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Why I think Oranje will be the next Euro champs!

There are several responses. 1. because I always think we win the next tournament. 2. Because it will be fun for us and the blog. And 3. because we have a great group of players who – even without Frenkie – can dazzle and win games.

I’m sure that the work of Ten Hag, Slot, Pep, Klopp, Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Peter Bosz will rub off on Koeman and after meddling with 4-3-3 and 5-3-2 and 3-4-3 he finally landed on the best system for Oranje, the 1-4-2-2-2.

Where he used to have the inclination to leave the right flank open (so Dumfries could bomb into space left available by Wijnaldum or Xavi or Lang or whoever played there) today he has the option to do the same at the left side and play with a more contained option (Geertruida) on the right. In this way he can utitlise a proper right winger (Frimpong) and leaving the left flank open for a player like Van de Ven or Maatsen to dominate the left flank.

Koeman would stack the left with ball players (Blind or Ake, Frenkie, Gakpo) and the right with legs and speed. Now we can do this on the right, with Geertruida,

We can play the compact game against dominating teams (Spain, Germany) and play high up the pitch against transition teams parking the bus.

Our goalies are very decent if not more than that.

Our defence is world class.

Our midfield is talented and eager.

Our forwards are getting in the groove. Memphis is hungry (playing for a new deal, remember?), Xavi and Frimpong are exciting, Gakpo has class and with the addition of Zirkzee, we do have a bit of everything. We have a real 9 in Brobbey, a roaming mercurial forward in Memphis, a class act like Zirkzee and of course pinchhitter Wout Weghorst.

It feels like the team has finally realised that 1. winning is everything and 2. we have the goods to be the winner.

So I say, we will probably beat Poland 3-0. I think we’ll have a shock win over France as well ( 0-1 Frimpong) and Austria will end up being our toughest opponent in the group.

I have a good feeling people! Hup Holland Hup!

 

 

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Koeman calls up Jan for the blog!

Hi my friends, the last months on the blog were quite….quiet. My dear friend Tarcisio is having some IT issues and as our boys will be playing for the title soon, I thought it prudent to get back here and commentate on the Oranje games.

Word of warning: I will not go into the deep end for other national teams. Focus will be Oranje and their games.

And a big ASK: I have had to spend more money into getting the site back up and running.

After years of offering this platform, there have always been just a handful of committed fans who would support the blog with some digits. You probably know the cost of running this sortathing?

At the same time, I do see some people really getting a lot of joy/mileage from this platform so I need to ask all who can, to chip in a bit for the opportunity I offer people to share stories, their comments, their comical banter and at times their less than friendly banter.

If we value this orange community, please share a bit of your materialised energy so we can keep it going.

A proper post, soon! For now, please use the link below:

 

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Prelim Squad announced for Oranje

Almost a month to go and we’re starting to leave the club competitions behind us.

You will have seen the squad selection by now? I don’t think too many surprises.

For some, the absence of Bizot was a surprise, as he was called up for the last international games. He was most likely part of the prelim squad, if not for some domestic family issues. Marco decided to forfeit the Euros as his family circumstances have not been resolved and he prefers to be with the family during the summer.

The list of injured players ( Hartman, Wieffer, Lang) might become longer with question marks for Marten de Roon, Frenkie de Jong, Memphis Depay and Zirkzee, while Luuk de Jong definitely retired from the NT.

Calvin Stengs, Thijs Dallinga and Steven Berghuis will have had idle hope and should something happen to Malen or Bergwijn or Xavi Simons, these three might still get a look in.

If Frenkie and Memphis can join the squad, I do believe we’ll be in good shape.

We simply need our key players to be in form and Koeman to pick a logical starting eleven for the games at the Euros.

I mean, our goalkeepers are fine. Our central defenders are top. Maatsen and Ake can cover the left side, even Blind might be able to play against opponents parking the bus. Frimpong and Dumfries will cover the right with Geertruida also on hand.

Our midfield options are pretty good, with Veerman, Schouten, Reijnders and Koopmeiners and when fit, we can expect some fire upfront from Malen, Gakpo, Simons and Brobbey.

As mentioned, we need Koeman to make the right decisions and allow the players to play to their strengths.

It may sound simplistic, but we need two teams: 1 that can dominate possession against the minions and 1 that can play on the transition when playing the strong countries who themselves want to dominate.

I will suggest three at the back in both scenarios and I would personally use Bijlow as first goalie.

My two teams:

 

 

Tell me your fave line up in the comments….

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SC Heerenveen shows interest in Robin van Persie

In recent weeks, SC Heerenveen announced that they will not continue with Kees van Wonderen for next season. The Frisian club is looking for a new name to take charge of the team.

