Match Preview Spain – Oranje: Tapas time!!!

This is to tell you a bit about our first opponent, Spain.

Spain is a country in the south-west of ….of screw it!! You know who they are! Where they are! What they are! What they can do!

Hell, we taught them all they know… The likes of Michels, Cruyff, Beenhakker, Metgod, Hiddink, Neeskens, Koeman, Muller, Witschge, Cocu, De Boer, Afellay!!

The whole tiki-taka is a Dutch abbreviation of tik tak football. We say in Dutch “tik tak” if we mean pass and play. Tiki Taka is probably Cruyff’s way of explaining things in Spanish.

So Real Madrid was this powerhouse in the 50s and 60s and in the 1970s Barca tried to take the reign and for a long time they did very well in Europe with their clubs. Real, Barca, Sociedad, Valencia, Deportivo…. But the Spanish national team never really set the world on fire, like Uruguay, Hungary, England, Holland, Brazil and Germany did… They won the first European Championship in 1964 and repeated that consecutively in 2008 and 2012, which is quite good. But in World Cup terms, they were chokers. In 1982, they hosted the Cup but failed to impress under coach Santamaria. They were knocked out in the second round. They did fair much better in 1986 or 1994. In the 2002 World Cup, one could have expected Spain to beat South Korea but in a controversial match, South Korea beat the Spaniards on penalties.


Some people believe Luis Aragones was the inventor of tiki taka and it originated purely because in the mid naughties, Spain had a suspect defence. And the ball in possession in midfield strategy meant the defence would not be put under much pressure… We know better. Johan Cruyff and later Louis van Gaal will have done more for Spanish football than Aragones and the use of two former JC proteges as Barca coaches ( Rijkaard and Guardiola) will have added to this.

Historically, Spain always produced good players. Every generation had at least a number of above average lads although Barca and Real tended to find their star performers across the border. From Puskas and Di Stefano to Cruyff, Neeskens and Laudrup, to C Ronaldo and Bale to Messi and Neymar, but the Spanish squad currently is overflowing with talent and quality. The youngsters keep on going (not unlike the Dutch development) and this is probably the biggest issue coach Del Bosque has. Will he go for the more experienced lads that got him the two recent titles (2010 and 2012) or will he break down the existing hierarchy – like Van Gaal was forced to do – and select some young turks to keep the team fresh.

There is a risk in both scenarios and we will see what the man comes up with.

oranje jesus

I think we will see Del Bosque play with Cesc as false striker. Iniesta and Villa from the flanks. I wouldn’t be surprised if Xavi starts on the bench, with Xabi Alonso centrally with Busquets and David Silva in midfield. A defence of Alba, Juanfran, Pique and Sergio Ramos. Although Javi Hernandez might get the nod over Pique. And I think Van Gaal will be playing 4-5-1 when Spain has possession and 4-1-4-1 in possession. I also believe we’ll see Clasie in our line up, as the little Xavi from Rotterdam has the feet to match the combination play in the tight spaces of Spain.

What can one say about this Spanish side. Oozing quality. Unbelievable quality. Mata, Corzola, Silva, Torres, Hernandez…just some names of players who might not even play. And then there is Michu and Isco who were left at home. To name a few players.

oranje salvador

Spanish media have tried to create unrest in the Dutch team with stories of Oranje players living it up in the Rio night life. And claiming that Dirk Kuyt was actually involved in that. This rumour didn’t stick. If it was Depay, Fer and Wijnaldum one could have believed it but Kuyt and Robben would be the last players you’d expect to samba the night away :-). Van Gaal laughed it off.

Still, Holland’s golden triangle of Robben, Robin and Wes is seriously feared in Spain. And with reason.

I believe Holland will beat them with a shock 3-0 scoreline. Why? Because Spain is tired. And a little bit lacking desire. Real desire. Most of the players had a big season, with most even playing the CL finals. As C Ronaldo, Reus, Wellbeck and Van der Vaart can testify: the international football calendar is long. Spain doesn’t want to be put to the test this first game. They like to start a little bit relaxed. The big guns want to keep their powder dry. But Holland might only have 3 games to shine and Holland will be super ambitious and driven in that first game. Spain might see Holland as a nasty mosquito on their way to bigger game. While Holland will view the first game vs Spain as the finals!

