Jan’s World Cup Squad

Well folks, I promised you my World Cup Squad. I will try to get into the head of LVG but my personal preferences will shine through.

Yes, Blind was hooked by Schreuder for two matches now (apparently they had a bit of a fight) but Blind will obviously be part of the squad. There is no way in hell LVG will drop him. There will be very limited new blood in the squad, knowing Louis, as he won’t want to many new faces to “educate” about the Van Gaal method. So don’t get yourself all worked up. No Bakker, no Struijk, No Botman. He will probably add Xavi Simons for good reasons, but Van Gaal is a hard head and he could even completely ignore what we all want.

Below is the scene from Ajax – PSV that stuck with me most. Not the goals, not the silly hand bag battles, or moves by Kudus. Not the shot on target from Berghuis or the workrate of Xavi Simons. This:

As for the comments on Ajax – PSV. I think the match was pretty even between the boxes. Ajax had the better of the ball there. But when it started to become serious – in the boxes – it was PSV that was sharper and more willing to battle. For both PSV goals, Ajax simply didn’t want to defend. As if they didn’t want to get their shorts muddy. Before the 1-0, Bergwijn is worked to the ground and he stays there, as a spoiled child, watching the ref. Kudus and Brobbey decided to jog a little bit. As a result, the right hand side of Ajax was overrun and the right back couldn’t or didn’t want to pressure Gakpo too much: result? A pin point cross to Luuk de Jong: 0-1. For the second goal, it was a corner by PSV (or a free kick, not sure) and the ball was cleared half, Ajax started to push up, while Tadic lost possession on the edge of the box to Veerman. 5 (!) Ajax players stood still and watched. De Jong went into a duel for the ball, these Ajax players still stood there, watching. As a result, Guti was completely free to pick up the ball and score.

Simply lack of work ethics. Nothing to do with tactics or experience or quality. Everything to do with willingness to fight for every ball.

This is so pathetic… I’m ashamed to be Dutch…

Ok, now my 26 for the World Cup. Some comments: usually a coach picks two players per position. When you play 5-3-2, however, you would pick 10 defenders instead of 8 (in a 4-3-3) so that won’t work. You don’t even need 8 defenders usually, as historical data show that you usually only sub a defender if he’s injured or has a yellow. To change the game, you usually bring a forward, not a defender.

You will find my group of 26 in this image below.

I have to be frank, I thought I’d have a surprise for you, but I don’t. I was thinking to put Clasie in. Why? Because Clasie has 1) experience, 2) is a Van Gaal favorite and 3) brings the passing quality we might need if a player like Frenkie and/or Koopmeiners is out. Clasie is a good organiser, a very decent dueller for the ball and a cool head. Good set piece taker as well.

But right before posting this, I realised that it’s probably overkill. With Koopmeiners, Frenkie and Berghuis we should have enough players who can play in that role. You can even add Blind to that if need be while Ake or Timber could even play in that position.

I realised that there is no alternative if Luuk gets injured or suspended. Yes, you can send De Ligt up top or De Vrij but I decided to pick Weghorst as the joker’s joker behind Luuk.

Simons has to come, and I added Klaassen as well (positioned as LCB but that is only to make the picture symmetric I guess. Klaassen is the only real box to box player and with his goal scoring instinct I felt it was good to bring him along. Klaassen is also a player who will not complain if LVG makes him polish all the boots.

This my preferred start up eleven, based on the fitness of the players today:

Ok, let the insults, criticism and sarcasm begin!!

You know where to put your comments… ( pun intended).


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  1. i would always see whether we have quality defender on bench in 7 games tournamnet,,As Thiago silva got red card before semifinal of 2014 Germany whooped them by 7-1…You cannot replace Virgil with Blind..you need Botman or Struijk…

  2. 1998…winston bogarde injured,arthur Numan redcarded…We got F$##%ked up,defenders indulge with fouls and physical battle also they should do tackles..So there will be cards and injuries for them…10 defenders where Struijk,Ake,timber can play even DM ..7+3 it would be wise idea..Struijik,Ake and Timber are better footbelers than De roon ,what De roon is doing they can do it with better eficacy..

  3. @ Jan,
    Having Berghuis on any starting line up shows me that you are not serious. Second, why do we talk about experience for some players and not others? Why starting Timber over De Vri? Why do you think Timber is better than De Vri? I would like to hear your opinion before I comment. Thanks

  4. @jean You realize that Timber has been starting over de vrij and de ligt for quite some time. Unless van gaal has a change of heart at the last minute, its likely to stay that way.

    @Jan – Interesting. I’m surprised you have brobbey over Janssen. I feel like van gaal prefers janssen so is brobbeys inclusion based on what you think or what you think van gaal will do. Either way, I’d love o hear why you made this call. Second, you talk alot about weghorst vs luuk but we wont see both. do you think van gaal will pick both?

    my thoughts – I feel fairly strong that van gaal will pick janssen over brobbey.

    I am not sure but i think he will drop an attacker (weghorst i think?) for cm or cb depth. I think botman gets the nod but maybe gravenberch.

  5. My favorite lineup 🙂

    Memphis —- Bergwijn
    Frankie —- Berghuis
    Malacia —– Dumfries
    Ake — Van Dijk — Timber
    —- Cillesen —–

  6. It’s always a tough one to call it.

    My comments:

    Berghuis is a player who has something extra over Koopmeiners or De Roon (obviously). His left foot. The first 15 minutes of Ajax – PSV showed a Berghuis on fire. He was amazing, but he needs a good working team around him. He’s not Messi.

    We will play against 3 nations in the group that will be weaker than us (based on ranking). We will need more football as they will probably leave the initiative to us.

    Once we draw England or France or Argentina, I would use Koopmeiners instead of Berghuis.

    Weghorst v Gravenberch.

