Edgar Davids on Memory lane: World Cup 1998

The 1994 World Cup was a bit of a disappointment. Losing against the later winner sort of is a bandaid for the wound as the Dutch expression goes, but we didn’t have to lose that game as that particular Brazil was not that good. Or so we told ourselves…

After Advocaat, the nation wanted someone else and Guus Hiddink – of PSV Europa Cup fame – took the helm. His master class of learning was the EC1996 in England. A disastrous campaign, although it wasn’t so much an Oranje issue but an Ajax problem, Hiddink inherited.

But Hiddink learned fast. He took the right decision by sending Davids home and restoring order. More importantly he selected the right support team for the World Cup, inviting Rijkaard as assistant (who had a good feel of what the coloured Oranje players needed), Neeskens (all around good coach and Oranje legend) and Ronald Koeman.

The team Hiddink worked with in England showed quite some promise. Bergkamp, of course. Cocu. Seedorf. Davids. Players who developed and grew over the years and with the likes of Kluivert, Van Hooijdonk, Zenden and De Boer became quite a mature team.

Qualifying was easy. Hiddink finished first in a group with Belgium, Wales, San Marino and Turkey scoring 28 times in 8 games.

Holland was – as usual – seen as a potential winner of this World Cup. Although the usual suspects France (home country), Brazil and Germany were rated as high or higher.

The first game of the tournament for Holland was versus Belgium. The arch enemy of the Dutch. Hiddink started that game in a 4-4-2, the system he played with PSV and leaving Bergkamp on the bench. Goal machine Hasselbaink played next to Kluivert. We played them twice in the qualifications and we expected to beat them again in this first group game. But we didn’t. We lost. Not the game, as it ended in 0-0 but we lost Patrick Kluivert, who allowed himself to be provoked by Staelens and copped the red card.

The other opponents in the group seemed doable, with South Korea and Mexico as underdogs, but the latter was known to be a tough and pretty good opponent.

South Korea appeared an easy target and Hiddink must have made his name there, against Bum Kun Cha’s team. Holland won 5-0 in an impressive display with an outstanding Ronald de Boer and Phillip Cocu. Apart from them two on the score sheet, it was Overmars, Bergkamp – who started, and Pierre van Hooijdonk who relieved Dennis after 80 minutes.

With that performance, the world started to pay attention. A bit. As South Korea was not yet a force to reckon with. Next up Mexico. A fascinating albeit frsutrating game, with Oranje scoring twice very early in the game and seemed ready to take Mexico out altogether but the Mexicans fought back! They were no Mexican’ts… No gringo, they scored two late goals and secured a draw.

In the first knock out round, Oranje faced Yugoslavia. A dangerous opponent. Traditionally, a team full of highly skilled players and a football nation with an impressive pedigree. This Yugoslavia was getting a little bit older but was still impressive with names like Stojkovic, Savicevic, Mijatovic, Mihajovic and Stojkovic… All players employed by teams like Lazio Roma, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Sampdoria, to name a few. It was a tight match. Tough. A real battle. With even Dennis Bergkamp joining in the festivities… He scored the first for Holland but quickly in the second half the game was drawn. Yugoslavia gets to take a penalty and Oranje is lucky to escape when Mihjatovic rattles the woodwork. Oranje’s man of the tournament Edgar Davids scored the winner with a distance strike in the last minute of the game and that is when you know you have a chance to go all the way. Because that is having the luck of the champions…

In the quarter finals we met one of the favourites for the title, Argentina. And what a team it was: Batistuta, Veron, Ortega, Diego Simeone (yes him), Roberto Ayala, Zanetti (yes him) and coached by legend Danielle Passarella… In Marseille we took them on in a match that had it all. Great football, good goals, drama and red cards, balls on the post and a late winner. Probably one of the most amazing goals in the history of Dutch football.

Instead of my trying to explain what happened: watch this.