So we will go out there and chase them all over the park from the first second and Spain won’t know what hurt them. I predict a goal in the first 20 minutes, with Arjen Robben being involved. I foresee a second goal before half time with Van Persie involved. And when Spain fights back with Costa in the second half, it will be a cool counter attack led by Sneijder allowing Oranje to finish Spain off! Just my feeling. And as I am the blog king here, I can delete this forecast during the game if things turn sour.

The ref is Italian. If I’m not mistaken, none of the Spanish players have a history in the Serie A. In the Dutch team, both Sneijder and De Jong have played in Italy and have encountered Rizzoli and speak the language. Could be a plus.


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  1. It is about to start. Brazil players were walking down the tunnel like they were heading to a battle of life and death. TOOO much pressure on them. I hope they choke.

    1. Jan!! Seriously 3-0??? You got to be kidding me! I hv been a huge supporter of the Netherlands since I was kid and always been with them! I remember in one of your blogs for the Euro 2012, u were like oh fear not if we cant be Denmark, we can bt Germany and Portugal! Trust me I would like to see Oranje win 3-0! But, I would still prefer to keep my feet on the ground and have unnecessary/unrealistic expectations. I really want them to go far in the tournament! I wouldn’t be too overconfident!

        1. I agree with you they need to win. We need to avoid playing Brazil in the next round. Let Spain deal with them! Heck I would be happy with just 1-0. But, we really need a miracle!

      1. Same here – to win 3-0 would be incredible but is about as likely as Cruyff saying he is wrong about something. It just won’t happen.

        If we get a draw against Spain I’ll be satisfied.

    1. They should have coaching challenges–say, one a half–in football tournaments (WC, Regional championships like Euro, Champions League, etc), meaning controversial BS calls like that “penalty” would be reviewed by judges via TV replays and then overruled. Not just bad but HORRIBLE referring decisions, not to mention blatant FIFA corruption, really take the fun out of WC for me.

  2. Once again, the problem comes from the croatian players according to me. Same for Ajax against Balotelli etc.

    As long as they don’t show real anger or boycott the game, it will be like that EVERY YEAR, and people will keep buying their tickets in the stadium.

      1. They should just stop playing and boycott the game like they do when people throw bananas etc.

        There are some croatian fans who worked the whole year to allow themselves to go to Brazil and support their team, now they have to deal with such conditions. It’s just unacceptable.

        That’s also one of the reason why I don’t consider myself as fan anymore, I don’t want my mood and emotions to depend on the fifa cheating…

  3. 3-0 is a bold prediction. I’ll be happy with 1-0.

    Rizzoli is a strict ref and while that probably gives Spain a bit of an advantage if we have a defensive focus, it may help us with respect to players like Ramos and Koke, if he is on the pitch (he gets away with a lot in the Spanish league). The good news is that he is experienced and will be less likely to fall for tricks or dives.

  4. Laurent, I am with you on that one. Absolutely disgraceful. Let’s not forget that without that BS Balotelli PK Ajax would have advanced to the round of 16 in the CL. The only positive in all this is that Brazil used its joker card in the first game. Now the entire FIFA referee body will be watching closely.
    But I agree with Jan, these kinds of disgusting calls sour my mood. Let’s hope our boys can do it tomorrow.

  5. Just ridiculous, these decisions are too obviously biased to the host nation. I can forgive the penalty just about – it’s a terrible decision, however I can see the referee feeling the need to give it in such an atmosphere, but then Croatia scored a fantastic equaliser which is disallowed for no reason.

    This has put a real damper on my excitement for this world cup.

    On the plus side,I saw very little to fear from Brazil (aside from their home advantage and whatever referring benefits that brings with it..!).

    1. in wc hockey you get a video referral, such a breather from all this unfairness.

      You get 1 request to refer to the videoreferee, if you get it right, you keep the request and can use it again. If you get it wrong, you lose it. When watching this in practice right now it feels so fair (also no complaints from fans after the match, it’s all so clear, you don’t even blame the referees when they make a mistake anymore, no feeling of anger towards them whatsoever, cause the request is made, the ref is corrected by the videoref, and play on, good feelings all around).

      1. Yes, this is what football needs–at least one coaching challenge a half: if you lose the decision in a first half challenge, that is your last for that half, but if you get the decision than you still have one more. Replay challenges work well in the NFL and also now pro baseball and even hockey. Football tournaments need this badly because there are simply too many outrageously bad calls. All the work and trouble to get to the WC and you get screwed by some absurd penalty call–enough of this Fifa crap.