    I think Ryan hasn’t played enough. Wout is a player you can bring in when all you have left is hail marys and as sub for Luuk. If Luuk gets injured, we don’t have a Plan B player left, without Weghorst.

    Brobbey v Janssen

    I agree that LVG will prefer Janssen most likely, but Janssen is slow. Brobbey has explosivity and is pretty quick despite his frame. He can do what Janssen does but he’s quicker and a way better header of the ball. Janssen is not a good header.

    Timber v De Vrij

    Timber is younger than De Vrij. I am not sure if Stefan can play 6 games (or whatever) at top level without physical issues. Timber is also quicker, and way better with his feet. He can dribble into midfield, De Vrij is not a natural athlete.

    De Vrij is a top header, but we have Virgil and Nathan and Dumfries, so do we need another defensive header? De Vrij has a good long pass, better than Timber, but we have Frenkie, Berghuis, Ake and Van Dijk who are all great passers.

    Therefore: Timber.

  7. Good selection and line up for first match. This is most like what will happen. I think Danjuma might not start. I don’t feel like LVG know how to use him yet.

    By the way, looking at this WC squad and the WC squad in 2010, the options has changed so much. CB is most stacked area now whereas in 2010 we do not have any world class CB.

    1. Something must have changed in the youth development. We constantly produce great CBs. While the current generation is still here, the next ones are already coming: Timber, Botman and Van de Ven.

  8. I hate to agree with Tiju, but even Jan’s symmetrical diagram points out that there’s no coverage for Ake at LCB. A year or two ago, I would have thought that might be Blind, but he’s definitely slowed too much to take that kind of a role in a back three. Personally I feel Stuijk could fill that well, plus he’s versatile and could fill a couple of other spots if needed. But it seems like it would be very un-LVG to bring in a new player at this point, especially with the abbreviated camp before the Cup starts.

    For some reason, I feel like King Louis might want to bring Janssen, probably over Weghorst. Janssen is a redemption story, van Gaal has brought him off the scrap heap, and I think he’d love that. Plus I feel like Janssen will do what LvG tells him and Wout is a little more of a wild card.

  9. Italy have always been perennial slow starters but also one of the strongest competition finishers because they build rhythm and tempo so well.

    The best team in a world Cup cycle plays a total of 7-8 games and usually have a group that grows spectacularly as a unit as the competition progresses.

    Bar injuries, what you do not want is to fidget and try to be too clever with line-ups.

    And a clear example of that is what the Germans uncharacteristically tried to do in the last Euros. There was a huge shuffle in their final game which resulted in a predictably disjointed German performance. And ultimately sent packing.

    A coach of LVG’s calibre can maybe get away with a little tinkering. But the relative long term gain in a competition the length of a world Cup is not worth the “experiments”

    LVG himself stayed true to a unit in 2014 as did Marwijk in 2010. We all know where that could have got us with a little bit of luck.

    Jan has suggested starting Berghuis in our three first round matches because our opponents are clearly of a lesser pedigree and may surrender space and possession. The perfect ambit for a player like Berghuis to showcase his “gem of a left foot”

    And I have maybe more than two issues with this suggestion.

    First and perhaps most important is the aforementioned lack of continuity. As Jan himself continues, Berghuis should be taken out of the firing line when the real competition starts. And Koop or whoever LVG decides to go with has the responsibility to come in and perform with rhythm and tempo expected of that level.

    This is counterproductive and unfair.

    Lvg has to make up his mind and put this tradition of entitlement and shoo-ins to bed. Start Koop or Berghuis or whoever tickles your fancy and continue on that stead. Oranje shouldn’t be a venue of convenience for Berghuis, Blind or any other player. Shuffling around like that is not tactics. It is bias and this great need to be right.

    My first 11



    Struijk, Ake, VDV, De Vrij, Dums


    Bergwin, Depay, Lang

    This lineup should be subject to change per performance. Subject to adjustment in real time in circumstances like chasing a game.

    Not predicated on opponents we are playing.

    1. I agree with you that consistency is key and only a little tinkering works, vs changing personel for every game. However, Changing 1 starter is within a little tinkering in my opinion.

      You can predict how teams will set up. Against qatar, we will need to be more creative in order to break down a low block/counter strategy. The adjustment i would make is to have more creativity compared to defensive responsibility. This change is berghuis for koop.

      Against argentina, they will like be creative and have messi finding pockets of space to run the game. In order to counter this, we need guys who can plug the gaps and try to stop messi from playing. This change would be koop in for berghuis.

      I don’t think its convenience or entitlement to select players who you think are better at countering your opponent.

      Using tactics to counter your opponents means choosing the players who can execute those tactics. Tactics can change game to game. I would say the selection of berghuis vs koop is the most tactical decision that oranje can make. All other changes are more like for like players, while berghuis vs koop is a stylistic difference.

  10. I think Depay will start all matches but he will be substituted im the matches. Hope he will gain his touch and form as Netherlands reaches the knockout stages of worldcup.

  11. @ Jan

    Klaassen backup for Ake???? How did you even think of this when de ligt can play on left ( juventus, Bayern) and so can frenkie with both De roon and koopmeiners in the midfield. ( Atalanta combo) in worst case scenario.

    And then the berghuis conundrum.this is the second player you have said to:

    “He is dependent on a good organisation around him”

    Then again vs weaker teams berghuis should start and then koopmeiners Vs big guns. You said the same for Malacia Vs Blind with Malacia to start Vs Brazil and blind in lesser fitting games.

    I’m trying to put this into context here. Let’s say berghuis scores 3 goals in all group stages (weaker teams), koopmeiners comes in knock out stages and they bomb out, berghuis will get the red carpet reception when he returns in nerthlands making him the un sung hero which infact will be not give the true picture. This is what happening to him at Ajax. he scores, assists and looks like an elite player at eredivisie level playing in the shadows of or like you have been saying in better organisation. In games where Ajax start back paddling, he fades out just like in NT . And also what does 15 minutes of playing better proves?