Only two games to go… Brazil in the semi finals and most likely France in the finals. Mario Zagalo’s team was having some problems. They didn’t play their usual creative game and gambled on Ronaldo’s brilliance. The young Inter and former PSV players almost succumbed under the pressure but scored the 1-0 against Oranje right after the break. Up to then, Holland (De Boer and Stam) were able to keep him from scoring but as per usual he found the net in his typical opportunistic style.

Holland outplayed Brazil in the second half and it seemed a matter of time for Oranje to score. Hiddink brought a midfielder for a defender in the 56th minute (Winter for Reiziger) and Van Hooijdonk replaced Bolo Zenden in the 75th minute (Zenden played for the injured Overmars). Van Hooijdonk deserved to get a penalty late in the extra time, after Kluivert had scored a massive header to equalise but referee Buljsaim ignored the push in the tall Forest player’s back and allowed the game to be played on.

1-1 after 120 minutes and a new penalty drama would ensue. After Zweden (1992) and England (1996), it would be Brazil (not known to be great penalty takers of stoppers for that matter) and goalie Taffarel would end up being the hero of the night. Frank de Boer and Bergkamp would score their penalties. But Phillip Cocu and Ronald de Boer would miss while all Brazilians scored theirs. With Kluivert and Van Hooijdonk on the pitch, one wonders what would have happened if these two would have taken the penalties, as one would expect….

Oranje played a last game, the little finals for the 3rd place, against Croatia, but in all honesty, I never even watched that game. I did see the Zenden goal, which was quite a special one. I also remember how his celebrations failed…

Despite not winning it (yet again) Hiddink did manage to garner a lot of credit for his work and Oranje is hailed as champions when they return. And Guus ends up signing a big deal with Real Madrid, while Cocu, the De Boer bros, Jaap Stam and Sar made nice transfers to other clubs.

Edgar Davids was the man of the tournament for many. He was the bad seed in 1996, sent home. But in 1998 he cuddled his coach in front of millions watching. The press-shy pitbull spoke once, recently, about the 1998 World Cup and what it meant to him.

Edgar Davids 2010

In 1996 Oranje failed. In 1998, Oranje impressed. With the same coach and practically the same players? How was that possible?

“It wasn’t expected I suppose. I played at Juve and people asked me “what are the Dutch going to do?”.. We were known as the imploding team. We had issues in 1990 and 1994 and then with me in 1996. But we made good agreements. We learned from that. We decided to check our egos at the door and go hard for the team and each other. We were all very proud. We wanted to show the world what we could do. And it was a tremendous tournament. The best time at Oranje ever, for me. The coaches had developed more, the players were more mature and lots of us played at European top clubs. The mix was ideal between shrewdness, youthful optimism, skills, experience and grit. We really wanted to wipe out the 1996 experience. What also helped, was that everything off pitch was really well organised. We had a lot of free time. The balance between work and play was good. And we had an amazing hotel just close to Monte Carlo, close to the Mediterranean. It was superb.”

A lot of improvements versus 1996?

“Well for me, yes…key things. The food options were better and we could use our own physios. For players, that is crucial. Hiddink was smart like that. And he didn’t want offend the KNVB so he rented rooms in a hotel next door, hahaha. That is where the so-called non-KNVB physios stayed. Also, Johan Neeskens was assistant coach and that was special for me. As a kid, he was my hero. And to train with him was just amazing.”

You insulted Hiddink in 1996 and told him he was unfair and biased. He banned you from representative football. Did that hurt?

“To be honest? At first, it didn’t. I had more time for myself. The qualification games can be horrific. Flying to Helsinki or Minsk or Malta… Playing on a bad pitch against players who are out to hurt you. But when the World Cup came on the horizon I started to feel the itch… Hans Jorritsma was instrumental. He arranged a meeting in Italy. I told him: “Beautiful words aren’t always true. And true words aren’t alway beautiful”. That struck a chord with him. Since then we were good.”