The name that gained traction within the club was that of former Dutch national team and Feyenoord center forward, Robin van Persie. Currently working as a coach for Feyenoord’s U17 team, he has been promoted to the U21 team.

Stadionclub intends to keep Robin van Persie as youth coach for the coming seasons, given the excellent results he has been achieving.

Robin van Persie is studying for the highest football coaching license in Europe. Everyone at Feyenoord already understands that Robin van Persie is looking to become coach of a first-team team in the coming years, but with Arne Slot in technical command of the team, this will not yet be possible.

Given this scenario, a move to SC Heerenveen would be the open door for Robin van Persie to begin his career as a head coach.

In addition to Robin van Persie, more experienced names such as Rick Kruys and Maurice Steijn are also at the top of the Heerenveen team’s director of football list.

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Fred Grim is fired from FC Emmen

After yet another disappointing result, FC Emmen announced the dismissal of Fred Grim. The coach leaves the club alongside his assistant coach, Erwin van Breugel. The Kannibals are still looking for a place in the Keuken Kampioen Play-Offs to try to gain access to the Eredivisie. The club also informed that Marc Hegeman will lead the team in the next game.

The team’s irregularities throughout this season were a fundamental factor in Fred Grim’s dismissal. The 58-year-old coach had a good start to the season with the Emmenaars shirt, but was unable to maintain stability throughout the competition. FC Emmen went nine games without winning in the Keuken Kampioen Divisie, recording eight defeats and one draw.

Fred Grim leaves FC Emmen in 12th place with 45 points, one less than MVV Maastricht, the first club at the gateway to the qualifying zone for the Keuken Kampioen Play-Offs.

“There was not enough support and trust within the club to achieve the objective. The next games are extremely important for us to achieve this goal and we understand that with this change, we may have a better chance of winning. On Friday we want to enter the qualifying zone for the Keuken Kampioen Play-Offs.

In the coming days it will be determined whether we will continue with Marc Hegeman as our coach or bring in some other name” said FC Emmen director of football Rinse Bleeker.

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The State of Orange (Oranje)

As a national team coach, you want to be able to mould your best team, tactics, approach and squad by now, some 3 months before the tournament.

The two friendlies, against serious opponents, should have told us many things. And it did. But not sure if it was what Koeman wanted.

Not sure what the plan was versus Scotland, with the new 3-5-2 set up (or 3-2-3-2).

Disappointingly for Koeman, we won’t know for sure as the execution was not great. Some players didn’t reach their usual level (Wieffer, Simons, Frimpong) while Memphis is clearly not 100% fit.

Add to that the absence – again – of Frenkie and it’s hard to ascertain where we stand.

Versus Scotland, we played under par for an hour or so but still won 4-0. Against Germany , we played well at stages but lost 1-2.

Two corner kicks: two goals. Fixable, sure, but not something Koeman will be happy with.

Koeman was able to use his subs and shift form shape to shape, so the flexibility of the team and the adaptability of the team seems to be getting better.

I think, when all the players will be fit, we do have a very good squad. But I also think that France, England, Spain and Italy are a bit further than us, in terms of solid game play, patterns and key players.

Sadly, as it happens with every tournament, we won’t have all players available at the Euros.

Some conclusions:

Stop the silly systems debate

As always, people spend hours debating which system Holland should play. This is an irrational discussion. We played 4-3-3 versus Scotland, or so it seemed. But it was actually a 3-5-2. Against Germany, we played 3-2-3-2 but again, in the practice it was. four man defence as one of the midfielders dropped back to start the build up. Daley Blind was hardly ever in defence, but played as an extra midfielder and at times as a number 10 even. Joey Veerman dropped back to assist the defenders in their build up. Ake moves to the left back space.

In the second half, Blind kept the pitch wide, allowing Memphis to explore the half spaces on the left hand side.

Ake as left centre back, Blind playing wide wingback in a 4 men midfield.

What system is this? Never mind. It’s about space and how to use the space. Not about numbers on a playing field, when the ref whistles to start the match.

Creating the free man

Koeman is keen to use his midfielders and front men to create a free man in our team. He put Reijnders one v one on Kroos and instructed Memphis to harass Andrich, the Germany holding mid. This forced Germany to build up via Tah. This way Koeman could stack the centre of the pitch with two holding mids (Veerman, Schouten) and always kept three defenders to deal with the mercurial Germany forwards.

Blind playing central midfielder

This chess face-off meant that Germany was still in control on their own half, but were not able to be a threat against us, in terms of goal scoring opportunities.