    Its again a disgrace and shame imo that player like Tony Vilhena has been overlooked when he has NT caps, experienced and is better than berghuis. This is what I don’t understand about this Dutch selectors. The club thing!!!


    Salernitana is currently 9 in seria A and Vilhena has started 10 out of 12 games for them.

    1. I’m not saying he should be called up now but instead of Taylor getting the nod, Vilhena should have being looked at. But I guess he doesn’t fit in the tribe.

    2. @ wilson, Lets look at the context of your hypothetical. Berghuis scores 3 goals at the world cup in 3 games, that would make him our 9th highest scorer at a world cup. Everyone above him , other than neeskens and cruyff, had multiple world cups to achieve this feat. Cruyff and neeskens played in many more games as they made the final. Berghuis scoring 3 goals in 3 group stage games would go down as one of the best individual performances of all time for holland at a world cup from a statistics perspective. (sniejder in 2010 only had 1 goal in the group stages to give you more context) To call him an unsung hero is to say he isnt even the main hero of the story. Surely one of the greatest group stage performances in our history is worthy of the label unsung hero.

      VVD, frenkie, depay will be the heros supplemented by the goals of unsung hero berghuis. That is totally reasonable.

      If you are creating a hypothetical where berghuis is having one of the best performances of any netherlands international, and you then cant even give him enough credit to call him an unsung hero, then I think you have a personal agenda against him. What more would berghuis have to do to earn a favourable review from you.

      I am sure your counter point would be that the 3 goals he scores would be against weak opposition, however players like robben, van nistelroy, sniejder, etc etc have never scored 3 goals in 3 group games in a world cup. Therefore, it is not an easy feat to accomplish. If berghuis is good enough to accomplish this feat, i think we should celebrate him and give him credit, rather than try to find ways to tear him down because its easier to be negative about everyone and everything.

  12. Watched the Replay of Leverkusen and union Berlin and boy is bakker the only Dutch LB in form now. If he can consistently show what he showed in this game, he can become the starter for NT. He deserves a call up after WC.

  13. hey Guys..Jan didnt put klassen for Ake back up…He thinks taking attackers would do better which i dont agree..As defense wins titles…you should go with your best 10 defenders..at least you can ensure a penalty shootout like italy always does..Daley Blind is out of ajax eleven..and his slecetion would cause some stir inside team and mangemnet…
    Tony Vilhena is my afvorite player,works his but off,good lungs,good dribbles,create cahnces ,tackles,good at crosess i miss his cross for Virgil to score vs 2-2 Vs germany to qualify for nations league semi final..He is not less than klassen ,taylor,Deroon,Gravenberch…

  14. Depay ,Lang is slowly getting the recovery…So better not to start with them..use them as late substitue both can take penalty like fun…i would go with if its343
    Malacia—-Frenkie—Timber –Frimpong
    Malen for gakpo
    Depay for berjwin
    Lang for simons as subs…

  15. It looks like Rick Karsdorp got called out by Mourinho today for unprofessional behavior. From the story I read, he got angry because he has to compete with Celik. Today he got subbed in and did not track back to defend. If it is true, then he should never be considered for the NT team.

  16. It is the last week before the squad got announced and we have Depay, Danjuma, Lang and Malen all out of form. This is very tricky. I hope LVG can work his dark magic. But suddenly there is not much option upfront.

  17. @Anthony

    Re: I don’t think its convenience or entitlement to select players who you think are better at countering your opponent

    You do make some sound points and I won’t be naive enough to suggest that one size is going to fit all.

    However, we are talking context here and how it applies to the selection process in Oranje.

    Berghuis has proven over the qualifiers that he has nothing(absolutely nothing) in his locker to deserve a place even against the minnows. His scoring record is abysmal, nor does he assist. Slight as a leaf, he can be easily subdued in high tempo environments. All facts.

    But again, like I said, context. Given the fact that LVG has placed our playmaking bet on someone who has never shown up for Oranje(how????) and we know he probably is not going to play Lang, Danjuma,Gakpo over him, I would rather we go with defensive solidity.

    KOOP is a decent passer of the ball and Frenkie could be freer in his exploits against the minnows. We should have more than enough to beat these three teams especially if the right substitutions are made as teams tire out.

    Berghuis is not needed. Again, he has shown us in the last Euros and also the qualifiers that he is not fit for purpose.

    What else is there to see? A sudden transformation in the biggest toughest, tournament in the world?

    1. @orangutan I think i see what youre saying. You would be ok with playing a creative midfielder like van der vaart over nigel de jong if that was a good strategy to counter your opponent. Your issue is that berghuis is not van der vaart in your opinion.

      If i summarized your point well, then i can see your point. I personally like berghuis but if you don’t then i completely understand which point you are arguing.

      I also feel optimistic about koop and tend to lean a bit more defensive at tournaments so i would start koop.

  18. @ Jan,
    Can you please comment on Orangutan latest point? Since you have Berghuis on your starting 11. I can’t wait for the day the Dutch Football Federation would finally go for a foreign coach. Having all of these Bozos (the Blin, the Klassen, Berghuis and co) on the NT is mind blowing.

  19. Just saw Ajax – Vitesse, if Ajax would win they would be the leader of the Eredivisie, but they – again – couldn’t win: 2-2. It was a amazing match, in which Ajax missed at least 7 open 100% chances. Three balls on the post/bar.

    Ajax would normally have won 6-2. Stress in Amsterdam.

    Daley Blind started on the bench but was brought in after an hour and had the assist for the 2-2 and hit the bar with a shot. He had a long pass on Brobbey who could have won the match for Ajax, but hit the post.

    I think this match demonstrated that coaches are starting to phase out Blind, for good reasons, but still need his specific qualities, it seems.

