This weekend the WC qualification circus starts. for the World Cup Brazil. Holland is in group D and needs to battle Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Estonia and Andorra. Friday, Holland plays Turkey at home in De Arena.
Holland and Turkey played each other eight times before. Oranje won three, we had three draws and the Turks won two.
Holland and Turkey met before in the WC qualifications for the 1994 and 1998 tournaments. In 1994, it was 3-1 twice and Holland finished second after Norway. The Turks finished fifth and only kept San Marino under them.
Four years later, Hiddink’s Oranje had it tough against the nation he’d later coach. In Bursa Holland lost 1-0 (with that Seedorf penalty miss) and that was only a small year after his expensive miss against France at the Euros.
The home game ended 0-0. Holland did win the group and Turkey finished third behind Belgium. Turkey didn’t qualify yet again.
Turkey beat Holland in The Netherlands only once: in 1958’s friendly game. The first between Turkey and Oranje: 1-2.
Louis van Gaal played Turkey with Oranje before. In 2001 Van Gaal practiced against them and played 0-0 in De Arena.
Oranje lost it’s last four games. That is as bad as the series in 1954. In 1950, Holland lost five games in a row. They ended up losing eight back then.
Holland never lost an official game in De Arena. It won 12 games and drew 4. Bert van Marwijk lost one friendly in De Arena. This year, against Bulgaria.
Oranje didn’t lose one game in the last 22 World Cup qualification series. The last one we lost? Under Van Gaal, against Ireland. We missed out on the 2002 World Cup back then.
Spain is the only nation with a longer list of won WC qualification games in one row: 10. The 22 games without defeat is a record for Holland. The world record is in hands of Spain, as they were once 45 games without defeat.
* Klaas-Jan Huntelaar needs one more goal to equal Johan Cruyff and Abe Lenstra on the top scoring list of Oranje. 33 goals are now good for a fifth spot on the all time goal scoring list.
Dirk Kuyt meets seven new team mates in the Turkey game from his new club Fenerbahçe. The Turkish team manager Abdullah Avi called on defenders from the Istanbul club, in particular.
Goalie Mert Günök, right back Gökhan Gönül, central defender Egemen Korkmaz, left back Hasan Ali Kaldirim and Bekir Irtegün and midfielders Mehmet Topal and Caner Erkin are currently Kuyt team mates.
Kuyt: “Mert Günökis our second goalie at Fener. The experienced Volkan is number one but injured. My biggest opponent on practice is defender Egemem, a killer with a beard… Strong in the air, great timing and tough as nails…”
“The full backs are very attacking minded. They take risks, and leave space behind them. These guys all play passionate football and try to get out of trouble with football solutions… They won’t park the bus in Amsterdam, I’m sure. That is their strength and weakness. If they trail, they start to make mistakes as they become hasty and rushed.”
Kuyt knows his team mates are looking forward to the game. “They have a re-start too after the Hiddink period. They had good practice games but also lost a couple suddenly. I think that is in our advantage.”
For the first time in years, there is a lot of speculation again on who will start. It seems that only Robben, Sneijder, Huntelaar and Stekelenburg are starters.
But after the Belgium, even Huntelaar has to worry a bit. Robin van Persie impresses at practice and walks around with a lot of bravado. Van Gaal might favour Huntelaar now but for how long?
The midfield line up is going to be interesting. Over the last three years it was either De Jong, Van Bommel and/or Van der Vaart. All three are absent now.
It makes sense now that Van Gaal will pick Clasie as holding midffielder and maybe Leroy Fer, a type of player Van Gaal adores. “Fer is a pretty unique player. He has penetration without the ball. This is something our current midfielders are lacking. Johan Neeskens style runs into the box. I can’t use a midfield with all players who want the ball into the feet.”
Dirk Kuyt is currently vice-skipper under Van Gaal. He recognises the fact that opponents will have lost their respect for Oranje. “That is gone. If you lose against Denmark, Portugal and Belgium, you are back down on the ground. And we lost confidence too. Under Van Marwijk, we did have that feeling of “we will win this” whenever we walked onto the pitch. We need to find that again.”
Kuyt doesn’t want to talk about the past anymore. “The issues that we had have been discussed. The meetings and talks were very good. The noses are pointing into the same direction. And we agreed not to share the information with the media, haha.”
“But the key thing is, to realise you are a part of a bigger thing: the team. If you as an individual can make that happen, you can win. Even if you’re Greece, like in 2004. We were WC finalist in 2010 as a result of this. And we can do it again in Brazil. We still have tremendous quality. Players like Sneijder, Van Persie, Huntelaar are in their prime. And players like Fer, Clasie and Narsingh will only get better.