Disappointing Oranje

As Oranje fans we had our fair share of defeats and disappointments. And our fair share of criticism for the coach. A new coach usually results in a little oomph, a motivational injection to give players the impetus to show themselves, to prove themselves.

At the same time, you’d expect the coach to take logical decisions. We missed that at times under Hiddink, Blind and Advocaat. Koeman brought common sense and realism back, both in tactics and in organisational aspects around the team.

Frank de Boer was supposed to follow the course Koeman set sail in. This is what the players requested. But in the first friendly vs Mexico it seems Frank likes to tinker to experience things for himself. The most useful friendly ever was an opportunity for Frank to test partnerships and see youngsters at work.

It showed us a couple of things: Wijndal is defensively not ready for the big games. Hateboer is great, in a 3-4-3 (or 5-3-2) system. Not as a defender in a back 4. Koopmeiners has everything to become a top international. Berghuis is the man in form.

Against Bosnia, it was a certainty that Blind and Dumfries would return into the team, but there was some hope that De Boer would use the more dynamic Van de Beek in his line up, instead of De Roon. And everyone expected Berghuis to start.

Sadly, De Boer decided to use De Roon as holding mid against a team that was known to sit back and play compact. De Roon had the most touches of the whole team (105+ or so) and you know you’re in trouble when that is the case.

Even more sadly, for some reason De Boer used Malen as a right winger (!) instead of Berghuis. Malen never played right on the wing at top level (maybe in his youth) while Berghuis is one of the few players in top form (with Luuk de Jong and Stefan de Vrij). Van Dijk is not 100%, Cillesen doesn’t play, Promes is terribly lacking confidence and form… the list goes on.

With Luuk de Jong up front you want to see crosses. It took 70 minutes for Frank de Boer to bring Steven Berghuis and with the Feyenoord captain in the team, Holland started to become more threatening.

Frank de Boer admitted after the game that he regretted not starting with Berghuis, which probably means the former Watford winger will start vs Italy.

De Boer rued the open chances we got. Bosnia wasn’t great either and did get a couple of opportunities (in particular when Dzeko came in in the second half) but Holland had a number of chances that really needed to be converted at this level. If you want to be top, you gotta score them. A free header for Stefan de Vrij. A shooting opp for Frenkie from an acute angle, Luuk de Jong’s header, the Frenkie opportunity after a probing run by Berghuis and a open chance for Babel after a great Frenkie move on the left.

Babel didn’t hit the target, and probably broke the corner flag in two.

At least one of those needed to be converted to get us the three points and the lead in the group (as Italy drew in Poland).

There were a lot of things we can pinpoint here. Low passing speed. Lack of creativity in build up. Lack of forward passing from the back. Lack of understanding between the players in the ax (Wijnaldum?) and highly disappointing performance by Quincy Promes.

But overall, I do blame Frank de Boer for this draw. It is not in my nature to blame the coach for one bad game, but I don’t understand why he played De Roon and not Van de Beek nor do I understand why Malen didn’t play from the left, with Berghuis on the right.

Against Italy, De Roon would have been needed (but he is suspended for that match). Now Frank needs to bring Donny (I suppose) and I can’t see him ignore Berghuis again.

Depending on fitness, I think we’ll see the same team, with Memphis for Luuk. I hope Malen will keep his place and Berghuis for Promes. Van de Beek for De Roon (with Wijnaldum next to Frenkie and Donny on #10).

But, it doesn’t matter who starts, if we don’t learn to read the game and spot the danger (like when Oranje played Italy at home and their left back thought he was having his birthday and Xmas on the same day!) versus Italy we will get hammered.

I hope Frank has learned from his screw up and gets this team to play to their potential. I think 1-3 again. Own goal De Vrij, and upfront Berghuis, Memphis and Van de Beek scoring.

And then, we lead the group again. As we like it.

Your thoughts??

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  1. I am with you I’m not typically blaming a coach for a loss, especially just as he’s starting, but it’s hard not to think this lays at FdB’s feet. If nothing else, it seems he failed to motivate the team— they were slow and sloppy for most of the 90.

    The de Roon thing is annoying and puzzling. I couldn’t understand why he’d start against a lesser (and more defensive) team, but then I thought that, as long as he was on the pitch, the Frenkie and Gini would have more opportunity to push forward and create chances. But that clearly wasn’t the plan either. Not until late in the game, when Frenkie pushed forward as things got desperate, did we start to see some magic.

    I also thought it odd that he set up the team asymmetrically— Dumfries is clearly a wingback, but Blind doesn’t have the wheels to go on those same kind of adventurous runs, so everything went down the right, where Dumfries was too sloppy and Malen couldn’t quite find his feet either.

    Overall it looked like the game plan was bad, the motivation was low, and the individual players were really sloppy (most, not all). Hard to watch.

  2. Imagine if there is a serious game played now between 2 teams that Ronald Koeman coached recently: the Dutch national team and the English club site Everton.

    Chances are the score will be 3-0 for Everton. What’s the difference?