  6. Honestly, knowing this kind of thing could happen, explain to me what the Croatian defender was doing in the six yard box with his hand on Fred’s shoulder? That is plain stupid.

    As for the disallowed goal, sorry, man, but you can’t put your head in between the goalie’s hands to prevent him from getting the ball;-)

    1. If every time someone from the defending team put a hand on the attacker’s shoulder in the penalty box, a 11m penalty shot would be given, every game would have a score in the double digits.

      Think about it. Do you think Croatia would’ve gotten the penalty if the situation had been reversed?

      1. Of course not, and the referee decision was obviously clear.

        Just like the balotelli penalty against Ajax, the referee didn’t immediatly whistle, he waited a little moment, and brutally did.

        Like if he was waiting for the a moment where he could do it, and thought that it should be this one.

      2. You are missing the point. Of course no penalty is usually given when this happens, except when the decision could favor the appropriate side. IMHO, this is why the defender should smarten up and not do anything that could lead to a (admittedly very controversial) penalty…

    2. Sure, if the goalie has the ball you can’t disposses him, but Caesar did not hold the ball, he didn’t reach it. The Croatian player challenged for the ball fairly with his head and got to it first.

      From the replay it looked pretty clear that Caesar just didn’t get to it.

  7. Xavi, who made his debut in 1998 under Van Gaal: “I love Van Gaal. I have warm memories of working with him. He trusted me 100% and always told me he had total faith in my capabilities. I owe much to him.”

  8. Louis van Gaal:

    “The jersey number 1 to 11 will start. De Guzman is 100% fit and Clasie will start on the bench. We might have some nervous lads in the squad and I want to focus on them now. The rest is all done. We should be ready.”

    “Our goal is to get to the final four. I think we can. But we need to have everything click for that. As we are an outsider. But I do believe in it and we will do what we can to get there.”

    Van Gaal: “The finals of 2010 was a manly game. I don’t think Oranje was too aggressive. You play on the edge and sometimes you cross it. It is the role of the ref to deal with that.”

    Robben, on the toe of Casillas (fifth question at the press conference): “Wow, it took 5 questions for you to get there? Well, what can I say. That was then, this is now. The toe was a bad moment in my career. Careers have good and bad moments. That’s basically it.”

    Van Gaal: “Spanish football is the best there is today. We will need to take risk. But we are good enough to take them.”

    Van Gaal: “I am immensely impressed with the mentality and intensity of this squad. They are all very eager. A joy to work with them.”

    Van Gaal: “We have planned a number of fun activities. We intend to be here 5 weeks so you want to do a bit more than just watch and play football.”

    Van Gaal: “I will not discuss individual players. “Helaas Pindakaas””
    Robben, to the translator: “Translate that!”

    ( For you guys: it is literally: bad luck peanut butter. But it doesn’t rhyme in English)

  9. Its no use crying here as it is always the same story ….the bigger team always are given the benefit of doubt by the referees. It has always been and it will always be like this accordingly and thats how you have to play .Im sure in the Video Analysis those decisons will be picked up but then again the match has been already been decided.

    I loved the pace at which Brazil was playing when they were 1-0 down jus before the Neymar scored. That speed died when they came out of the tunnel after half time. the midfield for croatia was good and they picked up posession in the the second half with Rakitic. Unfortuntalei they forwards let them down Jelevic especily…..I dont why Manduzkic never started the game. But at the end of the game Brazil had too much depth in the squad which Oscar proved with th icing on the cake.

  10. Orange shirts just came in.. World Cup officially started and my life wil be put on halt for 5 weeks inshallah. I have faith in Van Gaal and this team. Will be watching with a large spanish crowd tomorrow. Lets hope i can piss of some spanish people tomorrow…! Hup Holland!!

  11. The oddsmakers right now have Holland at 12-1 odds to win. That’s just remarkable, and rather insulting. Spain is at 17/20, just under even odds. Time to earn back some respect.

    1. Odds not in our favour could work in our favour. With the corruption being what it is we will win to line some Brazilians pocket when they bet on Holland.

  12. Wow… Whether we play Brazil or Croatia in the second round… It will not be an easy game… Croatia are legit and Brazil play with the crowd, referee and 11 actors!!!

    I say we win tomorrow 2-1.. Robben scores both. Spain with a late consolation goal.