How do you look back on that incident now?

“We had a difference in culture and age groups in England. I think that this new generation deserved to play. We were better. And the better players need to play. I would have said something now again if I was in that situation. But I would have said it differently, hahahaha.”

edje zine

How was it to comeback into the group.

“Awkward. There was a lot of media and some players were a bit distant. But after half a day, all is normal. It depends how you perform, really. If you play well, you’re accepted. Easy as.”

You started on the bench against Belgium. But against South Korea we saw a very proud man listening to the anthem.

“I have always been super proud to be part of the Dutch national team.”

And then you ended up in the Team of the World Cup.

“When I arrived at Oranje I said: I am here for one reason only. To play top football and win that cup, hahahahaha.”

And in the knock out stages, you score the winner against Yugoslavia…

“Now that is a little boy’s dream eh? Scoring at the World Cup is superb but scoring the winner is super superb. And to score so late just after they missed a penalty. I was going nuts. We could have been sent home there and then you know?”

And then there was that touching embrace at the side line?

“Hahahaha, I never intended that. It just happened. But it’s good when two people get close again after such a clash.”

After the Argentina win, the semi finals clash with Brazil….

“I remember we traveled their per helicopter. I was annoyed with that. I thought that was over the top. We enjoyed traeling by bus. Having fun, singing along a CD of Dutch songs… And suddenly someone decided on that chopper to save time.”

“I was so intensely focused on winning against Brazil. I wanted to beat them the most. That is the ultimate football nation. We could have done it. We were never great in penalty kicks but I do think we would have beaten France in the finals. Brazil was weak.”

ed argent

How do you look back?

“Still gives me a headache. Because I wanted to win that Croatia game too. But most of the players had taken a beating by that loss vs Brazil so we were not there. We lost.”

How do you see Holland perform at this World Cup?

“I think Holland is an outsider. Everytime we did well, we were outsiders. Everytime we are favourites, we end up disappointing. But there are many contenders this time around. Our group is already tough with Spain and Chile although I don’t think Chile is as good as people say and Spain could be over the hill a bit. But it will be hard.”

Who is the Edgar Davids of this current team?

“If all goes well, they will all have some Edgar Davids in them. That is probably what the team needs: every player to have that mentality. Skills is not enough anymore.”

NL brazil 98

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  1. Here’s the most likely line-up vs Ghana based on the observations from the media (who sneaked a peek at the closed training, 5-3-2 formation):

    Cillessen; Verhaegh, De Vrij, Vlaar, Martins Indi, Van Aanholt; De Jong, Sneijder, Blind; Lens, Van Persie.

    So what do you think?

    I find it sad that Depay isn’t used but that’s because Robben might play instead of Lens or Depay and he wasn’t there yet in the training. I think it’ll be enough for Ghana if Robben plays instead of Lens, somehow I think Lens won’t do that well in 5-3-2, even though he’s fast (‘that well’ is a comparison to Robben and Depay in the 5-3-2). I’ve already said enough about de Vrij, Blind and Cillessen, I think they’ll manage anyway. Especially de Vrij and Blind seem to be getting better and with Cillessen I guess we’ll just have to wait for the first serious shot on goal again to see how he does.

    1. Depay has played a lot vs Ecuador. It is time for Van Gaal to see other players like Lens, Verhaegh, De Jong, Sneijder, Vlaar so I think it is normal. The only thing I do not understand is why Cillessen again, but not Krul (preferrably) or Vorm? I also would like to see Fer and De Guzman again perhaps in 2nd half. The first 2 games are for Van Gaal to see the players and finalize the squad. The game vs Wales is the one that you will see the starting 11.
      IMO Van Gaal likes players like De Vrij, Blind, Clasie, Cillessen so they will go to Brazil. Blind is not a clear cut at his position so if he does not play well vs Ghana, perhaps he should start the game in the WC on the bench.