    Taylor didn’t play well without the ball and looked terrible at the 1-1 of Vitesse. I think he won’t be in the WC squad. Bergwijn was active, like Berghuis who also hit the bar. Rensch was inconsequential, Timber wasn’t too great either.

    Ajax is in transformation and it’s not going too easily.

    PSV is the leader now and if Feyenoord win tomorrow, they will jointly be top of the Eredivisie.

  20. @Jean

    “Can you please comment on Orangutan latest point? Since you have Berghuis on your starting 11. I can’t wait for the day the Dutch Football Federation would finally go for a foreign coach. Having all of these Bozos (the Blin, the Klassen, Berghuis and co) on the NT is mind blowing.”

    As I have Berghuis in my starting eleven, I suppose I am also a Bozo, in your eyes? Nice.

    I have Berghuis in my starting 11 and I explained why. DO I need to do it again? He is a unique player in our squad with his passing, distance shots and left foot. I would play him in games vs weaker opponents (Group games), next to Frenkie. I think he can do this.

    But, more importantly, I believe this is how Van Gaal wants to play. Who is also a Bozo.

    Van Gaal said during the Nations League games that these games would be the basis for players to earn credits for their position. You will remember that 1) we did well in the NL and 2) Berghuis played practically everything.

    Against Belgium away, our best match, he played Frenkie, Klaassen and Berghuis.

    I personally don’t rate Klaassen, I wouldn’t start him, personally, but I LVG did (and does?).

    Are we the only fans here who constantly berate and scold our own players?

  21. @ Wilson

    Klaassen backup for Ake????

    No Wilson. You didn’t read it properly. NO BACK UP for Ake. We can sort this with the existing defenders. Klaassen is simply placed there on the sheet as I did not have another “spot” to put his name. Geez….

  22. @Orangutan

    There is nothing wrong with changing personnel and formations based on the opponent :-). Coaches do it all the time.

    There is no successful tournament campaign of teams that play the same eleven all the time.

    In 2014, De Guzman lost his spot to Wijnaldum, Janmaat to another player (and Kuyt).

    In 2010, we saw VD Vaart coming in and out and due to injuries, we had Ooijer and De Zeeuw playing.

    In 1988, Michels started with a different set up and changed it during the tournament.

    Same in 1978 etc etc.

    Obviously, when you win all group games with Berghuis and he plays well and he’s still fit, you’d use him against the next opponent, potentially. But when you play France, or Brazil, you really need to shore up your midfield. That is why you have 26 players.

    And as for the “real competition”, in any competition playing the minions is at times harder: they park the bus, they don’t open up to play, they play physical and they might have more intensity, as the game vs Oranje would be a top match for Equador while we view this game as “not real competition” – as you also say.

    I like your line up btw, I am not against Koopmeiners or anything, but in Oranje he hasn’t performed too well. Lang and Memphis are both not 100% match fit, LVG will not use two of these guys.

    He will play Gakpo on 10 and Bergwijn up top. Only one spot left for Memphis/Lang/Danjuma/Luuk de Jong.

  23. @Wilson

    And then the berghuis conundrum.this is the second player you have said to:
    “He is dependent on a good organisation around him”

    This is what coaches do, Wilson. They put Messi on the team sheet and will think: how can we organise it so that Messi can shine without doing too much defensive work.

    How do you think Salah, Mane and Firmino were able to shine? Did you see Liverpool’s midfield set up?

  24. De Roon has left the pitch, with an injury (again). Not sure how serious.

    Lang has scored the winner in the final stage before Van Gaal’s final squad announcement on Friday.

  25. We argued a long time about Karsdorp on this blog, and a few of us made the case that there were likely “locker room” or “team chemistry” issues that explained why he wasn’t regularly called to Oranje, not simply a pro-Ajax cabal of conspirators. If nearly coming to blows with a ref in a game that he didn’t even play in wasn’t enough proof that there might be something wrong, maybe this is?? —

    “An angry Jose Mourinho to DAZN after Roma’s draw v Sassuolo:

    “I’m sorry that the team’s effort was betrayed by an attitude of an unprofessional player. I’m not saying it, I had sixteen players on the pitch and I liked the attitude of fifteen.”

    The player that Jose Mourinho called out for being unprofessional following the draw against Sassuolo is Rick Karsdorp, report Sky Italia. The Dutchman was told to look for a new team in January.”

  26. Yeah, these sorts of things weigh heavy for Louis v Gaal. Some players lack discipline and are difficult. Remember Huntelaar and Vd Vaart in 2012? their attitude caused problems.

    The spat he had with the ref was a misunderstanding, by the way. The ref apologised to Karsdorp later. What happened is that the ref stepped on Karsdorp’s toes and he responded quite spontaneous by pushing the ref away. It seems as if he attacked the ref but it was actually the other way around hahahaha

  27. Guys, I might need some help.

    I want to add the usual predictions / fantasy football stuff on the blog, for this WC but I am not sure if I am capable of doing it.

    I’ll go and look for it but might need some help. Anyone with above average wordpress skills here?

  28. @kevin

    Re: It looks like Rick Karsdorp got called out by Mourinho today for unprofessional behavior. From the story I read, he got angry because he has to compete with Celik. Today he got subbed in and did not track back to defend. If it is true, then he should never be considered for the NT team.

    I have read a lot of your comments over time and you seem to be in sync with reality and not the lala land that Dutch management resides in. Please do not lose that stance.

    There is no behavioral or professional reason that Karsdorp shouldn’t be in that squad. Don’t let them tire you out with their rhetoric. His treatment is clear bias and no different from that of Danjuma,Gosens and co. Let them own their toxicity.

    1. @orangutan – What makes you think that that there is clear bias. Mourinho has no bias to us and he publicly said that it is rare he goes after a player but he did to karsdorp for being a traitor and wants him gone in january.

      Why would you want a guy like that in our squad? We have had many squads implode due to terrible attitudes. Karsdorp is no star. Talented yes. But is he so much better than dumfries or frimpong that you would take him at the risk of dividing your team?