Here Blind is playing as second 10

Donyell Malen is like a panther

We have quite a number of top forwards or top potentials in the attacking line, with Lang (now injured), Gakpo, Simons, Brobbey, Zirkzee, Stengs and Bergwijn but Malen offers something the others players don’t have. Malen is explosive, fast and very willing to make runs deep. The other players all want the ball to feet. Lang and Simons do tend to go deep, as does Bergwijn, but not as their first instict. Malen is like a panther, lurking and watching for his change to spring into action.

This makes him a unique player in the squad and should cement his spot in the squad if not the team. In the first half, Malen was instrumental in our first goal, even though he never touched the ball. He had two more breaks and in the second half he presented both Memphis and Reijnders with 2 100% chances. Both players mishit the ball and aimed too high.

Yes, Malen played well but goes to sleep here and allows Musiala some touches in the box

Still, he has his moments of snoozing off (like big cats do) and he was at fault, partly, with the first German goal. He didn’t cut off the pass and was a bit late in reacting to their short corner allowing Musiala to be a threat ( who assisted the ball to the goalscorer).

Jerdy Schouten is a keeper

Schouten played against Germany like he does for PSV, all season long. Very tight on the ball, always in control, always with great care. Van Gaal didn’t think he was good enough after half a game for Holland but Peter Bosz and Ronald Koeman are convinced. On top of that, Schouten plays a lot of forward passes as well, in true Frenkie de Jong style, starting a number of threatening moves. When he got subbed, at the 75th minute, he had most interceptions to his name as well. I don’t want to be over the top here, but he would be a top replacement for Toni Kroos at Real Madrid.

I think Schouten passed his exams and will battle it out with Koopmeiners, Wieffer, Reijnders, De Roon and Veerman for the next-to-Frenkie spot.

Our goalies are fine

We don’t need to worry about our goalies anymore. Flekken and Verbruggen both impressed. Bijlow will return. Nick Olij is a fine shotstopper and Bizot has impressed in France.

So, it seems we might be in good shape this summer.

But if we go through to the last 4, I believe it will be partly due to luck and a favourable draw.

I don’t think Oranje deserves to be seen as a top contender but with the right mix and the key players available and in form, we can surprise.

Koeman called this international break “the final exams”. The jigsaw pieces have not all been in place to show the big picture and the former Barca coach is still playing with them.

Verbruggen impressed

His own conclusion: “I have not been able to find the right combinations, and I fear it’s the result of this injury ridden campaign. And as the calendar keeps getting fuller, I don’t understand why we are now being limited to take 23 players instead of 26. We know already from experience that from the date we have to send in our list of names and the first match, players will drop off. That is always the case.”

Koeman said he already knows who his Euros goalie is, and it seems to be Bart Verbruggen. Only Bijlow is fit and plays a series of impressive matches will he be able to replace Bizot as third goalie.

In defence, it is clear that Virgil, Ake, De Ligt, Dumfries and Geertruida are certain of their spot. Frimpong didn’t impress this time around, but used properly, the speedy right wing back will make the squad, as will multi-functional brainiac Daley Blind.

In midfield, a fit Frenkie is on the bus as well, as will Reijnders be. He didn’t disappoint in his Oranje matches and impresses with his legs, lungs, intelligence and technique.

Wijnaldum seems a shoe in as well. Why select him now otherwise. Koeman has loyalty to Gini and knows the former Feyenoord talent gels well with Memphis. Mats Wieffer has mixed results but Koeman rates the midfielder high and he does have some credit. But he’ll need to show it to the coach in the coming matches.

Schouten is in the same boat as Wieffer. Very promising but a thin foundation as yet. Koeman will be focusing on their performances in the coming months.

Marten de Roon will most likely be in the squad as the only enforcer we have. He never complaints and is one of the leaders off the pitch. Koopmeiners however, who had to leave the camp with an injury, is exceptional in the Serie A, but never really impressed in the orange jersey.

Joey Veerman is not for everyone. Very good on the ball, vulnerable without. He played well in the past Oranje matches but was exposed in several CL matches for PSV. Koeman will throw a dice regarding Veerman and Koopmeiners.

Quinten Timber might nog have been able to show enough in this break and might need to focus on a spot after the Euros, to replace Wijnaldum on the road to 2026.

Xavi Simons is one of the few creative sparks in the team and despite a disappointing series, he will be on the bus as well.

Upfront, it seems Memphis, Gakpo, Malen and Weghorst are certain of their ticket. The question marks will be stalwarts Berghuis and Bergwijn, who both need a super strong finish of the season. Koeman mentioned before that he finds Berghuis to be a unique player and therefore potentially a part of the squad. This gives Koeman another option on the right wing.

