Louis wins the press, but loses the match

Most of you know I was not 100% behind the appointment of LVG. I know he is a great coach and knows a thing or two about (good) football but I sort of fear his dark side…

In the last press conference, however, he was more Han Solo than Darth Vader.

It gives me hope!

He manages groups well, in first instance, and he clearly won over the media with his new behaviour.

Most important question: is this a new Louis, or is he merely acting?

Louis gave clarity to a lot of questions prior to the game. About the captaincy, the line up and even the players he’d bring at half time…. And seemingly, in a friendly way. That did promise something for the future :-).

Holland plays with Stekelenburg on goal, Van Rhijn, Mathijsen, Heitinga, Willems at the back. Nigel as sole holding mid and Raf and Wes as forward midfielders. Robben, Huntelaar and Narsingh play upfront in a 4-3-3.

Fairly remarkable was his comment that Huntelaar will be his striker for the near future. About his conversation with Robin van Persie: “Robin struck me in that. He is very intelligent and we had a very profound talk about football and about life. I have not had a conversation this deep with a player for a long time. It felt good and Robin in my eyes is an absolute top bloke. But Klaas Jan did bring more in the orange and he gets the nod now.”

Breaking news: Arsenal and Man United have reached an agreement on a transfer sum for Van Persie. Tomorrow, the ex-Feyenoord man will negotiate with Ferguson about his personal package.

Holland and Belgium. A famous fixture in the past. In the last decades, Holland likes to see Germany as their arch rival, but our neighbours in the south still see us as such. We played them last in 2004. Much too late. We lost 0-1, on a Bart Goor penalty kick. Sneijder, Heitinga and Kompany played in that match too.

The most famous friendly was the 5-5 in Rotterdam in 1999 with an Edgar Davids on fire.

Today’s Belgium played with (former) Dutch Eredivisie players Vermaelen, Vertonghen, Chadli and benchwarmers Mertens, Alderweireld, Simons, Dembele and Pocognoli.

Belgium plays with pressure high up the park against us and Mathijsen looks sluggish. Narsingh on the other hand impresses with his speed and a good cross on Huntelaar. Holland has lots of possession in the first minutes. And it’s also not as “friendly” in the first phase, with celebrated Van der Vaart copping yellow for a sliding on goalie Coutois.

After 20 minutes, Belgium scored. A lucky. Genk striker Benteke receives the ball after a Heitinga block and scores via Stekelenburg’s feet: 1-0.

Five minutes later, debutant Van Rhijn almost scores on a Narsingh cross. Coutois’ fingertips save Belgium here. The Ajax defender is bulldozered 7 minutes later, in the Belgium area, but ref Atkinson refuses to point to the spot.

Oranje is strong in possession but vulnerable in defense. Van der Vaart has the last word in the first half with a distance strike, blocked off by Vermaelen.

In the break, it’s Mario Been on Belgium tv criticizing Mathijsen: “He’s too slow and sluggish. His build up play is lacking.” And Ruud Gullit on Dutch tv: “Huntelaar isn’t found. If you can’t engage your striker, you are playing with 10 men. And Stekelenburg gambled with that first goal. If he would have stayed on his feet, he would have stopped that one. Like with Germany’s second goal at the Euros…”

In the second half, De Vrij, Maher, Viergever and Martins Indi all make their debut. Heitinga, Mathijsen, Willems and Van der Vaart stay in the dressing room. With Van Rhijn in the line up, Oranje plays with all debutant defenders.

Ten minutes into the second half, it’s Martins Indi’s pass to Robben that creates the equaliser. His low cross is too strong for Hunter, but Narsingh – Holland’s best man in the first half – is at the right spot to score the 1-1.

And only two minutes later, the same actors create the 1-2. Martins Indi’s pass reaches Robben who finds Huntelaar available to tap in the second goal.

Stekelenburg keeps Oranje in the game with good responses to shots of Defour and Chadli. Not much later, it’s Robben dribbling past three defenders, only for Belgium to stop him halfway their own area. Martins Indi impresses in possession but is sloppy defending. Chadli gets a free header thanks to the Feyenoord defender’s lack of marking. Stekelenburg saved Holland just moments before.

Stekelenburg actually needs to act more in the minutes after. A Lukaki shot, and Witsel with a tap in, almost. Adam Maher attempts a distance strike, but Coutois saves this time.

Oi, 2-2 for Belgium. De Jong loses possession and Mertens is away. He outpaces De Vrij and scores. Martins Indi offered Mertens a chance earlier too.

And Belgium scores twice in two minutes too. Mertens creating again, this time Lukaki gets the tap in.

Oh dear, another goal two minutes later yet again! Van Rhijn is marking air and offers Mertens all the time to find ex Ajax skipper Vertonghen who beats ex buddy Stekel. Three goals in 5 minutes? Hmmmm…

Van Persie, Afellay and Kuyt remained on the bench.

So Oranje loses with four goals conceded. The fourth defeat in a row. This happened last in 1954.

Captain Sneijder: “The first 20 minutes in the second half were fantastic. And then we make individual mistakes and we lose the game. That is sad, in particular because we all support this new system we are playing. We should look at the positives now and build on that.”

Coach Van Gaal: “Everyone is really emotional. So I didn’t talk to the lads yet. The first half was not great but we did create 6 chances. We had two great goals in the second half but we had trouble with Lukaku. Personal mistakes get Belgium back into the game.”

Mario Been: “It’s clear where the issues are in Oranje. It’s the back four with the problems. Fix that, and you have a good team.”

Arjen Robben: “We learned a lot today. But there is work to do. But despite the result, this were 3 days well spent. We had good talks and the coach gave me clarity where he wants to use me. In Oranje, he believes my ideal spot is on the left. At Bayern, he switched me to the right. I have a preference there, but I am happy to play on the left wing.” Robben had two assists today.