  13. Van Gaal announced tmrw’s starting 11: Cillessen,Blind,Indi,Vlaar,De Vrij,Janmaat,Nigel De Jong, Sneijder,Robben, Van Persie.
    Seems like he is pretty confident.

    1. I think you are missing deGuzman. Per Jan, quoting our coach: “The jersey number 1 to 11 will start. De Guzman is 100% fit and Clasie will start on the bench. We might have some nervous lads in the squad and I want to focus on them now. The rest is all done. We should be ready.”

      1. I hope that Van Gaal knows what he’s doing with this. Playing De Guzman is the only question mark with LVG’s plans to stifle the Spaniards and Chileans, as I think Blind in the MF and calling up another LB (PVA?) would have been a better choice, but hopefully I’m wrong. I can see the logic and vision with the 5-3-2 but I still don’t rate him highly (and not because I’m Canadian… well, maybe that’s partly why). Oh if only our midfield wasn’t ravaged by injuries.

        On to the Spaniards!

      2. I agree that we shouldn’t play an 80% fit DeGuzman, or any other player recovering from injury, if we have other options. Why not save him for the next two games, which will be more forgiving? We could opt to play Clasie or Fer instead vs. Spain, or even Wijnaldum although he plays more offensive.

  14. Veloo interested in Maskaant as their coach.
    New Castle after Castaignos.
    Van Der Haart rented to Go Ahead Eagles.
    Hereenven after Jordan Botaka.
    Verbeek rented to Utrecht.
    Man United interested in bidding 7m for Siem De Jong.
    Napoli after Wijnaldum and Maher.
    Veldwijk 1.35m(after reaching all the motivation clauses) to Nottingham Forest.
    Everton after Lens and De Vrij.
    Joran Pot free transfer to Excelsoir 31.

  15. Again referee crapped all the game out. I feel Brazil every game will be playing with 13 players: 11 footballists + audience +ref. Not sure whether it is the first game, but Brazil was very unimpressive. Croatia lacked quality. Let’s see what Dutch will do tomorrow. I hope the prediction of our blogger is correct

  16. Beyond the referee gifts to Brazil, I think Brazil didn’t impress me. Their defense, one of the best on the world in the paper, was weak. I think a team who plays with faster wings can hurt them.

    also this team depends a lot on Oscar.

  17. @AZ Forever….. but Brazil was unimpressive…. Bro I think you were watching another game. Oscar and Neymars first goal were world class goal with the keeper smelling the grass. as for the refree yeah it was contrivesal but again Croatia have themselves to blame they were always caught offguard on counter attacks and that why they conceeded goals. either way it would have been 2-1 if not for that penaltly and as for that foul on Juluis Cesar it was a 50 -50 call, the keepers are always protected in their box and Olic did seems to have slighly learned on Juluis Cesar when both of them went up for the challenge.

    1. quote: “either way it would have been 2-1”

      no, it probably wouldn’t, last goal was a countergoal because Croatia took risks to get an equalizer, which wouldn’t have happened at 1-1.

      As usual, referee gets the last word and determins the outcome of the game, not football quality. WC hockey is much better and more enjoyable. Can’t remember a single bad moment refereeing wise in that tournament, every bad call gets challenged, videoref settles the matter, everybody is happy, fans, players, organizers and referees. Nobody is blamed, nobody is suspicious of match-fixing or bias, referees are respected (and forgiven for being human, i.e. making mistakes). Players and fans alike aren’t left with a sour taste (if I were a Brazilian fan I’d have a pretty sour taste in my mouth after yesterday, just like if I were a Spanish fan 4 years ago, an Italian fan 8 years ago, a South Korean fan 12 years ago, a French fan 16 years ago, a Brazilian fan 20 years ago, don’t remember what help the Germans got in 1990 but I’m sure they got some, it would fit the pattern of recent decades).

      1. what I mean with that last bit is that it just feels way better when you totally outplay your opponents and win that way rather than needing favorable calls or other advantageous events that aren’t directly related to football (such as someone getting food poisoning just before the final, or giving headbutts when they are retiring anyway and any kind of retirement fund would be welcomed and their reputation as a player isn’t that important to maintain because of that retirement anyway and other such convenient bonusses).

      2. and that’s talking from the experience of how our hockey women totally outclassed Argentina (nr.2 in the world) on all fronts in the semi-final, I’m sure that victory tastes way better for the players than Brazil (nr.1 favorite) needing referee help vs Croatia (nr. 18 on Fifa ranking).

