game and always keeping balance, when one of the other mf’s moved forward.

          He is not going to Chelsea, so the question is moot, but were he there, he would play in the Jorginho/Kante positions. He would not play ahead of Kante—but who would? But if he played instead of Jorginho, Chelsea wouldn’t miss a beat. And I mean no disrespect to Jorginho, a very good player.

          1. he doesn’t play the same attacking role because he cant. in other words his upper limit is lower than most other attacking mifielders in epl. have you watched Ketia when he starts for Liverpool or when he comes of the bench. he brings more creativity and attacking pros than wijnaldum but unfortunately his start at liverpool has been hampered by continuous injury and is struggling for minutes.

            both you and Kevin are spot on about how he has been influential to the team,

            “help transition the ball from defense to offense”

            I also agree with this , but my argument point here is that NT doesnt have either Mane or salah and this is where everything changes. he doesnt to have drop deep compared to when playing at Liverpool as Frenkie is behind him. this is where his creditability mainly as attacking midfielder raises the eye brow. especially in tighter games.

            I know you will bring up what happened last year or before that year, under koeman etc but the fact is past is not equal to present. you can not just dwell on what he did two season ago given his present day form. again from NT point of view.

          2. “this is where his creditability mainly as attacking midfielder raises the eye brow. especially in tighter games”.

            correction: especially in high tempo games

  8. I aslo dont agree that he plays a deeper role at Liverpool. like I said, at same pint in time everybody has to drop back and defend and with klopp deploying point back wards midfield, its Fabaino who controls the defensive line and the other two midfeilders merely drop back to link with him and like you guys said help in the transition of the ball.

  9. Darn , Wilson, sometimes I think Wijnaldum must have kicked your dog or snubbed an autograph request from you at some time. You criticize him because he isn’t what you want him to be…a dynamic no. 10 such as a Sneijder or a Bruno Fernandes. Why not appreciate what he is, and what he brought to a Liverpool team that had a terrific 5 year run with him in the lineup (see Klopp’s words, not mine)?

    As for his performances for the team that beat France, Germany twice, and England; well, you pointed that out, not me.

    But I agree that if someone shows better, they should play. The flipside of that, though, is the question: What player eligible for the NT should be playing the role he’s been filling? Or should have been playing it the last couple of years?

    1. Didnt I make it clear I was more looking from NT point of view.

      Didnt I also say past is not equal to present day.

      Lets come back to him after the euros and when he joins his next club.

      1. You have said this for years Wilson. Like Fabinho will take his place, Keita will take his place, this is the final year and Liverpool will not offer him contract and will bench him. He is still starting for Liverpool even if he will leave.

        Eventually he will decline, but is this prediction? I can start criticizing FDJ now and in maybe 15 years he will be bad, does that mean my prediction come true?

        Even this year, he still start for 3rd best club in EPL. Which midfield we have that have similar record? FDJ and De Roon, and that is it. An alternative to his role is your other favorite player, Klaassen, which I think is alright but nowhere near his level.

        1. for Liverpool they will replace him with some one better or of his calibre with ease ,No doubt. they also are in CL hence they will be able to attract big players or players from big teams.

          I think you guys are not getting my point across and again from NT POINT OF VIEW. They need more quality in midfield and I have also said this plenty times as well , wijnaldum unfortunately is the best they have got and thats how its gonna maybe unless someone else pops up like what Andrew said.

          My argument and not negativity has been about his consistency level and creativity and again this something in the view of or in context to NT having a likely shot at winning a major tournament. this because on the final hurdle it always comes down to quality of the team and the players and this again will be a deciding factor in the upcoming euros. penalty upsets aside

          Not to say, I have also maintained that he was at his peak during the Nation league and the qualifiers, when they reached the final but since then he has been fading in and out and has become stagnant to some extent.

          1. Understood. I agree that his consistency for NT was not ideal recently. That’s why dropping Strootman and Babel is best for the team because it give better competition and if first XI does not perform, we will have some decent sub.

            I disagree with this “for Liverpool they will replace him with some one better or of his calibre with ease”. You see, the only reason Liverpool did not renew his contract is he demand a rich contract. That’s why Bayern also hesitate. It is reasonable for him to demand that after his previous years performance and this is the last chance he can cash it in. Klopp indeed plan for his replacement for years but none of that is working. Keita failed, Thiago failed. Wijnaldum did very well for Liverpool and Klopp still start him even he know he will leave. Why? Because he needed to get to top 4.

  10. As for your last question. Defintely Tjaronn Chery.Its just pity that only in Dutch football, preference is more given to where you play and not how you play.Its the Dutch coaches themselves who are to be blamed. If Danny Blind would have given Tjaronn chery to prove himself when he was was called up to NT, things could have been different. He was a talented guy and I still grond my teeth thinking how he was overlooked by both Danny and Van Gaal.

  11. Looks like Barcelona are circling Wijndal and have almost concluded a deal for Wijnaldum. If Depay signs as well, it’s going to start becoming a very Oranje Barcelona again.

  12. England’s Provisional squad. Midfield look light and is area of intrest.

    Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United)

    Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Ben Godfrey (Everton), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ben White (Brighton)

    Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (West Ham, on loan from Manchester United), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

    Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)

Join the Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.