VI editor and analist Johan Derksen, earlier on extremely critical on Van Gaal (calling him a sneaky unreliable backstabber): “I rate Louis van Gaal’s work today an 8 out of 10. He has put the right players on the right spot. He was very logical today. If players make mistakes on the pitch, he can’t really help that. This must have been a useful night for Van Gaal. Here he could see what happens when we are not at our best. We lose against Belgium.”

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  1. Well, Well, Well…I am not joking when I say that at this time the only rival we can certainly beta is San Marino. We learned today that perhaps it was not BVM fault in Euro2012. This result really sucks but doesn’t count because the real thing will be against Turkey.

    Actually I don’t expects much from Oranje at the moment. This losing period Is uncertain when it will end. All I can say is that at léase Van Gaal tested new players. I think the transition period will be slow but we say new defenders and Van Rhijn and M. Indi somewow gave a good impresion in some periods of the game, Douglas is a must for next game. Also Fer and Clasie.

    I also promise to myself

  2. To stop posting often here because I do not recognice this Oranje, I will do it more when they start getting good results again. I will read your comments though.

    My team for next game:

    1 – Steks
    2- V Rhijn
    3- Douglas
    4- Fer
    5- M Indi
    6- Clasie or Anita, bye De Jong
    7- Narsingh
    8- Strootman
    9- Huntelaar
    10- Sneijder
    11- Robben

    I know Fer is not a defender but he can offer there a good build up. Well, this is my last post for a while.

  3. Before retiring for a while I could not stop commenting two things. Spelling in my IPad is crazy and that I just saw the highlights and can’t believe my eyes after watching NDJ. He was needed in the past, I think he was very bad tonight, time to go as well as Mathijsen.. Anita, Fer, Clasie and Strootman can do a better job as holding mids . At least two of the goals we received were perfectly avoidable!!!!!!!!!!! The work is on defensive midfield and the whole defence!!!!!!!!!

    Now yes, gone for a while………….

  4. Jan, I will not leave the blog, I am just saying that I am not motivated to write a lot because of this bad performances but I will be reading the comments of everyone. I understand that this was a friendly, new coach, many new players but still. But I will support the team although I am not in a good mood specially after the Euros.

    1. Hey Mario,
      Everyone is feeling the same like you for the lost battles.But i must say it is also a bright side as Oranje has lots of homework to do.We tried new players,new tactics and formation.Isn’t it a good sign.We need to be a bit patience and be fair for this reborn Oranje.
      Louis Van Gaal is truly a tactician not like Van marwijk who stick on to 4321 forever along with the old guns.
      Anyway,i have faith that our new coach will bring back the football life of Oranje.It is gonna be fasinating,inspiring and dynamic.
      Hup Holland Hup~never will i place my head down 🙂

  5. Mario, relax. It cannot get any worse 🙂
    I am factoring in a failure to qualify for WK2014…

    Eventually we will rebuild a better team. I am afraid LVG has a handfull of a job.

  6. Well one thing you can be certain of is that LvG really has the work cut out for him.

    The defending was rather appalling as usually with the Netherlands national team, but today somehow was even more painful than usually. Probably because of all the new players that made their debut. My question is what the hell will happen in September when it’s to play the first WC2014 qualifier game, against the strongest opponent in the group I might add?

    On the one hand you can pick the useless trio of Heitinga, Mathijsen and Van der Viewl and on the other hand you can pick all new players with virtually no national team experience.

    I think Robben still has a lot of juice left in him and Narsingh is a very good (team) player despite his age. Not sure about Huntelaar. It’s not his skill, but he seems to be a bit static and as always, there is the question of service that he gets. Most of the time it simply wasn’t there.

    I’m very worried about the Turkey game in September, to be honest.

  7. Jan I love your work and the new site. Long term follower of this site/blog, check it daily. As a born Australian my football knowledge aint that good so I choose to read rather than post. I’m a passionate oranje supporter and also follow the eredivisie closely thru cable tv. I don’t have a favorite team yet, love watching psv Ajax twente az feyenoord, just dont know who to follow, loll. My question is if there is any news on Douglas? Is he definitely available in september? Will FIFA allow it? I really hope so.

    1. I believe they do. Per Sept 1, he is eligible to play. Great to see you here Jacob :-).

      Good to hear about your passion for Dutch football. I’m a longtime Feyenoord fan myself but have a lot of sympathy for Ajax, AZ, Twente too. Don’t like PSV. Historic reasons I guess.

      1. Personally I was leaning towards az or twente. But have a soft spot for them all. Feyenoord I also find interesting, plenty of young talents, let’s hope they can hold onto them for a little longer

  8. A loss is a loss. I’d rather lose with younger players so they can learn and at least they have experiences. I hope these young players get better quick. Perhaps have at least 2 more friendlies with some Dutch clubs. One thing scares me is that it does not matter who the defenders are we still lose the game. I would hate it if we cannot qualify for WC2014.

  9. Oranje need to learn how to grind out wins! We don’t have to play pressing football for the whole 90 mins. Sometimes, we have to be able to be more cautious and play safe.

    2nd half after we score two goals, we started getting exposed in the back as the team kept pushing up the field. We have to be able to adapt towards different opponents and exploit their weakness. I’m not saying we should park the bus and start playing anti-football. What I’m saying is that we don’t have to get over-exposed and allow opponents to easily get back into games.

    We have a big problem in defense. Even with this new group of back four in the 2nd half: Martins/DeVrij/Viergiver/Van Rhijn, we were not able to effectively protect our goal.

    Some of the goals we concede is not just because of individual mistakes alone. The formation and team play exposes these defenders and they panic!!

    In all fairness, these guys were all rookie debutantes. They still have a lot learn and experience. At the same time, the coaching staff needs to make adjustments during the game to prevent total defensive collapse of conceding 3 goals in less than 5 mins!!!