Calvin Stengs might have a super end to the campaign and also be in the running for the right wing position. Brobbey and Zirkzee will also be right in Koeman’s radar for the coming games and Brobbey will be part of the squad when fit, it feels.

Micky van der Ven, the left footed centre back of Spurs could also make the squad as his speed and ability to play on any spot in defence makes him an ideal squad player.

Some more question marks: Q Hartman, Stefan de Vrij, Nick Olij, Ian Maatsen and Noa Lang.

And what to do with Summerville… He’s on fire for Leeds and is close to a senior call up, in particular when one or more attacking options (Gakpo, Malen, Simons) fall away with injuries…

Strap yourselfs in, we’re heading to an exciting finish of the season.

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AZ Alkmaar signs young Quick Boys striker

This Wednesday, AZ Alkmaar announced the signing of Sem van Duijn. The 19-year-old striker left Quick Boys, an amateur club in the Netherlands. He signs with the Cheeseheads until the end of the 2026/27 season.

Sem van Duijn is very happy about his move to AZ Alkmaar: “AZ Alkmaar is a fantastic club, which is also very busy with my development. I’m a player who likes to keep growing. I’m at Jong Ajax, which is a great start.”

“I think Quick Boys is one of the best amateur clubs. I’m taking a step higher. The Dutch Cup was very important for me. I can show myself and develop further at AZ Alkmaar” said Sem van Duijn.

Without van Duijn he came through the Quick Boys youth ranks. The talented striker scored both goals against De Graafschap this year and with his goal in the round of 16 against AZ Alkmaar managed to take the contest to penalties.

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Jordan Henderson is called up for England

Jordan Henderson makes a good impression on Gareth Southgate. The England coach included the midfielder in his squad for the last friendlies before the Euro Cup. The fact that he played for Ajax made his call-up easier.

“We discussed his move to Saudi Arabia at the time, but it’s good to see him back in a competition where we can evaluate him better. We can see what level he is currently playing at,” said Gareth Southgate.

The first match against Aston Villa in the UEFA Europa Conference League also clearly boosted Jordan Henderson’s chances.

“He played a high level game against Aston Villa. He has had a huge influence at Ajax since arriving. I know they are very happy with it. We know what he can do and the leadership he brings. Jordan Henderson is a player who can balance a team with many attackers and means a lot to our team” commented Gareth Southgate.

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Two Ajax defenders undergo surgery and miss the rest of the season

Ajax have announced that the season is over for Olivier Aertssen and Ethan Butera. The two defenders who frequently play for Jong Ajax have been sidelined for a long time due to a knee injury.

Olivier Aertssen suffered a knee injury during training last month and underwent surgery last Friday. The 19-year-old defender played 23 games for Jong Ajax in the Keuken Kampioen Divisie but must now focus on next season.

This also applies to Ethan Butera. The 17-year-old defender joined from RSC Anderlecht at the start of this season but has yet to play for Ajax’s first team due to a knee injury. The Belgian defender recently underwent new surgery due to the pain that did not stop.

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Ajax should maintain a formation with three defenders against Aston Villa

Ajax will continue to play with three defenders in the next games of the season, especially in the duel against Aston Villa, this Thursday, in the round of 16 of the UEFA Europa Conference League. The person who confirmed this information was the club’s coach, John van ‘t Schip.

The coach of the Amsterdam team is confident of a good result, even after the stumble at home to Fortuna Sittard, in the Eredivisie. But he also doesn’t deny that the Godenzonen will have a complicated game ahead, especially with the absence of Steven Berghuis and Steven Bergwijn.

According to the 60-year-old coach, it is important that his team does not get caught up in the excitement of the Aston Villa game.

“We shouldn’t get in their way, because that’s where we give up space. We have to be patient and keep possession of the ball. Whether this will work is another story. They suffered a tough defeat last weekend and will want to give an answer to their fans who are expected to fill the stadium” said John van ‘t Schip.
The manager suggests that Aston Villa will also play with three defenders.

“I have a lot of confidence in this, because we showed against FC Utrecht and in the first match that we can play solidly in this formation. It’s a system that can’t be mastered perfectly overnight, but the players have shown they can play. Furthermore, it will be a fight and we will have to fight a lot with each other” commented John van ‘t Schip.

Jorrel Hato is also confident of a good result against the fourth-placed team in the Premier League.

“If you look at how we did last week, we deserved to win more. We had two great opportunities and gave up little space. So I certainly have a lot of confidence in our team. Maybe it will be a completely different game to what we had last week” said Jorrel Hato.

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