    2. you actually get a good feeling from the whole experience when a ref makes a bad call in a hockey match and gets corrected by the videoreferee. Not only do you get the great sense of vindication if its in your favor, you get a great sense of fairness if its not in your favor and it’s hockey that’s doing the talking.

      And when the fieldref and the videoref are working together like that (sometimes the fieldref will ask for an opinion from the videoref themselves) you get a great sense of good teamwork, you respect them as well rather than your mind getting stuck on the earlier mistake.

    3. I think the call concerning Cesar and the Croatian ‘goal’ was correct though.

      But by then it was too late anyway, I had already switched the channel. Not gonna watch this. Like it’s so hard to introduce video referral, pfff, nope, they clearly are not that interested in fairness. You’d think though that they’d have some concerns regarding entertainment value, but apparently, I should look at the fans that didn’t switch to another channel yesterday if I want to find out if that entertainment value will ever be affected and in turn cause the organizers and rulemakers to act (or at least bat an eye).

    4. Both goals were conceded because of goalkeeper’s mistakes. I did not see anything world class in those goals. Sorry, but this is my personal opinion. At least I expected more from Brazil rather than that boring performance. With respect to Croatia, they did what they are capable of doing.

  18. As I have mentioned this before its disputing too see how Brazil always utilize Fred upfront even though his contribution and work rate is minimally average. Apart from that fake penalty falling he was very quite but yet he was not subbed. I think very much like Huntelaar he knows how to get goals.

  19. For those who claim that Brazil was not impressive (which I relativly agree with), you also have to consider that croatian midfield is arguably among the 5 best in the world.

    Kovacic-Rakitic-Modric, that’s top class. Inter-Barcelona-Real.Rakitic definitly impressed me today, quick mind and quick feet.

    Brazil was playing with Gustavo-Paulihno, technically that’s not high. Two defensive players. That’s why Brazil played less good than Croatia in the ball possession in my opinion. Could be better with Fernandinho-Ramires.

    But let’s be honest, I guess dutch midfielders would also run behind the ball if they have to play against Croatia.

    1. the back passing didnt help either for Croatia….while on the other hand Neymar and Oscar were penetrating hardcore….. Croatians were very cautious IMO their forwards let them down generally. when there started coming up with first time crosses the forwards were no where to be seen Thats where Mandzukic was missed alot considering the number of headed goals he has scored for Bayern.

  20. i feel croatian gk could have done better with neymers first goal had he positioned well,it was an unexpected goal for Neymar.i hope cillesen positions well vs any teams,my prediction was 2-0 but it went on 3-1..its ok though.
    What worries me the most is speed of Neymar,oscar etc even Marcelo and Alves,they would be schooling our turtles.

    1. why would you be so offensive?

      these are our heroes and you call them names like turtles.

      it is the world cup.

      if you cannot show even the smallest hint of respect to our nation, at least show some excitement for the tournament.

      or just go away. that would be better for everyone. thanks.

  21. My quetions?
    How many back passes croatia did????and how often they did??
    i hope daley blind watches this,Funny thing is Marcelo is a defender and he is more creative than our attacker kuyt.

  22. Other thing also to consider here that Del Bosque has already come across the difficulties of countering 5-3-2 formation which his side experienced in breaking down Italy’s 3-5-2 in group stages of Euro 2012 when they employed a false nine. So he is very much aware of what to expect formation wise and that’s where he will have a upper hand than Van Gaal.

  23. In my view, all of Brazil’s creativity is out wide — wings and outside backs. The center of their team is not at all exceptional.

    Today they did not look like a team that could win the tournament

      1. That’s actually a pretty interesting chart. And perhaps I wasn’t quite clear in my comment. I didn’t mean to suggest that Brazil was a traditional crossing team, only that their real talent lies in their wide positions — Neymar, Alves, Marcelo, even Hulk. It is from this players that their creative spark seems to occur. Perhaps I’m just shortchanging Oscar, but that’s really what I see watching them. In fact, Neymar actually reminds me a little bit of Robben 🙂

  24. It’ll be a draw: Spain will get 2 penalties and Oranje will get 2 red cards. At least with the following game they can get their hopes back up.

  25. Jan, I’m with you 3-0!

    And for all you Sneijder doubters this past yr…watch closely.
    Lets hope his teammates can keep up with his current pace!
    Hup Holland Hup!