    1. >2nd half after we score two goals, we started getting exposed in the back as the team kept pushing up the field.

      good post. exactly what happened. After 60 mins, the lines disintegrated again like EK2012… we didn’t exactly pushed up, the front lines forgot to track back, *AGAIN*

      When the lines disintegrate, even if you have 2XPuyol and 2XPique you will concede, at least once. Steks is not a giant octopus 🙂 he is a mere mortal. Best goalkeeper in the world, in a good day…

      There is no replacement for proper formation. It doesn’t matter who is the defender if the gaps are 20-30 meters between the lines. The only question is how many you are going to concede.

      With Heitinga-Mathijsen you will concede 1-2, with the newbies 3-4 …

      It is clearly a formation/discipline problem we are dealing with. Trust me, we were nothing special till the 60th but at least we looked professional… After that, it all got flushed down the toilet…

  10. I think what Holland needs is a Rijkaard-type player. Maybe Strootman can play that role. Maybe NDJ is not good enough. Or, instruct Sneijder to play deeper (like Pirlo) and VdV upfront (Jari Litmanen role).

  11. BVM was too cautious and ultimately the team lacked creativity and couldn’t score to save it’s life while also leaking goals in the back. In Euro 2012, neither the offense worked nor the defense. A guaranteed formula for failure.

    It’s just one game but with LVG, the offense might get better but if he continues to gamble too much on attack and not focus enough on defensive side of the equation, it’ll also ultimately lead to failure.

    I do believe we have a very quality group of individuals to select from. If LVG and the coaching staff don’t get to find a balance between offense and defense, then this team will be more likely to fail no matter who plays in the game.

  12. You know what’s crazy?

    After an emotional WC2010 tournament where we finished 2nd many players could have easily thrown in the towel and lost the next friendly game. Instead, we tied Ukraine…. and with a second-string team.

    With the game against Belgium today we had nothing to lose. We played with a squad similar to that of the Euros and we had a lot to prove. We failed. I did not see the game but based on the results it’s extremely disappointing to be a part of this ‘rebuilding’ period because as hopeful as I want to be it is difficult to be positive during these trying times for Oranje. It also shows that the 4-2-3-1 system might still be the way to go and BVM should not walk too far away.

    Jan, I am also very skeptical and nervous for LVG and his tactics. We need to give him a VERY short stick. If he cannot find the perfect way to blend youth with our talented veterans and implement an effective system he will need to go.

    We also need to get our defenders playing together regularly…..

    There is hope but it can fade quickly!

    1. Sorry, but your attitude towards this game is wrong. We subbed in 3 wet-behind-the-ears defenders at the half because it’s a friendly and they need the experience in order to learn. This was an experimental game, not a game in which Oranje needed to prove they are top rank. If you can’t experiment in a friendly, then when?

      Personally I found the game refreshing. Sure there were awful mistakes and I am competitive and want to win, no matter who is on the field. But Van Gaal has demonstrated that he is looking for solutions and is willing to try out and develop young players.

      De Vrij, Bruno Martins Indi, Narsingh were all successful experiments. Not perfect but the glass is more than half full with these players.

  13. Technically speaking I should not even be on this blog as the last 2 Oranje games I saw live were the Portugal games, yes the red and yellow one and this last one (until the break that is). The game before those, that I can remember watching,was the one they won against Germany in 80-something. It’s just because I’m at work when they play. I do like this blog however and through it can still get a really good sense of what is “playing” not only on and off the field but with the fans as well. This is a true gift in these internet times.

  14. I find it funny how a bunch of Belgian Eredivisie players manhandled a star studded Holland. DOn’t get me wrong i’m upset Holland lost but the Eredivisie must not be that bad after all.

      1. I respectfully disagree about Steks!

        He was not flawless but he had a string of amazing saves yesterday. If it wasn’t for him, this game could really have looked like a disaster. We could have easily ended the game with a more lopsided scoreline.

        A goalkeeper can only take you so far. If your defense keeps failing every game, it won’t matter. We need a systemic and fundamental rebuilding of our defense!!

        Tim Krul or Michel Vorm are both very good. However, they won’t be able to prevent us from losing games if we don’t defend as a team and have mental lapses during portions of the game.

        1. Come on man, he always has the intention of going to the ground before the attacker even takes his shot … look at t he 4th for Belgium, we are not saying that he is that bad, but we think that Krul could be better and that there is room for change.

  15. Why does Sneijder always play way out on the left touchline in every match? This is bothering me because he just blocks his own teammates and is becoming really predictable.

    1. I agree. We need him right in the middle orchestrating the offense taking balls from the right and the left. He also looks like he’s trying to conserve energy. His runs are very cautious and calculated.

      I’m not saying he should run like a rabid dog but he looks like a 35 year old trying to make it to the 90th minute. Maybe he should be substituted at the 60th minute mark. That way he can be more active and effective.

      It’s hard for a coach to take him out especially when we are behind or tied but if he continues this trend, it might ultimately have to be done on a regular basis.

  16. i agree steks hasn’t been rock solid but he is probably so dumfounded and shocked by the amateur mistakes his defenders are making that he can’t properly prepare to defend those shots………

  17. I’m speechless with the level of this current team, lack of discipline and now even further lost of confidence. 4 lost in a row and 7 lost in the last 10 games.
    We have tried out two best strikers in different games, we have moved on and got rid of average and aging bommel, bouma, Schaars, Boula, and v der weil, we have recruited 4 young defenders presumably will energise the defence, it has not yet solved the problems. IMO, our problem is midfield, we need players more than nigel de jong, vaart and sneijder can offer, we need more possession, clear responsibility and discipline to track back. I saw last man city games, nd jong’s busy chasing shadow and keep losing his men, the same like Belgium match. Nd jong should not be given automatic starter. More importantly we no longer have the greatness of 2010 Sneijder, he and vaart should be given equal responsibility to defence as much as other players. My only positive notes are v rhijn, narsingh, martin indi and douglas inclusion in september.