      I personally would never take a player who is a traitor to the cause, even if they are the best player on the team.

    2. @orangutan: I think you made a lot of constructive criticism as well. But if new fact is coming up then you should look at it. I think things does not have to be mutual exclusive. For example, Karsdorp could be not called up for behavior and that is justified now with new information. But there is obviously no reason for a nice person like Frimpong get overlooked.


      When I see a list of players got overlooked then it is systematic issue. If there is only one case, then yes, could be personal issue.

  29. @Jan

    Re: @Orangutan

    There is nothing wrong with changing personnel and formations based on the opponent :-). Coaches do it all the time

    If you go back to my comment, I specifically stated that I know “one size is not going to fit all”.

    My point about my formation and choice of players is within context of Oranje selection process. I will reiterate.

    Berghuis has never been a difference maker(never Will be). But since the focus is trying to squeeze a Hazard out of him(which we know he is incapable of), then we might as well go with defensive solidity.

  30. @Jan

    Re: This is what coaches do, Wilson. They put Messi on the team sheet and will think: how can we organise it so that Messi can shine without doing too much defensive work

    Again, Berghuis has NEVER shown in Oranje that he is up to what is required and expected of him.

    Organizing a team around a player like Messi, arguably the greatest player the world has ever seen is understandable.

    Can you please remind us of a SINGLE game through the qualifiers, nations league, last Euros that this featherweight of a player have really got tongues wagging?

    He is just not it. Plain. Simple. Full stop.

    And the thought that a team of oranje’s calibre would be compromising team play to accomodate Berghuis shows the state that our team finds itself.


  31. Seems to me that the discussion that around Berghuis simply underscores that after 4 years, the NT still doesn’t have have a great answer as to who should play in the mf spot with FDJ. We’ve been talking about who should partner him since Koeman was in charge of the Nations League. From then, De Roon, Koopmeiners, Klaassen, Berghuis, Wijnaldum have all played there…none of them have been a perfect match. Going into the WC, I think Koopmeiners is the best all around player of the possible picks, but he is not fast, and in some big games (both at the NT and club level) he’s lost man defensively and its cost his team. We know what De Roon brings, good defense and the ability to disrupt, but limited offense. Berghuis more offensive skill; a talented foot, combines well with players, keeps the offense moving, making the pass to the guy who makes the pass (what we call in the US, the hockey assist or the second assist). But, can he do it at the WC level? And though he seems willing, you wouldn’t want to rely on him if you wanted to lock a game down.

    And if we all know this, LVG certainly does—he’ll make his best decision based on his vision of the team and what he thinks will help him win the game. Hopefully, he’ll be right. But there is no perfect solution in the potential pool, no player left out in the cold that we can say, “aha, if only he had picked…”

  32. @orangutan

    I value most of your comments but sometimes I think you’re hacked by Wilson.

    This Berghuis stuff is starting to sound a lot like another witchhunt here. We had Kuyt, we had Blind, now with Blind slowly being phased out, it’s Berghuis turn?

    Ridiculous. I mean, sure, if we had Sneijder, Van der Vaart, Cocu, Van Bommel and Neeskens available, maybe use them. But who would you prefer over Berghuis? Which player has dazzled next to Frenkie in the NT? Klaassen??? Koopmeiners?? Toornstra? Veerman?? Taylor? De Roon?? Who do you prefer to see who is way better than Berghuis?

    In case you were wondering: Wijnaldum is not fit and Gravenberch doesn’t play.

    I am not going to dig into past posts to find out in which game Berghuis played well. He clearly convinced Van Gaal in the games he played. Or do you think Van Gaal is started to get demented?

    Berghuis was instrumental in the Norway away game with a pre-assist.

    Another assist vs Montenegro (shot blocked, rebound for Memphis) and an assist on Wijnaldum.

    Berghuis was great v Turkey at home.

    Berghuis was fine against Gibraltar.

    Berghuis has “assist” v Denmark ( he got fouled: penalty Memphis).

    Against Belgium, Berghuis played next to Frenkie. Van Gaal said: “Berghuis is my creative player. He can go wherever he wants.”

    we saw Berghuis pass some great balls to the forwards – he created Memphis’ 0-2 for instance – or he himself came into scorings positions. He also had a shooting opportunity which sailed over the bar. His third attempt ended up at the feet of Blind who found his wing back partner Dumfries for the 0-3.

    Berghuis was weak vs Poland at home, but so was every player in all honesty.

    Poland away, Berghuis came on early as Koopmeiners got injured, he played a top match yet again.

    Lastly throw this link in Google Translate:


    Title: why Berghuis is the unsung top performer at Ajax and Oranje.

  33. I agree with Jan , Berghius gets so much negativity from oranje fans for no reason , I think he is a very good player , as Jan said it is not like we have sneijder, seedorf and Davids and we’re saying let’s play Berghius, the options we have in midfield are those , I prefer Berghius million times over de roon at least he has has an excellent left , he is fast, enough he can assist , only one above him next to frenkie should be Gravenberch but unfortunately his Bayern playing time is …. So guess what? berghius it is live with it !!!!

  34. ESPN-bondscoaches kiezen: Bijlow favoriete keeper, Xavi Simons en Frimpong moeten ook mee

    I just came across this , it is in Dutch does the Dutch ESPN have the leaked formation or they are just making their guess because if it is true I am in love with it , both gravenberch and xavi simons are there love that 🙂 brobbey too:)

  35. @Jan

    Re; @orangutan

    I value most of your comments but sometimes I think you’re hacked by Wilson.

    I don’t know what Wilson has to do with hard facts been stated about Berghuis.

    There is no witch-hunt when it comes to Berghuis. You conflating criticism against a player like Kuyt and Berghuis is an attempt to muddy the fact that Berghuis has been largely ineffective in the Oranje set-up.