  26. Righto lads it’s time for positive energy only for our Dutch warriors, Laurent, Tju, Wilson I’m talking to you! If we lose I’m sure you’ll come up with all the analytical BS you can muster and if they win I guess you will all remain silent, (who am I kidding)!
    I for one am with Jan, 3-0 sounds great 1 or 2 will do but 3 would be very sweet. Spain are ripe for the taking and cocky to boot, I just saw a sound grab of Scolari arrogantly dismissing the Dutch along with every other team in the tournament, I hope this confidence works against them and that they don’t get through the group, in fact I would be so happy if Australia beat them, they can have Tika Taka the Aussies have balls and heart which might just work for them.
    As for Brasil – Home advantage in a country on the verge of self destruction, they will get a rails run to the final!

    Hup Holland!

    1. I’ll be happy if Holland win, I especially want Janmaat to have a good game and to make the world to discover him. I rate him much higher than the other dutch “talents”.

      I’ll write here whatever the result is, the problem is that I wonder what will say Goldstone and the troll number one if the “negative” analysis I have for long months become true.

      And let’s all to see what Cillessen will do, I’m very pessimistic about him.

      1. Wahhhh Wahhhhh

        go cry some more, racist retard.

        your amateur analysis is the running joke of this site, or do you not yet notice us ALL laughing in your face??


        i hope you do continue to write here.
        because we need the entertainment – and watching goldstone and the troll kick your butt is our daily pleasure, einstein! hehehehe!

      2. OK, Laurent. You offered a deal once. I’ll take it:

        If we don’t get out of the group stage, I won’t post here anymore… just as you said that if Holland DID get out of the group stage, you wouldn’t post anymore.

        That’s because I’m a fan of Dutch football. And you’re not, as you’ve said so often before.

        If we win, you will pack up and spare all the fans your cloud of doom. On your honor.

        If we fail, you and tiju can simply continue your reign of terror, without worrying that I’ll be here to correct you occasionally. 😉

        It’s on.

  27. aaahhh can’t wait, too excited to sleep! Well broken down as always Jan and feeling great about this “four years in the making” rematch.

    Definitely could be a plus, as it’s also known that Spaniards and Italians don’t really get along, still though, should be concerned about putting the ball over the line, defending well and concentrating hard. No Webb, means that we do have a chance, and as you well put in a previous article, as long as we don’t do something harsh, get away with it, to be penalized for the rest of the match.

    Oranje on Oranje, Orjane everything! First European nation to take the cup in South America!

  28. Hello guys.
    Well , Fifa intentions are pretty clear after only one game in the WC.
    I would have preferred Clasie to start but I am sure LvG has his reasons , so let’s hope we will make it tonight. I couldn’t sleep 🙂 .
    I also agree with Laurent. Croatia has a top class midfield , although I have to say they don’t have a holding midfielder , a point that should be used against them by a good tactician like LvG.
    Generally , I would prefer to face this Brazil team anytime over Croatia , but I know how FIFA will manage to make Brazil win , which may not be the case against Croatia.
    Hup Oranje Hup .

  29. @ van banger………To be honest Im jus not happy with van gaal and his selection. Knowing that the loopholes exist but yet you wanna take the risk…thats jus absurd man….its jus like gambling and thats what Van Gaal is doing. Win or lose there will always be criticms. We have already talked about how the coaches have made crucial mistakes in the past and how it has affected the team. So lets see how it goes tomorrow.

    and as for the bullshit…yes that would be Blind, De Vrij and Van Gaal

  30. This world cup is not about the line up, its about reserves in the bench who can make the difference. And our bench is not bad, all the support for van gaal and his tactics, i believe in him

  31. Croatia where not good in second half, they where out of form, may be because of weather, this an alert for all european teams facing south american and african teams. I expect brazil games agains mexico and cameron will be harder.

  32. Blood pressure and pulse going up with every passing day. It’s about to reach the peak tonight.

    I don’t know what to expect to be honest. Van Gaal is one hell of a coach, we have a pretty decent squad with some A+ level players, but then again the Spain we are facing is probably one of the most talented teams in football ever. Even if they are not that mentally driven to win another trophy, their sheer professionalism and raw skill can still get them job done.

    I’m hoping for a draw (0-0). Honestly I will not even dream of winning.

  33. A draw for me, would be great. 1, 2, or 3-0 would be better of course.

    I think that the 2 matches after this one are winnable, so getting through this match unscathed would be the key – finishing first or second in the group doesn’t really matter ’cause if you want to be the best you have to beat the best, even if the host nation has the officials in their pockets…

    Should be a fun few weeks – enjoy the match today everyone!