  18. Having said the above and again not seen a single second of this friendly match I still don’t feel embarrassed to respond.

    Could it be true that without a good defense or the ability to keep the ball in possession for over 70% of a game a team has no chance in succeeding other than by exorbitant amounts of luck?

    I cannot imagine any of these players, old or young, having too much confidence in Oranje any more if they let in more goals than the attack can put away on the other side.

    I know I will get ridiculed for even mentioning this and totally not favored by any of us Oranje-bleeding total football fans, but to hell with it: maybe LvG should outdo BvM and even go catenaccio-stylee with all-out defenders and defending midfielders only, except for 2 attackers and hope for that lucky break to win the game by 1-0 (isn’t that sort of what Spain has been doing with their possession style?). This of course only until the time a new and solid defensive line is able to take care of that job all by itself.

    Good luck to the coaching staff of Oranje to sort out this mess.

    We will bleed through this one together
    Hup Holland Hup

    1. >I know I will get ridiculed for even mentioning this and totally not favored by any of us Oranje-bleeding total football fans, but to hell with it: maybe LvG should outdo BvM and even go catenaccio-stylee with all-out defenders and defending midfielders only, except for 2 attackers and hope for that lucky break to win the game by 1-0 (isn’t that sort of what Spain has been doing with their possession style?)

      absolutely not, you will not get ridiculed. Spain plays a 4-6 formation where most of the 6 are “mid” midfielders, neither defensive nor attacking. Players like Kuyt who can defend when needed or attack when needed (yeah, I get it they play better soccer than Dirk but you know what I mean). But most of all, they keep the lines together and don’t leave gaps.

      There would be nothing wrong with leaving Wes out for the first 60 mins and putting Dirk in. And even replacing Robben with Strootman. Dirk and Kevin will run like hell, will track back and will pass the ball. Yeah, I know… We don’t have a lot of creativity but this way we will keep the lines tight and we might score one or even two with luck.

      After all Wes is “in” the game for no more than 30 mins so why not play the last 30?

      1. The confidence that will now certainly be lacking can only come from having a solid defense. Not sure how many of these qualifying games can be used to experiment with but Van Gaal will need to win enough matches while sorting out the defense.
        Will you let LVG know of your plan?

        1. >Will you let LVG know of your plan?

          haha. I sure hope he reads the boards from time to time and I hope even more he has open mind.

          There is no doubt Spain has perfected the 4-6. It is a very smart system. Most of the players are like swiss army knives. They can fit multiple scenarios.

          There is no doubt that BvM also built a similar approach that worked well for 3 years.

          Both Spain and BvM’s Holland had more similarites than anyone here will admit. Sure they played a little fancier but we played with more grit. The 2010 final is the epitome of a close call. Closest athletic competition I have ever witnessed and I am on this planet for several decades 🙂

          But me, you and others are not the only ones who see this. I am sure LVG knows about it. Other coaches too.

          It just that not everyone is willing to make big changes as they include a lot of risk. Rinus and Johan took a huge gamble and they won. But most coaches are not like that. That’s why progress is not happening any faster.

          At the moment Holland has some but not all the material to play the Spanish style 4-6. We need some better defenders and unfortunately Kuyt/Bommel etc are older/retired.

          We will see. The first sample of LVG’s Oranje was not good IMO. The lines should have held better. Plus he doesn’t seem to put the knife deep… I mean everyone is willing to crucify Mathijsen and De Jong (overall stable performers, not gifted but stable) but nobody talks about how absent Sneijder has been for the last two years and he keeps getting worse.

          I think we need more workers in the midfield and less stars. Look at countries like Greece where players who don’t know jack about soccer can make it to quarter or semifinals and go down in pride.

          Wesley doesn’t want it anymore. He has money and Yolanthe. Ok, then step aside and let someone else take that place. Sorry, I believe Wes is the best gifted player on the planet but the last two years is one big party for him. He lives his dream , tell him to stay in it cause we the Oranje fans live in a nightmare.

          I am very pessimistic re the Turkey game. They are shyte but at the moment, so are we….

          1. Sneijder always claims he wants to win trophies but I don’t think he will win too many with Inter. It’s no secret either that the Italian competition is at a way lower intensity than e.g. the English one and a move there would give him back some more of the edge he used to have.

            The Turkey game is really in the season, maybe they’ll still be in vacation mode and don’t know about our last four losses.

  19. i don’t think it was that bad. its just one game and i don’t think its a tactic problem or wrong choice of players. i think its just because the season just started and players are just starting to getting into rhythm. give the team time especially the young ones and we’ll be winning every game in no time.


  20. Look guys the loss isn’t the end of the world, I think we can take some positives from this and move forward… It’s the start of a new era and I think the team will take time to sought itself out.

    The Belgians definitely are a team on the up, who went in to the game with not too much presssure and with nothing to loose.

  21. I have to give credit to LvG. He wants to get Oranje back to playing Dutch Football. Today he put out a side to see where we stand. 4-2 against Belgium is where we stand according to Dutch standards. We’ve always known our defense has been shit. But we did well tonight because we were playing as a team until Narsingh was taken off. Lens is as bad as NDJ, Mathijsen, Heitinga.

    Has anyone heard the saying “putting out your best TEAM”? A lot of managers say it and then we see their selection and WTF is our first thought. Today was a trial game so I’m not placing any blame. It was the first game I was into since the WC match against Brazil.

    I think Martins Indi will work his way into the new LCB. What LvG needs to find is his partner out of De Vrij, Bruma, or Douglas. Certain systems work better with certain players. As hard as it may be Sneijder hasn’t been the same since the Inter treble of 2010. VdV looked great. This is where he can shine. In a 4-3-3 we need a box-2-box holding midfielder who can drop back and defend but also pass and press the attack. NDJ doesn’t fit any of that. The midfield needs to be sorted out and Leroy Fer deserves a callup.