    Kuyt was a warrior. Kuyt was a any coach’s dream because he follows instructions to the letter. Kuyt was largely successful in the EPL and also Oranje. Berghuis is the opposite of all that. Kuyt’s criticism was unfair. Berghuis’ is merited. Where is the confusion?

    Again, he will be a waste of time and space in Qatar as he has always been since coming into Oranje.

    Berghuis has played 39 times for Oranje and scored twice both goals against minnows. A goal average every 19.5 games. His assist record is equally dismal. Since Dutch management is so interested in computer simulated performances and X and Os, I ask, what’s not computing?

    And please I don’t want to hear anything about he is the only thing we’ve got.

    In that free role, Simons is better, Lang is better, Gakpo is better, for crying out loud push Koop a little higher and he can’t be any worse.

    That wand of a left foot is for the farmers league he excels at. He being forced down our throat is another foolish attempt by Dutch management to tell the world how right they can be about something that has wrong written all over it.

  36. Sorry mate, in my version of Oranje, he plays next to Frenkie, not in the 10 role. I see Simons, Gakpo or Lang there. Not sure if you read my posts.

    You simply repeat your mantra. “His performances and results are not good enough”.

    You don’t want to respond to the arguments I bring (or LVG or others) and you make people believe he has very limited impact.

    His stats tell you differently.

    In the National League, friendlies and WC qualification games, he started in respectively 4, 9 and 8 matches.

    He had 3 assists in NL, zero goals.
    He had 5 assists in friendlies, zero goals
    He had 2 assists and 2 goals in the WC qualification games.

    For a midfielder, 21 starts and involved in 12 goals is a pretty good statistic.

    In other words: you are wrong.

    He can be a 10 obviously and I do trust LVG enough to determine who is best in form or who fits the overall plan best.

    Most people seem to like Berghuis in the squad. You don’t. It’s noted.

  37. With in 45 minutes official declartion on squad will comes out…LVG is a master,though he is biased when comes to loyalty…BLind wont be dropped (which i think is the only bad choice i feel)Berghuis wont be dropped (which i think is fair choice he can be a good midfeilder or avergage winger with immense work rate so versetality i have no problem with his selection..)
    i have problesm with hard feeted,less hardworking players gets selected ..in dumfries we have one he compensates with his work rate and athletism fair and square…Next Danjuma who is a neat finisher but apart from he S@#3ks as fluid team player..

  38. Both Luuk and weghorst are in why????????why?????Jsut for 10 minutes play you both ????,,,We lack depth in squad in wings due to absense of Malen and Danjuma…i was hoping for Malen to make cut over weghorst..

  39. There is no doubt berghuis is an slightly above average player but tops he is tempo dictated. There is no denying this and this where it needs to be centred around and where you have look at it from.
    If berghuis is not going to play vs Brazil and Argentina no use wasting time on him.And then he can’t defend for a shit and people here are expecting him to partner Frenkie. What madness is this. Do you guys really think he will survive vs Brazil and argentine. he will get raped by casemiros, fabinhos,De Pauls, Parades. They wont give him an inch to move.

    I also agree what Andrew has said as to how van gaal will try to gamble like he did in 2014 and the only hope is it’s gonna work. Van gaal is no stranger to this. When it works he is a genius 2014, when it doesn’t like in 2001, side step out. Only Dutch coaches to this and not all @ Jan. Injuries aside. It just won’t happen, in this modern day and age. I have said this time and time when it will comes down to head to head in crucial stages, van gaal will have no option but just to watch from the side lines as it unfolds. Again like in 2001where he threw everything he had but lost.

    “They put Messi on the team sheet and will think: how can we organise it so that Messi can shine without doing too much defensive work”

    The is the very reason why Messi and Argentina have not won the WC is because of this. They are all so obsessed with messi that they forget about others in the team. Finally now I can see Argentina as one of the real contenders with the balance in the team this around and messi amongst them and not the other way around which was a feature in the past.

    Gakpo and Simons should be bracketed in hole for their work rate while so can be Lang as an impact player given his fitness issues of the bench. In the Last 30 minutes where he can drain all his energy. I would also add De Roon is needed vs Brazil and Argentine

  40. Van gaal is gunning for something else..if the team doesnt score he wants team to go physical with Luuk –weghorst upfront with areal bombing…When u add Virgil,ake and Deligt…i see Van gaal beats arjentina by 4-2…as we will find difficult to score vs Arjentina in ground game,perhaps we might concede a gaol on ground game by counter..

  41. Van Gaal has dropped Cillesen with the reasons that he is not in form (I think he is) and alluded to the fact that he might be a player who will be a disturbance in the group if he doesn’t play.

    Weghorst is the extra man he could take because we can take 26 players. When Luuk is your Plan B, than you need to have a back up for him, otherwise your Plan B fails the second Luuk gets injured. It is very logical and normal for a coach to want to do this.

    Position Player Club
    Keeper Justin Bijlow Feyenoord
    Keeper Andries Noppert sc Heerenveen
    Keeper Remko Pasveer Ajax
    Verdediger Nathan Aké Manchester City
    Verdediger Daley Blind Ajax
    Verdediger Virgil van Dijk Liverpool
    Verdediger Denzel Dumfries Internazionale
    Verdediger Jeremie Frimpong Bayer Leverkusen
    Verdediger Matthijs de Ligt FC Bayern München
    Verdediger Tyrell Malacia Manchester United
    Verdediger Jurriën Timber Ajax
    Verdediger Stefan de Vrij Internazionale
    Middenvelder Steven Berghuis Ajax
    Middenvelder Frenkie de Jong Barcelona
    Middenvelder Davy Klaassen Ajax
    Middenvelder Teun Koopmeiners Atalanta
    Middenvelder Marten de Roon Atalanta
    Middenvelder Xavi Simons PSV
    Middenvelder Kenneth Taylor Ajax
    Aanvaller Steven Bergwijn Ajax
    Aanvaller Memphis Depay Barcelona
    Aanvaller Cody Gakpo PSV
    Aanvaller Vincent Janssen Royal Antwerp
    Aanvaller Luuk de Jong PSV
    Aanvaller Noa Lang Club Brugge
    Aanvaller Wout Weghorst Besiktas