      For those who like to see Oranje’s training pictures, images of Oranje’s first session in Portugal emerged on Twitter, via @Football_oranje. I don’t have Twitter so I refer to this article (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2070287-arjen-robben-rests-as-netherlands-land-in-portugal).


      1. I also would like to see VDV in the 2nd half, and Huntelaar should come in at the beginning of 2nd half. I would like to see Hunter getting more time to show what he can bring.

    2. Thats a really passive squad… almost sad to see such a lack of creativity in that team. Hopefully Sneijder can bring the goods like he’s doing in Turkey.

  2. GHana is terrificaly energetic team with hell of stamina players.has got some speedy players,real test for vlaar and devrij.over all duch brilliance is too much for Ghana,i think.i hope RVP stays away from injury.i dont know about this 532 it doesnt makes much sense so far.No movemnets from wings..seems less potent.PLayers like janmaat,annholt,depay cannt do it effectivly though they are good at their positions.Something is missing in it.i think its potency

  3. Great reading , Jan. Davids and Bergkamp are probably the reason why I started to be a dutch fan at the age of 8. 🙂

    “I think Holland is an outsider. Everytime we did well, we were outsiders. Everytime we are favourites, we end up disappointing. But there are many contenders this time around. Our group is already tough with Spain and Chile although I don’t think Chile is as good as people say and Spain could be over the hill a bit. But it will be hard.”

    Can’t agree more.

    1. I heard that Vidal underwent surgery on his meniscus not much more than a week ago.

      Normal recovery time:

      4-6 weeks.

      Should still be enough for the match against us but he might miss the matches vs Australia and Spain. It probably won’t matter for Chile to miss him vs Australia but they would miss him vs Spain, which puts Chile on 3 points when they meet us.

      We need to win vs Spain, unlike many others here, I will not be satisfied with a draw knowing Chile is waiting for us with a returning Vidal.

    2. I’m off with my timing.

      Vidal had his surgery on May 7th it looks.

      4-6 weeks brings us to:

      4 June – 18 June. Which would probably mean he plays all 3 groupmatches.

      1. He will miss the entire preparation and not be fully fit for the first game but will be ready for the next two. That is what the doctor said.

  4. I will never forget that kluivert equalizer vs Brazil. We sneeked from school coz it was shown early in the morning and went to one of our friends house to watch that game. When ronaldo scored that goal we were all bitting our fingers until that cross came from RDB . Everybody in the building rose as the cross came in and kluivert out jumped everbody with one of the most pefectly time header. I have atched that sequence of the player when RDB receives the ball from the midfield to kluiverts header over hundred time. I still ate that goal as of the most perfectly time headers of all time.

  5. Muntari, KPB, Essien, Astu are key to Ghana midfield, I mean De Jong most probably can handle all of them, but as for Blind and Sneijder if that how it goes …..I have no clue how they will officiate in the middle. Boetang will definitely cause havoc in the middle with his long range tropedos as he very font of doing that. Him and sneijder are exactly same kind of players.

  6. Willem van Hanegem has a special video message for Clasie. The Feyenoord legend lived around the corner where Clasie grew up. And was responsible for Clasie’s first movements on a soccer pitch.

    When Willem speaks his words, he can’t keep it dry and neither can Clasie.

    A beautiful moment between two people who have special relationship.

    Willem: “I wish you a top tournament in the biggest football nation of the world. I hope you play and that you will show how good you are because for me you are a great player. I wish you all the best and think how your little baby will sit on the sofa with you in 15 years and watch the games with you and say “wow dad, that was amazing…”

    Clasie lost him mum at a young age and went through difficult times in his youth being raised by his dad and having to travel to Feyenoord from Haarlem every day ( 2 hours per day) while the youth trainers at Feyenoord feared he was too small and too light to play top football. But he refused to be sent away….