  22. The result today doesn’t matter so don’t be down. This was an experiment to see where we stand. To see who stays and who goes (I hope). The changes got a lot out of some players; Robben had 2 assists, VdV looked like he was playing for Hamburg with his creativity and forward pressing, Narsingh was a box to box winger defending and attacking with ease and the new additions of Willem/v.Rhijn were great. Huntelaar scored as he always does when given a chance.

    It also showed us what we have known for a while now… NDJ is a destroyer but nothing more. Can’t pass and not good with the ball, time to go. Heitinga isn’t our answer at CB, he can’t even hold a place at shyte Everton. Mathijsen is old. Lens has never been prolific or even first choice at PSV he shouldn’t even be on the Oranje bench.

    1. my friend Hien, here is a suggestion:

      Stroot- DeJong
      Narsingh – VdV (Sneijder 2nd half) – Kuyt

      at least our lines will not get overrun… yes, I would dare to leave Wes and Arjen out …

      2nd advice, pray Allah is not there that day LOL

      any changes to the basic line up have to be done spring 2013 and onwards… for now, there is no choice, we got to use the old guard, at least the ones who have the will to play…

  23. It was a horrible result but there are some positives from this game

    Louis wants to play real Dutch football!. During Bert’s reign I hardly enjoyed how Holland played but last night I could see some good moments which keep me positive.

    We have to see the whole picture. Louis played 4 new defenders at the same time!!! great news!!! he’s got our same sentiment!!! but of course it was hard not to concede when this players really don’t know each other.

    *Van Rhijn, De Vrij, Viergever, Martins Indi have a bright future with the national team especially Martins Indi.

    *The new system seems to be liked by the players (Robben said so).

    *Narsingh is great and the best is that he is a team player!.

    *Louis must know by now he can’t play Nigel!!! and he’ll find new options (Strootman, Clasie, Fer).

    1. Well said, Miguel. “Real Dutch football” emerged from time to time: Before we crumbled in the second half, I was really enjoying the play. And two quick goals, flowing down the left side… the cross from Robben… From Martins Indi!

      Defense collapsed? Not so unbelievable. Just as Miguel said, Louis put in four greenhorns… in part, to see who would collapse and who would hold. We got real build up on a couple of sweeping, lovely plays… starting all the way back. Then they overreached. Louis gets to sort that out now.

      Narsingh has such awesome pace, and showed a brilliant cross. But as long as Wes spends the bulk of his time on the left, we won’t have balance on the attack. In time, we will. Narsingh looks like the real deal.

      And, yes, it’s time for the last hard man to leave. Bye bye, NDJ. We still need to be free of the albatross of that karate kick.

  24. —————–Stekelenburg——————

    —-Van Rhijn—-Maduro—-Douglas—-M.Indi—



    In my opinion Vaart and Sneijder are players who disappear for long periods and THAT is killing us. I’d play this team and if after 60 or 70′ Vaart or Sneijder disappear then introduce Afellay, Kuyt, Maher, or Emanuelson.

    1. I think is very true. Once we went ahead 2-1 the midfield could not hold things together. I think VDV played better than Wes to be honest.

      The positives and they were MANY:
      1. Robben is still the man and LvG knows how to get the best out of him
      2. Narsingh looks like the real deal – he scored against Bayern Munich and he scored yesterday.
      3. Between Willems, Narsingh and Robben – we have 3 super fast players.
      4. 4-3-3 is much more entertaining
      5. We got some promising defenders.
      6. Two of the goals scored against us were old guard faults.
      7. The 3 goals scored against us in the last 20 mins were a result of experimentation. LvG brought in Lens, Maher and a whole set of new defenders to test out.

      You guys are impossible to please. Most of you wanted BvM to experiment and when LvG experimented you’re jumping the gun and shooting him dead. I thought the game had much more positives than negatives.

      As many others said, I think NDJ needs to warm the bench. I still think Matthijssen can offer something to the team. Heitinga needs to lift up his skirt and go. VDW has got some serious competition. The Hunter vs Persie question is still out there for me. I think the 4-3-3 fits Persie more than Hunter.

  25. not only oranje had bad result yesterday. turkey were beaten 2-0 by austria (in vienna),roumania lost 4-3 against slovenia,hungray drew against israel (in budapest). andorra were also beaten. only estonia won (against poland). belgium are far better than austria,slovenia and israel. it means oranje are in a quite easy group,even with not at 100 percent the qualification won’t be in danger. it doesn’t mean everything is perfect,but for now luis still has time to experiment,even in qualification games.
    douglas will be a big improvement,i’m less sure about maduro (based on his valencia years) – when will pieters be available? he should be onverted into central back,with douglas he might form a solid partnership. with the lateral backs lvg won’t have problems,and hopefully strootman will become a better holding midfielder than de jong. i can see him playing like sergio busquets,he’s the same kind of player with similar abilities (without busi’s antics).
    on the other hand since 1997 oranje haven’t won against belgium, and this belgium side is one of the best in their football history (worl class defenders,eden hazard and good strikers),their squad is one of the best in europe.

  26. I think OranjeBoom is right. There are a few very positive things we did learn from this game.

    1) Robben is still a very dangerous player and he really seems to benefit the team when playing on the left side.

    2) Huntelaar still has it. As long as he gets a couple of good passes in front of the goal he will be able to score.

    3) Van der Vaart might not be a complete pensioner yet. There might be a place for him in the new system where he can actually do something for the team.

    2) Narsingh will be the “new Robben” without the selfishness and the arrogance.

  27. I didnt see the game as I dont see any reason to panic from just now. Relax guys… it was just the first game. And it was a friendly after all, and in the 2nd half LVG introduced a whole line up of new defenders, and it was a change of system. Just too many reasons not to panic from now.

    they will find their feet, hopefully… I dont see any reasons why we shouldnt qualify for the WC.