    1. Dutch NT is not relied on Danjuma even klassen scored more vital goals than Danjuma..with out Danjuma we scored goals,,we qualified for WC and EC..We are doing good…Berjwin scores and dleivers in big crunch mactches for NT so is Depay and klassen..even De ligt scored the equaliser Vs england,Virgil goal got us to Nations league semifinal…We dont a guy who is very lazy upfront..He was dropped for that..Danjuma is equally talnted as Gakpo,ximons.Berghuis,Berjwin.Lang ,…But These players work their Butt off which is absent from Danjuma…it was MalenVS Danjuma Vs Weghorst…Weghorst won it..i was hoping for Malen who is better for team with work rate and pace,can wrec hovac when comes in as subsitute..but Weghorst made it..

  43. Bergwijn do nothing on Champion league. Also Memphis is injured. Our best stricker nowadays is danjuma and u put him out and choose Lang. Who never play for Bruge this year.

    1. This year ajax conceded 15 goALS..ajax was doing crap..So berjwin cannot help it…When berjwin played
      We beat france2-0,We beat Turkey6-1,We beat Montengro 4-0,We beat norway 2-0,We beat Denmark 4-2…What else you want..We drew Germany1-1…We beat Belgium 4-1….Berjwin has a massive chemistry with Depay and klassen,together they look deadly by clever moves,very unpredictable passes..they will un any hard defense..

  44. Overall I find it a balanced squad. Defence is solid. Xavi Simons and Kenneth Taylor are technique players and add the young exuberance in midfield. Noa Lang and Gakpo the creative outlet in attack.

  45. Guys, watch this video of Van Gaal announcing the squad! Priceless!.



    He ask our support, so please, we can criticize, but lets keep the support and good vibes!

    Overall, I agree with the squad. Big surprises: No Danjuma, No Cillisen. I have taken Danjuma for Werhorst or Jannsen.

    Noa Lang is a game changer. When nothing works, and we need an outside the box thinker, we play Noa. You guys have your Frimpong instead of Rensch. Van Gaal read the post!

    I feel bad for Wijnaldum, Graverbench and Van de Beek. The last two missed the trip because of their decision to joinig too early to big teams.

    I really hope Klassen and taylor improve their current level. Klassen missed few chances against Vitesse, changes he used not to miss.

    My main concern is our playmaker. I Gapko can do at number 10 what he does as winger in PSV, we will rock!!!!

  46. Botman and Flekken should have been included but what’s done is done. I am waiting for the first match and will support the team. This is the first World Cup after 8 years also the first tournament with a real coach after 8 years. LVG think we have decent chance to win, let see if he can follow up on that.

  47. I like the squad, though re Danjuma, I think it probably came down to him or Lang, I would have preferred both, especially as I’ve seen a comment that Depay may not be fit for the Senegal match. And I agree with Kevin on Botman.

    Very happy to see the selections of Simons and Frimpong. Neither was obvious on the radar screen in the summer and they forced their way into the team by performance.

    @Wilson. Don’t mean to quibble, but I did not (or at least did not intend to) say that I thought LVG would play Ake at left back. I was just musing over a possible solution, and pointing out that Van Gaal had done so in the past. In 2014, he had 4 weeks with the team, here he has a week. He’s also said that this group is deeper and more talented overall than the 2014 team. He won’t feel that he needs to move players out of position to fill holes…though with him, who knows?

    My feeling is that the starting lineup will look alot like that of the home match against Belgium, except likely Gakpo for Klaassen, possibly Malacia for Blind, and Janssen for Depay (fitness).

  48. For all of those singing Karsdrop praises and who couldn’t understand why van Gaal wouldn’t pick him, he has been told by Jose Mourinho that he needs to find a new club in January due to behavioural issues.

  49. I don’t care how long Van Gall has been coaching, I think it’s dumb to leave out Danjuma and to bring these 2 bozos (Werhorst and Jannsen). This is ridiculous. We have absolutely no fire power up front. Depay has not been playing for months, Jannsen is playing in Mexico lol, Werhorst is useless. Can somebody please tell who’s going to score goals for us? I which this team good luck.

  50. @ Anthony,

    It’s nothing personal my friend. I am looking for a team that can win. Ain’t you tired of people saying ” oh the only good thing about the Dutch Nt is their Jersey”? Ain’t you tired of people saying how the Dutch NT has not won a WC? Ain’t you tired of hearing that man? Have you read Orangutan’s post? No coaches in the world would dropped Danjuma over Jannsen or Werhorst. That is ridiculous. You guys always act like you know football. Depay has not been playing for months, Bergwijin is just ok. So who do we have up front that can cause any trouble to the other side? Stop playing!

    1. @jean no personal offence taken. As I hope I didn’t offend you. My comments were about Jansnse though. You have a point with danjuma. I’m surprised about him too. I can see van gaals logic but I’m surprised. I just was referring to the critique about janssen in Mexico where he is not playing.

  51. Brobbery ommission is a shame. As it is and the way it’s pointing Depay is racing against time to be fit and this is why van gaal has opted for all three weghorst, janssen, luck. As discussed he will gamble which games suits which of the strikers. Brobbery could have been the super sub which is has shown overall many times and not just in arieal department. I hope Ghana doesn’t come sniffing around.

    Agree on danjumas immission has well. let’s see what in store this time around. I’m happy for simons and Lang. two players who have a bright future ahead and will be able to market themselves as well.