  7. What a great Video thanks Jan!! Great to see the emotional side of our players. I hope Clasie can really shine at the World Cup

  8. Since I recently did a list concerning which players I felt were most vital to Ajax season, I’m going to also do one for Feyenoord (up to where I feel it’s not important anymore):

    1. Pelle
    2. gap
    3. Immers
    4. Janmaat
    5. de Vrij
    6. Boëtius
    7. Vilhena
    8. Clasie
    9. Mulder (underrated because of previous years, better season than Cillessen, much more to do, earning Feyenoord some points here and there in the big games that I saw)
    10. BMI
    11. Mathijssen
    12. Vormer
    13. Schaken

    1. i think its very possible when we have kuyt,hunter,devrij and blind on feild…to oppose silva,navas,koke and co i am forgetting ineasta and xavi.

    2. I am with you,Bitterballen.
      Let’s beat Spain with beautiful football.Those Spanish Divers will be booked Yellow without the help of the idiotic Webb.No more Casillas lucky boots.Yeah…

  9. Anyone concerned that Janmaat might resume training a bit too quick (report just in, resuming training tomorrow or saturday)? I hope the other guys take it easy on him cause these trainings can get kind of hard and sharp/fierce. Injuries during training have happened quite often in the past before a tournament. I remember Bouhlarouz stepping on someone’s foot in 2010, they all feel the need to prove they can be used in the starting line-up, so defenders can get quite physical if that’s their strength, the physical duels.

  10. If according to LVG Vilenha and Depay can play LB in this new system, why not play Lens or Kuyt as RB instead Janmat when we need be more offensive

  11. So the indications up to now are
    1. The four that were released to Jong Oranje will not be in the WK unless something unpredictable happens
    2. Of course one of the goalies will stay at home (probably Vorm)
    3. The eight defenders are petty much settled: Janmaat, Verhaegh, Vlaar, BMI, de Vrij, Veltman, vAanholt, Kongolo
    4. In midfield deJong, Blind, Clasie, Sneider and vdVaart are untouchables
    5. Up front vPersie, Robben, Huntelaar, Lens, Depay

    Which means that the remianing two to be dropped will be from these four:
    Fer, deGuzman, Wijnaldum, Kuyt

    Pick your guesses……

    By the way, in a photo gallery from the training camp in Lagos the other there was a pic of vPersie captioned something like he had to stopt the session due to pain on his knee (I guess the one that got injured a couple of months ago).

    Any news on this? Should we be worried????

    1. I think Kongolo will be dropped unless he shows that he can play better. If Kuyt does not get any minute in these friendlies, would you think LVG still pick him? I would like to see Fer playing first before making a decision on him.

      1. Well, 23 players have always been more than actually needed in the field. No team I can remember really needed to field all 23 players in a tournamnet. Not even 20.

        So there are always spots in the roster that could be used for either young players to gain experience or for experienced leaders to be in there for the good vibe.

        If for example Wijnaldum is picked ahead of Kuyt I am not sure he will get any minutes ahead of Robben, Depay, Lens, or Sneijder, vdVaart. So if LVG needs Kuyt to be there for inspiration to the younger ones then he might choose him even if he is not picked to play.

        Also I think Zoet will be picked over Vorm and Kongolo will be picked too, just for the experience of being there. Again hardly ever a team actually needed to play all three keepers they picked. The third is in the team only to be the sub in case one of the top two gets injured or sent off.

    1. Strootman is currently injured with a predicted return date somewhere between September and end of year.
      Presumably Roma would never sell him for less than 25M as they already spent 71M to get him to Rome
      No team in the world would pay 25M for a player who very unfortunately is not guaranteed to be available at his previous for before some time.
      Especially a team that needs to rebuild and has a specific budget to spend on it (around 120M).

      So I would never believe any news about Strootman moving from Roma before Sep 2015.

  12. Davids in his prime could truly boss the midfield. He was a bulldog–physical. That’s a quality the Dutch NT has been missing for a while. Stam in the back was the same!