    Koeman did have some success with the national team. But I must qualify that statement with two observations. 1. Most teams did not take the Nations League seriously in 2018, and 2. Koeman did not create a good bench. In other words, if any key member of his first team failed, he had no backup plan. He was incredibly lucky during the 2018-19 Nations league in that regard but the skeletons came out of the closet from the Euro qualifiers. After he left, the Dutch national team tried to keep Koeman’s methods and tactics. Same boring style, lateral play, and lack of penetration. The results are in front of everyone to see.

    In contrast, after Koeman was asked to leave, Everton went through a coaching carousel of their own. They first got Sam Allardyce as a stopgap, then Marco Silva, and then finally Carlo Ancelotti. The current team now has no semblance of the disastrous Koeman period and is certainly one of the top teams of the world.

    The difference between the two teams is Carlo Ancelotti. Something to think about and get a proven top-notch coach for the Dutch national team.

    1. I get your point(s) and they are overall pretty good, in my view.

      The Nations League campaign under Koeman was helped in a big way due to France and Germany just coming out of the World Cup: Germany as a disgrace and needing to rebuild and France as winners, with a full belly…

      The comparison with Everton is not a good one to make, in my view. Working with a team day in day out or being the man who puts the right players on the right spot for an international game is not the same. Frank only had 30 mins of training before the Mexico game, for instance. That is crazy! It’s sad for Frank (and us) that the Federation wasn’t able to 1) appoint the coach sooner and 2) scrap the friendly.

  3. FDB cannot do much about his mediocrity. He shouldn’t be where he is and he probably knows it but it is his last chance to prove himself. V Dijk and the rest who pushed for FDB should be ashamed. I won’t be able to control my laugh if Italy wins again and especially if we don’t score. Not stressing out anymore.

    1. I don’t think the players pushed for De Boer.

      I am pretty sure the players wanted Henk ten Cate or Peter Bosz. De Boer simply was available and he was a “safe” option for the board. Ten Cate is not a safe option as he will not mince words when dealing with the top brass.

  4. Previously, I had predicted that Dutch NT will draw with Bosnia and lost to Italy.

    FdB is not the leader for this team. His previous coaching experience did not help him.

  5. Lets not forget that things were starting to look the same under koeman. vs Belarus, vs Nothern Ireland. the only draw back for koeman era would be that he never built a good bench.

    FDB’s triumph in eredivisie was mainly due to the exceptional contingent he had. nothing else. Im sure he must be well versed with the tactical aspects of 4-3-3 formation having being deploying it everywhere he has gone but at the end of the day he is not koeman. sames goes with Dwight Lodeweges as well who was also in the mix of things on the bench and just like the game vs germany, the paper and scribbling was full going on between him and FDB. which eventually did lead to van Dijk being pushed up to play as striker and with Berghuis and hateboer providing more threat from the right. crosses etc. on the left Babel came on for Blind as wingback to add threat from the flanks and supposedly to provide crosses as well for van dijk and Luuk but he turned out be a bloody diarrhoea. you can see tatically they knew what they were doing and it did work to some extent but may be the timing was out. they should have done substitution more earlier.

    1. The hunt for the next no 10 should be the main priority going onwards from here. we have had alot of debate on Wijnaldums overall contribution in NT especially when it comes creativity and now you can pencil it, its time now to move on from him. Maybe Depay at 10 and somebody else upfront.

  6. The biggest flaw is that we don’t have a real number 9. I like Depay, but he doesn’t have the traits that van Nistelrooij, van Persie, Kluivert, Huntelaar and co had. All of these guys would preoccupy the cb’s and generate space by just being on the pitch.

    Ideally we would have a good 9, and then Depay can slip back to a 10, which is basically what he does now. Then we can have 2 wingers, Stengs and Promes would be my choices right now, but I don’t mind Berghuis either.

    Frenkie and Wijnaldum play 6 and 8 respectively, I like van de Beek, but don’t think he fits in right now. Frenkie’s one of the best 6’s in the world, he’s a good 8 as well.

    Cb’s are sorted, its van Dijk and de Ligt. My choice for LB would be Wijndal and RB would be Hateboer, but there’s a lot of arguments to be made for every one.

      1. lammers, Boadu, Malen should be the front runners. lammers has hit the ground rolling at Atalanta and hopefully he will get to play more and in CL. like I said sacrifice euros, long term goal, WC Qatar. just keep rotating with the upcoming players.

        1. I actually prefer Zirkzee to all of them. He’s a big guy, he can hold the ball up. He’s in a bad situation at Bayern with Choupo-Moting now there, but I think he gets out in the winter transfer window, at least on loan.

  7. If we put aside frank de boers incompetence for a minute, one of the biggest reasons for the huge drop in quality in this team is wijnaldum, he had some explosive games last two season against France in Rotterdam and against Germany in Hamburg when oranje won 4-2!! But this guy has totally disappeared, what’s so annoying is that managers with no balls like frank de boer would never dare to bench him, his performance against Bosnia was pathetic we didn’t hear his name until the 40th minute , but he will still be compensated by a starting position against Italy tomorrow !!!!

    1. If he doesn’t dare to bench an under performed player like Wijnaldum, then he has a weak leadership in this team. Another weakness is his tactical ability during the game.

    1. Yep Ukraine did that, and Switzerland tied Germany today, and Poland tied Italy on Sunday, and Bosnia tied Italy a couple of weeks ago…there are lots of unhappy boards, just like this one, all over the world these days.

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