  52. The Karsdorp comment is not very relevant Wilson. Coaches are opportunistic. They know it’s the players that make or break them. So 3 weeks ago, Karsdorp was praised, now he let his team down and Mourinho is angry and blames Rick for the loss. This is probably not the first instance where Mourinho felt let down, otherwise you wouldn’t let rip so bad.

    But yes, Karsdorp is from the streets and is known to have a strong head. Coaches like Mourinho and Van Gaal don’t like it. They want ideal son in laws. Van Gaal will pick Janssen over Brobbey for that reason. Or Noppert over Cillesen.

    He made it clear that Pasveer and Cillesen are both not in great form, but when asked why Pasveer was selected over Cillesen he made a comment about “needing to be a positive influence in 5 weeks together in the group”.

    It’s known that Cillesen does not deal well with being #2.

    I really struggle with understanding why Pasveer over Flekken, personally. I think Pasveer was really weak in the past months.

    I also don’t get the exclusion of Danjuma. That guy is a powerhouse. Scores for fun, runs in behind, has a good head for penalties and has experience. Plus he “delivered” in Oranje. I’m puzzled.

    1. @Jan what kind of delivery Danjuma had in NT.. Apart from few goals against minnows, where team already cruising to big victory.. And goal in frindly vs belgium long time ago.. He is a neqt finisher, as other has to work for him.. Van gaal doesn’t like that.. He wants involvement in team game.. At least weghorst scored a goal in Nt at last minute and we got point.. Depay was injured and rusty… Either Brobbey or Malen would have been better.. Malen is a rocket.. Brobbey is so strong.. Both suites team game and team players.. When luuk de jong injured virgil can be our striker by calling De vrij as substitute.. And virgil has delivered, and he is capable striker or ven better..

  53. Man, I am watching some frimpong videos and drooling over the bag of skills and speed he has, he should be choice number one over Dumfries, the guy can also be a winger easily, wowwwww how good he is!!
    Especially with the lack of options on the wings we have he is a perfect right back in a 3-5-2 system , he can open up any defense in a very easy way, super impressive !!!

  54. Portgual

    Diogo Costa (Porto)
    Rui Patricio (Roma)
    José Sa (Wolverhampton)

    Diogo Dalot (Manchester United)
    Danilo Pereira (PSG)
    Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)
    Antonio Silva (Benfica)
    Pepe (Porto)
    Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
    Nuno Mendes (PSG)
    Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)

    William Carvalho (Real Betis)
    Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton)
    Otavio Monteiro (Porto)
    Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
    Matheus Nunes (Wolverhampton)
    Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
    Joao Mario (Benfica)
    Joao Palhinha (Fulham)
    Vitinha (PSG)

    André Silva (Leipzig)
    Ricardo Horta (Braga)
    Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
    Joao Felix (Atlético Madrid)
    Rafael Leao (AC Milan)
    Goncalo Ramos (Benfica)

    Goalkeepers: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Franco Armani (River Plate) and Geronimo Rulli (Villarreal)
    Defenders: Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla), Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid), German Pezzella (Real Betis), Cristian Romero (Tottenham Hotspur), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Nicolas Tagliafico (Olympique Lyonnais), Marcos Acuna (Sevilla)
    Midfielders: Leandro Paredes (Juventus), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis), Enzo Fernandez (Benfica), Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Alejandro Gomez (Sevilla), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton & Hove Albion)
    Forwards: Paulo Dybala (AS Roma), Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain), Angel Di Maria (Juventus), Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina), Joaquin Correa (Inter Milan), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Julian Alvarez (Manchester City


    Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope, Aaron Ramsdale.

    Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Coady, Eric Dier, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ben White.

    Midfielders: Jude Bellingham, Conor Gallagher, Jordan Henderson, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice.

    Forwards: Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, James Maddison, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Callum Wilson.

  55. Spain

    Goalkeepers: Unai Simon (Athletic Club), Robert Sanchez (Brighton & Hove Albion), David Raya (Brentford).

    Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Eric Garcia (Barcelona), Hugo Guillamon (Valencia), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Jose Gaya (Valencia).

    Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodri (Manchester City), Gavi (FC Barcelona), Carlos Soler (PSG), Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid), Pedri (Barcelona), Koke Resurreccion (Atletico Madrid).

    Forwards: Ferran Torres (Barcelona), Nico Williams (Athletic Club), Yeremi Pino (Villarreal), Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Pablo Sarabia (PSG), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Ansu Fati (Barcelona

  56. Senegal’s World Cup squad
    Goalkeepers: Seny Dieng (QPR), Alfred Gomis Rennes), Edouard Mendy (Chelsea)

    Defenders: Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelsea), Ismail Jakobs )Monaco), Pape Abou Cisse (Olympiacos), Abdou Diallo (RB Leipzig), Youssouf Sabaly (Real Betis),Formose Mendy (Amiens), Fode Ballo Toure (Milan)

    Midfielders: Pape Matar Sarr (Tottenham), Pape Gueye (Marseille), Idrissa Gana Gueye (Everton), Nampalys Mendy (Leicester), Moustapha Name (Pafos), Mamadou Loum (Reading), Cheikhou Kouyate (Crystal Palace), Krepin Diatta (Monaco), Pathe Ciss (Rayo Vallecano)

    Forwards: Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich), Ismaila Sarr (Watford), Bamba Dieng (Marseille), Nicolas Jackson (Villareal), Ilman Ndiaye (Sheffield United), Boulave Dia (Salernitana), Famara Diedhiou (Alanyaspor)

  57. @ Emmanual,

    Please do us all a favor, stop commenting on the chat. HAHAHAHHA
    You are the only one that don’t see dropping Danjuma over Jansen or Weghorst as an issue. This is not American Football my friend.

  58. Vincent Janssen (Antwerp) selection is the one which surprised me the most. He actually ousted Danjuma (Villarreal), Brobbey (Ajax), and Malen (Dortmund)!! Also, never see him played, but Antwerp’s early good form has stalled somewhat.

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