    1. Yes the 1998 team was the best since 1974 imo. Two great tournaments in 1998 and 2000 which we could have easily won. It will not be easy to build a team of that calibre.

      1. there has been alot of hype about Strootman recently.to much exaggeration about him and Van Gaal. I dont think he is top class midfielder as what he has been rated by many of you guys. . he is well balanced player when it comes to offensive and defensive duties which always standout in his games. when it comes to speed I think thats where he is vulnerable. Thats why he is always preferred at Box – to -Box. I wondering what happens when Van Ginkle/Clasie reaches their prime how will the midfield work out.

      2. I thought the ’98 team was destined to lift the Cup. They seemed to have all the ingredients.
        But what strikes me is, despite all that talent, how they still struggled against teams like Belgium and Mexico. And failed to pull it together to claim 3rd place when they were very capable of doing so. It goes to show that the unexpected can happen.
        Watching the clip against Argentina in 98 makes me realize how much tiki-taka short passing and overly defensive strategies from “certain teams” in the modern game have really sucked a lot of the entertainment out of football. Just 10 minutes of that game is more entertaining than most other games that one would possibly see these days.

  13. Ronald De Boer, a member of 98 on Van Gaal:

    “If he knew that you hadn’t played well, he would be straight on top of you. He is a big guy, he wants to win and that is where he can be intimidating and intense. But even if he shouts at you, he will listen to what you have to say.

    “He gives players chances to prove themselves. If you play badly in one game he won’t drop you straight away. He will give you the trust to repay him with a better performance next time. He puts trust in players but he expects it back from them. He doesn’t want to be let down.

    He added: “He would say sometimes to Marc Overmars, ‘The guy you are playing against drifts across to be close to the central defender. Stay where you are and you will get in behind him,’ — and he’d be right.

    “It was the same with Jari Litmanen. ‘Jari, the defender who is marking you sometimes thinks he is a holding midfielder also. Don’t move when he does. Let him go five yards.’ Jari would do that, the chance would come and he’d score. It was like he was seeing things before anyone else.

    “He is so well prepared that you would be doing drills in training and you would know what the opposition were going to do before they did. You knew exactly what you were up against.”

    (Source: goal.com)

  14. Davids,sedorf didnt play 2006WC,then they were at 31 or so.while kuyt plays at 33 for NT.it really sadens me,player like davids got dropped and kuyt is still in…this is one of the reason evry time we fail.i mean a deserved player gets dropped for undeserved one.

  15. i really hope turns back to 433 as usual.532 makes us less atractive style of football and we create less chances.
    he can go for 433 like this at least
    Seems the best 11 we have got out of 30.
    Day by day i am loosing trust in hunter…..

  16. Great blog Jan

    I want to offer you a huge beer but today is Shabbat, I m not supposed to touch any electricity, a friend is writing for me now.

    Long life to dutch football and to Israel !


  17. Great blog Jan

    I want to offer you a huge beer but today is shaabat I cannot use electricity so a friend is writing for me now.

    Long life to dutch football and to Israel !

  18. Miss the team of 90’s , which i think allmost perfect squad. We kind of had the same type of players in our 2010 finals and now we are back to rebuilding the future. This is how i predict the future of oranje after the WC and hope can still carry on the spirit of 90’s:

    Depay ? narsingh


    Stootman Clasie

    Willems BMI Devrij VDW


    ? can’t think of potential forward………..

  19. Jan, thanks for the informative articles.. Great, great work yet again. Keep it up Jan the man!! I still can’t believe we lost to the Brazilians in the manner we did in ’98. It was ours to lose and unfortunately, Oranje found a way (thru the PK) But hey, 2014 is a new year and let’s hope our boys give it their all.
    Hup Holland Hup!

  20. Great article Davids will always be remembered. He motivated his teammates with his passion. I’ll always remember him as one of the best players I’ve seen.