    What bothered me from the game, was that stupid mistake NDJ did to allow a goal. That was horrible from a WC player of his status.

    And on the news… Persie has signed for United! Ha! Im so happy that I will not bump into any biased Arsenal fan in here any more.
    What do you guys think of this anyway?


    “We lost because of personal mistakes,” the Dutch trainer told SBS 6. “The first half wasn’t good because we played sloppy when we had the ball.”

    He also singled out Manchester City midfielder Nigel De Jong for criticism: “At half time, I said to my players that Nigel de Jong should stay away when we had the ball.

    “We started the second half very well, but due to personal mistakes we threw away the match. Especially the second goal, that was a big mistake by De Jong.”

    Although quite direct and with little touch, I loved when he said De Jong should stay away when we have the ball ahahaha 😀

  29. In the last couple of months there has been a wave of criticism towards the team (I included). The team has been dissected well and truly beyond, especially after the Euros. But you know the saddest part of all of this is that the team is leaning more and more towards that reality, meaning our worst nightmares are getting closer to becoming a reality.
    Yes, its a friendly and it doesn’t mean a dime for the road to Brazil. But there comes a point when you really have to admit the flaws, when de jong gave away that very silly pass (not to say stupid) you really have to judge his determination and lack of concentration (especially from a player who was part of the Euro gang).
    This team really needs a soul and what its really lacking is a leader. One that shouts, organizes, takes the team on his shoulders and inspires aggressiveness and the winning mentality. When they were a goal down, they looked like a bunch of individuals shaky at best and trying to hard to make an individual play rather than a collective one. The midfield is almost non-existence, in today’s game that is where the heart and soul of all strategies, the central nerve system. Khedira, Bastian, Xavi, Busquest, Xabi, Pirlo etc etc..
    This team needs some fresh ideas and legs, its got a new manager but its on the field where it really matters. A new spirit and loads of creativity. Hats down to Narsingh tough, truly represented by what I meant by fresh..
    I say this with great love and I trully hope the road forward is much more better

  30. I don’t mind the old starting lineup (I don’t like it) but we need to win. Win first, then attractive play. We play an open style like this then no matter we can score, our defense will let it down (outscored by opponent). As Demi said, we may have to use 2 holding midfields. As much as I like Sneijder, he does not inspire/own the midfield, he is not the same as in 2010 and I see no players step up for leadership. We still have problem of the gap in the midfield. I’d expect mistakes from new young players but not from the experienced players. If they don’t learn and make the same mistakes, find a replacement player that learns. We should just pass the ball around, bore the opponent, invite them to attack and then counter attack. Oh wait, that’s Spain.
    I was hoping playing 4-3-3 means we can outscore opponent. That is not going to happen with this team. I just hope LVG can pull a win vs Turkey, no matter how ugly it is. If not, I think I have to accept that this is the rebuild is now.

  31. @Uitlaatklep

    we don’t need a radical change like that. What we need is a balance! That’s all. We can’t push up too far and leave acres of green between defenders and the goalkeeper.

    2nd half we had a whole new defense. Just imagine, these guys are brand new with so much pressure on them. The team as a whole lost focus and exposed them. Yes, they failed to recognize that themselves and didn’t have extraordinary speed or experience to recover from that.

    Individual players make a difference. Strootman or Clasie would have probably performed better than NDJ yesterday. Good players also have bad days.

    Bottomline, we have to play team ball. We need to understand our strengths and weaknesses. Forwards and midfielders need to track back and apply pressure when we lose possession. Not saying they need to go into the penalty box but they can do much better than they are doing right now. Sneijder, Hunter, VDV, Narsingh and even Robben need much more involvement in pressuring the ball which is what other successful teams like Spain or Barcelona do whenever they lose possession.

    Defenders have to close down gaps and limit passing lanes with their positioning. All of these things come from experience so it’ll be a while before we see real progress in this area. Until then, they just need more help from the others and limit their personal mistakes that shouldn’t be happening at this level of the game.

  32. 4-3-3 is impossible with this team…..

    4-2-3-1 is the ONLY option!…

    Van Gaal is as bad for Oranje as Van Persie….

    Big name flops with the national team. I guess I can cancel my Brazilian vacation in 2014 🙁

  33. I’m with the more optimistic camp. Experimentation is good right after a big tournament, and I’m 100% behind playing 433. Four new defenders playing together for the first time are going to be exposed. That’s why you play friendlies like this, to see who you’ve got, what they’re made of, how they respond to adversity, and how they start gelling with each other.

    This game had some good combination play, a bit more exuberance, and some really bright spots that others have already pointed out and that I echo. Teams go through ups and downs (even Spain will have down periods, you’ll see). The team needs a new, younger crop of defenders, and LvG has shown that he gets that and is willing to give a range of folks a try-out.

    My prediction for WK2014 is second place in the group, and win the playoff in a squeaker. Expectations will be low (outside of Holland — inside they’re always crazy high), and the team will show well with a run to the quarters, losing a tight one. Then they lose the EK2016 semi final and win the WK 2018 final. Hieperdepiep, hoera!

  34. Exactly! “4 new defenders playing together for the first time are going to be exposed”.

    Mathijsen looked better than Heitinga perhaps LVG shouldn’t experiment too much against Turkey and play with the following defenders:

    Van Rhijn—Douglas—Mathijsen—Pieters

    At least there you have 2 players who have already played together (Mathijsen and Pieters), a new player (Douglas) who is experienced and replacing Van der Wiel is a must after such a disastrous EC he has to gain his spot all over again.

  35. sorry my friends. but i don’t know where is pieters? he still cannot play, this is more than two months after Euro2012. come on where is Pieters, and another question is can we use Douglas after Turkey game? is turkey game is our last game without Douglas?

  36. Douglas has not been called up and tested with national team yet. Potential is not good at this point. I think LVG will use pretty much the same line up in Euro 2012 with the addition of Narsingh and Van Rhijn. Let’s see if he plays both Strootman/De Jong or just one holding midfield.