  34. I can’t understand the idea of “let’s beat Spain to avoid Brasil”. Any team that beats Spain can beat Brasil … imo Spain are much better and still the best team in the world by far. Unless they prove to be de-motivated and not thirsty for success any more … which I very much doubt.

    1. I totally agree. One can never get enough of being again the best in the World. The argument that Spain are not motivated enough is, softly speaking, very unreasonable one. The question is who going to stop “Invincible Armada”?

  35. Bed time for me 10.30 pm over here in Australia. Alarm set for 4.30am but I’ll be surprised if I’ll sleep at all. See you all when I wake up… Lets all keep positive it’s nearly time for redemption

  36. People really fear Brazil fans and riots and teams too.Everyone are scared i think…thats why teams wanted to avoid brazil.Croatia would have won the match with bit luck,Neymar was surprised that his shot went in.

  37. Alistair,

    here is a brief translation that Google_Translate did for me:

    ” Netherlands has always produced great footballers. Arjen Robben is one of them. Under Louis van Gaal plays Robin van Persie is very good.

    The relationship with Van Gaal has a major influence on the players. “When I was coach, I had a very good relationship with Javier Mascherano . He is a footballer who thinks and leads the team in midfield. He is not as talented as Lionel Messi , but he exudes a lot of respect. ”
    “Such a strong relationship between player and coach, you do not see often. Such a relationship is built on through various factors. The key remains the time they spend together. A coach and captain should be long enough together to to build a good relationship. Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff were at their time inseparable. Nowadays you do not see that much more, “concluded Maradona.

      1. 🙂

        No, in Elfvoetbal, the titles of the articles not always correspond to the content. Most people do not read entire article, they just scan the titles only….

  38. I’m getting nervous as it gets closer to the game.

    I am keeping faith though.

    Quick thoughs:

    1. Janmaat will be a HUGE HIT for this WC. Then goes to Arsenal after the WC is over.

    2. Whether we win, lose or draw against Spain we will still beat Chile and Australia and thus make it into the round of 16.

    3. Van Persie will have his best major tournament for us.

    4. Robben will show once and for all that he is the 3rd best football player in the world (behind Messi and Ronald).

    5. De Guzman will show that I am not a fool for rating him so highly.

    6. Cillessen will fail miserably (actually I hope he doesn’t..for our sake).

  39. Let’s keep faith on Cillessen. I personally rely on van Gaal’s wisdom and if he has chosen Cillessen over Krul then he has a reason that is hidden for all of us….

  40. Re: yesterday game Croatia keeper was horrible. He had his hands in all 3 goals and couldn’t stop the ball. 1 and 3 goals were scrappy shots with the ball bouncing a hundred times before reaching the goal. I thought Pletikosa was a good keeper.
    Fingers crossed today. A draw would be a good score. A win would be fantastic. Hopefully the referee will try “to fix” yesterday’s blunders with a few calls going our way. Will see.

    1. so 4-2-3-1 with a clear striker. If they will be playing with up to 8 players in the attacking half, they will be in trouble.. I don’t think will commit too many players forward as they don’t want to risk losing this game.

  41. Is this the WC where FIFA will crumble?
    2 legitimate goals refused for Mexico (1 can be justified with an offside, the other was a dead certian goal!)

    They want to imptove the goal difference of Brazil!

      1. Horrible refereeing. Many missed card worthy tackles as well. I have to say I am impressed with Mexico. This not near the crappy team they had during qualifications.

  42. Franz Backenbaur Suspended for 90 in relation to the bribery investigation going on related to Qatar 2022. Apparently, he refused to cooperate with investigators!!!

    1. Must be from Tilburg going by the accent and the “houdoe en bedankt” t-shirt. Not very pc, there at the end, but still fun and a true fan as he talks about travelling to matches in Turkey and Estonia.

  43. Wow, it’s finally here.

    Not expecting a win, but if we can at least get a draw, it will do wonders for us in this group.

    Good luck to our boys.

  44. finally Blind proves his worth, lol. Man we had to wait long for his first contribution (allthough there were some signs in the last match, or was that the match vs Ghana, the match where he showed up for one half and then thought he’d done enough apparently cause we didn’t see much from him in the 2nd half).

    That’s exactly what I’m hoping for now from our guys, not to think they’ve done enough.

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