    I remember one day when an Argentinian commentator said Davids was the best player of the world even better than Zidane. 🙂

  21. great article,Jan. edgar davids is one of my all-time favourite players. davids,seedorf and obviously kluivert were those in this team i liked the most. but this team would have deserved the world cup,i remember every minutes of their campaign. except the ones i couldn’t bear the tension and went for a walk (argentina game after numan’s red card and before the penalty shoot-outs against brazil). in the extra time they should have beaten brazil,patje kluivert had a golden opportunity.

  22. Imagine the amount of talent we had from 1988 to 2002. If we didn’t became so arrogant after 1988 success and our star players didn’t behave like spoiled brats in and out the dressing room we could have won Italia 90, maybe USA 94 and France 98. In general we could have had 3 WC and a few Euros from 74 to 2010. Unfortunately all we have won is 1 euro from distant 88.

    1. oranje should have won the world cup in 74,78,90 and 98. they should have won the european championship in 92 and 2000. if the 98 and the 90 teams had the mentality of the 2010 team…

  23. Good weather prediction for Salvador for June 13. The day of our game there vs Spain (or most northern game, meaning the hottest and most humid game in the group stages).

    According to this weather prediction the 13th will be cloudy, windy and occasional rain. Compared to the other days around it, it will be one of the coolest days with very little sunshine. low 21 degrees, high 25 degrees, also feels like 25 degrees (sometimes how the temperature feels is much higher than the high temperature for that day, this is not the case for that day, so this may be an indication as to what the humidity will be like since I can’t see a prediction concerning that).

    Of course, it’s a weather prediction, so this day may come a little sooner or later, but the other days after it look decent with all a ‘RealFeel’ as they call it of 25 degrees. Only June 12 has a RealFeel of 29 (should be a thunderstorm cooling things down around that time). The wind increases after that also cooling things down.

  24. On a side note what do you all think of donovan bring dropped ?!!

    Ballsy move by klinsman.. Don’t think it was bad but I don’t know if the US has a better alternative ??

    Jan, thoughts ?

    This is exactly the same if LVG dropped Wes ! I will be very upset if LVg drops sneijder …

  25. So who will score the first goal for Oranje, and how? (we all know we will not have to wait long)

    My guess is 17th minute, RVP gets one after a scramble. Robben’s shot is blocked and RVP recovers it.

  26. I’m a little (but not completely) surprised about Donovan. He just isn’t the same player he’s been over the last 8 years, but I would still have expected him to be useful off the bench as someone to rally the team if a goal was needed.

    I wonder if Klinsmann isn’t just laying the groundwork for a “we’re building for the future” narrative and expecting to field a very young team against Germany (to avoid personal embarassment) if the earlier games against Ghana and Portugal don’t go well…

  27. Great Article Jan!

    I loved the 98 WC, but could only watch the highlights in 2000s as I was too young in the 90s.

    Everybody ignore all these hate mongrels, I can’t understand why some mofos are provoking them.

    Jumped up Jews & Islamists! Frigging hate ’em, they bring their religion into everything and inflict upon others

    1. It’s 8m Euros and it is a last year contract which means the valuation of the player is about 16m euro. The deal still need to be finalized but it is very close. If this happens Feyenoord is getting a good deal. And if De Vrij can be valuated at 16m euro. Indi must worth more.

  28. Janmaat returned to training.
    Robben finally joined his teammates.
    Sneijder better not be dropped. Donovan was just average this year and US has other young players better than Donovan. Sneijder and VDV are still better than Wijnaldum, Guzman, Fer, Clasie and Blind. These 2 fitness’ may be at 60% but I still rather have Wes and Rafael in the squad for this WC.

    RVP had a scare, but I think he is all right. For those who worry that we will not have a striker after this WC, RVP reads this blog and decides to prolong his international career after this WC (http://thepeoplesperson.com/2014/05/23/robin-van-persie-reveals-ambitious-plans-future/).