    1. @Hien,
      Mathijsen absolutely has to go if we are to have any chance going forward. It’s not just about age or a decline in skills. It’s just that he’s error-prone and loses his concentration. You would think at this point in his career he would have solved those weaknesses. He’s just not good enough for a team of this caliber and aspirations.

      Heitinga also needs to go but it’s not as an emergency as is the case with Mathijsen!

      These next generation of defenders have a huge opportunity here. I hope they step up to the plate and establish themselves for years to come.

  37. Anita to Newcastle


    For me, Anita, De Jong and Eriksen were the best Ajax players last season.

    Without Anita, Ajax it´s not the same. In fact, i think that the main reason why Ajax won the last season was that FdB played Anita instead Enoh. That´s the same reason why I prefer Clasie or Anita over NDJ: if you play 4-3-3 you need a holding midfield who offers build up and control skills. Not only destruction capacity.

    Do you know the 3 possible Anita replacements?: Sporkslede, Ilan Boccara and Joeri de Kamps? They played U19!

  38. Assaidi to liverpool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ajax is begining to pissimg me off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    No Narsinhg, no Assaidi, no Anita….. Ajax is going to play CL with an amateur team.

    1. Dont be pissed off with Ajax on this one mate. Assaidi is full of sh*t. 1 minute its “I don’t want to go abroad, but remain with my family in Amsterdam. I never hid my desire to play for Ajax.” then Liverpool give him more money and then hes off. Better off without him.

      I do agree that overmars needs to get some more players in. They have lost like 8/9 players and only brought in 3.

  39. Hi!I want to say its my first time here, so please, be understanding 😉
    I’m from Poland (I know, my country is not good memory for You, Dutch friends…) but I’m a big fan of your football and I love Oranje team 🙂

    I was sad when I heard that Van Gaal will be the coach, but… Firstly, this article gave me hope 🙂 Secondly, yesterday match showed that he has a good idea for the team. Yea, they lost, but an optimistic side is that he checked lots younger players.
    Moreover, Patrick Kluivert was sitting next to Van Gaal. Could you tell me what is his role in coaching the team? I really like him and I’m excited that I saw him on the coaching bench 😉

    I hope Van Gaal’s tactic will give Oranje victories soon!

    1. Yes, I like Kluivert as well… the blog regulars will know more, are he and Blind joint assistant coaches? Or Kluivert just part time as he has a job at Twente.

      Just watched the match, I’m a big fan of Martins Indi and he offers great things going forward, but he’s still a bit flaky in defence. Nice to see him out there too, and Narsingh as well.

      I don’t think this is discouraging for the WC… I don’t think any of the teams in Holland’s group are as good as Belgium, even Turkey, who only got past them in Euros because Belgium missed a penalty in their deciding match.

      I’d be more worried if Holland were in group A, I think LvG will make it this time.

    2. Welcome Kasia – everyone is welcome here we even have Portuguese and Germans and just waiting for a few Belgians to join us.
      Thought this Banner at the stadium recently put up by Belgians Fans was Hilarious.

  40. Many positive aspects to take away from this friendly. 4-3-3 is back, and per Schneijder, the players like it. van Gaal is testing the waters with new athletes–good idea. The team came back from 1-0 against a very good defense. Positive comments from the players–a good sign. van Gaal’s choice of Huntelaar over van Persie–correct decision.

    van Gaal may be the coach to finally fix the weak defense Holland has had now for many years. I hope he plays the new athletes, and keeps the others on the bench. The big question for me is whether Holland has the defenders to help the Dutch step back up to world class.

    1. I like Martins Indi, he is the typical kind of Dutch footballer playing in defence rather than just a ‘defender’. But his entertainment value has its downside, I think he entertained Dutch and Belgian fans equally at different times!

  41. I know that club football must be so much different to a NT for a coach, but thinking back to LvG’s time with Bayern, he needed some time there too to sort things out and get them to understand and do what he wanted. Unfortunately the NT’s time is way more scattered and doesn’t allow for much intensive time, but if Oranje does manage to qualify for Brazil and these players are acustomed to Van Gaal and his assistants I think they might be able to go way beyond everybody’s expectations.

      1. At the EC they lost to 3 top 10 ranked national teams including 2 top 5 ones! I know they sort of imploded during those games but if Van Gaal manages to keep their energy and concentration going they should be able to win ‘m all. He should tell Sneijder to leave Italy for England.

  42. As I said before, I am not in such a good mood specially after the Euro but finally a coach shaked things a bit. Now neither Heitinga, Mathijsen and Van der Wiel can be calmes because it has been made clear Van Gaal knows that deparment needs a complete turn over. And de Jong did not made himself a favour. It is clear he is not the player of great technique that LVG always likes. Clasie, Anita, Fer and Strootman are better suited to the style that LVG watts. I just hope on september the team finds its form and wins because dropping points at home can cost us very expensive

  43. As I said before, I am not in such a good mood specially after the Euro but finally a coach shaked things a bit. Now neither Heitinga, Mathijsen and Van der Wiel can not be calmed because it has been made clear Van Gaal knows that department needs a complete turn over. And de Jong did not made himself a favour. It is clear he is not the player of great technique that LVG always likes. Clasie, Anita, Fer and Strootman are better suited to the style that LVG wants. I just hope on september the team finds its form and wins because dropping points at home can cost us very expensive.

    On the other

  44. didnt italy lose a friendly to russia 3-0 just before the euros and everybody wrote them off. To me, they were the most professional team in the whole tourney. Let’s hope Oranje under LVG wins when it matters. We’ve won thousands of friendlies in the past. I’d rather them lose and learn, win and win hard by mastering a lesson rather then win and learn absolutely nothing, become cocky and go and bomb at the world cup.

  45. SamNY
    “You guys are impossible to please. Most of you wanted BvM to experiment and when LvG experimented you’re jumping the gun and shooting him dead. I thought the game had much more positives than negatives.”

    I agree. This game had many more positives than negative. The result doesn’t matter. It’s just a friendly. We can see where we are weak. Sneijder has disappeared, Lens/NDJ/Heitinga/Mathijsen shouldn’t be called up. Everyone including Robben was tracking back until Narsingh was taken off. When Lens came on he broke a link in the chain leaving Maher & v. Rhijn to pick up his slack. We can either have Strootman as a deep lying playmaker (Pirlo) role along with Sneijder/VdV or bring him out to the left and have Fer in at DMF.

    v.Rhijn – Bruma – Martins Indi – Willems
    Van der Vaart – Fer – Strootman
    Narsingh – v.Persie – Robben

    All we need is the right balance of players and most importantly ALL players must be comfortable with the ball. Mathijsen/NDJ are 2 who aren’t and we saw the mistakes they made.

  46. Results always matter….

    We made the WK final on the basis of consistent continued success…. Almost setting an amazing qualifying and tournament record…blighted only by the loss in the final.

    The mentality that Oranje can and should win a tournament was starting to be ingrained into the players minds and success breeds success. If we always play the Dutch way and fail to win its no different than any other tournament we have ever played in….

    Michels and San Marco will always be our great heroes for breaking the trend and the history of Cruyff and clockwork Oranje would have been erased with a single Arjen Robben goal but it was not to be….

    Football has moved on…. 4-3-3 is over, defenders are more professional, other teams have seen the great 74 teams philosophies and videos, tiki taka

  47. Is now the “gold standard” we need to move on from 4-3-3 and realize we need to be pragmatic and use a system that blends attack and defence and plays to the strength of our talent…. We can’t use 433 with our current crop of players!

    1. We need tactical fluidity. We should be able to change formations during the game. We just need to be able to read games better as a team and respond. I do agree that 4-3-3 clearly exposes our midfield defensively as both Sneijder and VDV are not reassuring in their desire to play defense.

  48. ——————–Stekelenburg————-

    —-Van Rhijn—Douglas—-Pieters—M.Indi—



  49. 4 loses in a row for Holland hadn’t happened since 1954. I didn’t watch the game. Disappointed for suffering 3 goals in 5 mins. NDJ gave away a similar goal to Germany at the 0-3 friendly. I hope LVG finds a replacement for him soon as he is way past his best. I heard he is goin to Inter. I am beginning to believe that our weakest link is midfield that LVG will hopefully fix soon.

  50. I’m very nervous that we have no more practice games before the Turkey game in September. Very nervous indeed. The old defense sucks balls and the new defense is raw and inexperienced, with literally just half a match under their belt.

  51. Guys vaart 29,joris 32,johny,29,wesly 28 roben 29,kuyt 32,nijel 28.hunter 28 and persie 29. we cannot have all these players on pitch at same time..they are aged and exhausted.coz they are aged.they will again fail..u need 3/4 them with energetic 23/24 year old guys.
    keep Roben,persie,Wesly,vaart and forget about the others.then u build a team.
    Orange needs 2 clever and young ,hardworking,footballing holding mids…those are Clasie,Anita,strootman and Deguzman to some extent.where is deguzman???.
    Orange problems will be sorted out in defence if they select
    Bruno Martins
    Eric peiters
    Douglas texiera
    Hedwigs maduro
    Stefan devrij
    Van Rhijn
    Van der weil
    With holding mids
    Strrotman,leroyfer,Clasie ,Anita or Deguzman…

  52. Hello guys 🙂
    I couldn’t watch Oranje game ,but i watched the highlights and the goals .

    i still think 4-3-3 is not good for this Oranje . 3-4-3 will suit this group of players much more .

    De vrij/Van rijn _____ Douglas/??? _____ BMI/Pieters

    __________________ Strootman/Classie ___________
    afellay/Kuyt _____________________Emanuelson/Anita
    ____________ Sneijder/maher ? vaart ? ___________

    Persie/Narsingh ____________________ Robben/Elia/John
    __________________ Luuk??/Hunter??/??? __________

    If they know how to play together in the next 2 years , this team can go far in the WC .
    Van gaal has to find another powerful CB ” Donk ?? Bruma?? ” ,
    I would Drop Narsingh to be honest , still think the guy is no Oranje material at all ! Elia , john are by far better and better players .

    i think Luuk should play as a CF , he is a very good striker with excellent technique and can move everywhere on the pitch , not as static as Huntelaar .
    Persie on the right side would be fantastic .

    tbh , I don’t think we can win the Turkey game . A draw is not bad imo since it is the most difficult game in the group . we can beat them later in their home when we have a better team and a consistent group of players.

  53. Mohamed:

    Drop Narsingh? Are you insane? He has been consistently good in the short time he’s played in Oranje and he’s the top assist guy in Eredivisie. With him on the right and Robben on the left we have a much more stronger attacking force.

    1. I think Wijnaldum , persie are better optionson the right side . Robben , elia and John are better on the left .
      he is a good player but unfortunatly we have 5 better players in his position .

      1. You didn’t even really respond. You didn’t even bother to state WHY those 5 players are better, when, as OhYeah stated, Narsingh had the top assists in the last Eredivisie playing for a subtop team, and he has had outstanding performances for Oranje so far. He has been a lot more successful in the few appearances he has had than many more established players; LVG called him up for a reason.

        And I don’t know if you saw the last few Oranje games that Elia played, but he was absolutely dreadful.

  54. Glad we are playing some young guys–now is the time to experiment. Of course the back four needs to get better. What about the midfield? I’m beginning to think that Sneijder is a problem: He doesn’t not have a great work rate anymore, I don’t think–Edgar Davids, he is not–and seems indifferent about defense. Good with the ball in attacking half–but what’s he giving us otherwise? That’s a problem. DeJong is another issue.

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