  29. Jan, thanks for making me cry, again! Watching those highlights is such a roller coaster I’ll never forget that tournament and the bloody penalty shoutout , it still kills me!
    David’s was just phenomenal throughout that tournament “The Pitbull” was born in that WC for me and the Bergkamp Goal against Argentina was just not believable, people were saying that he did not mean it, when he was asked he said “which part did I not mean”, of course no one could answer that question.
    I’m feeling good about this WC, I think we will surprise a few people and Louie will want to make a good impression for the Glaser’s, his new employer.

  30. you guys should stop acting like children!

    On a way more interesting note,
    Buttner is probably on his way out of Old Trafford.

    Patrice Evra signed a 1-year contract extension with Man Utd,
    and Luke Shaw is apparently sure to arrive. MUTV has been assuring everyone of the matter, which is set to leave Buttner as 3rd choice in the squad if that is the case.

    It’s a shame he didn’t even get a chance under Van Gaal.
    But at the same time, it is good for Van Gaal to score some points with the upper management by showing them he’s not going to be biased towards any dutch players.

    What do you guys think?

  31. Hey my fellow Oranje fans, I just noticed that Rafael and Nigel are moaning about their club sitation. But they’re both happy being in the National Team right now. And this could be a great group build thingy 🙂

  32. Ajax has just signed a 4 years contract with Nick Viergever. I think this means Moisander will leave after the WC.
    How do you rate this transfer , guys ?

    1. Truly excellent, technical, good vision, dangerous going forward and on set plays. I had hoped Ajax would sign him last year already. He was AZ’s best player this season and…he is Dutch. He was also very good in the Europa League. Now he probably has a shot at the national team. I am very happy!!

      1. What I certainly like about Viergever is his speed, he is way more speedy than Vlaar, Indi, De Vrij etc. Lets hope he can only improve in the ajax team and we could have he good LCB!!
        Congrats for the tranfer Jeff!!

    2. Good news.
      I always liked this guy.

      He is fast in his reactions, good passing, good vision.
      He is prone to the occasional mistake but I think he can definitey improve in a club bigger than AZ.

      Hope he won’t be a new vdHoorn

  33. I don’t read those issues about religion, race, etc. Jan’s work is magnificent I love this blog, the news we all share, Jan’s articles are great.

    I love sharing my passion for Dutch football so please just ignore any comment from people who just keep saying stupid things. Just scroll down and read football related comment that’s how we will get rid of those guys.

  34. A ton of feedback for bad and/or rude writers, but (sob)none for my “who would score the first Oranje goal at the WC?”

    I hope our team is not so focused on crappy issues and actually focuses on the game.

      1. Robin van Robben #911 will be largely controlled by 2-3 Torero’s at a time.

        Because of this I would say Lens or Bloy Loy’s pic of Blind as they will start and can sneak by those distracted Torero’s.

          1. I still say we walk away with points from this game and not 0 – 0 points. I predict we score first!

          2. First 10-15 minutes definitely will be ours! And we should score early goal. As much I can remember early goals always boosted morale of Oranje (except playing against Portugal)

    1. Memphiiiiiiiiis

      Depay. Solo run. Or a freekick. 🙂

      or Van Der Vaart, f course. 1-2 pass with RvP then a shot which goes through the gap of defense.

      1. I am very excited to see what he can do. Plus, there may be a lack of attention on him from the other teams making him free to roam. If RVP, Robben and Depay start I would say gosh golly goals galore.

    1. Same here Sam. One of the best posters on the forum IMO and certainly somebody who dares to challenge peoples concepts about Oranje and Dutch football in general. Attack on the quality of the discourse to go after persons rather than the arguments IMO. People should just level in a better way with each other, why they do/say what? Little empathy here could do wonders as well.

      Best words on a forum: agree to disagree. If a discussion is cooked over and over again, people can experience it as needling and bad intent.


      1. If you don’t object to Laurent’s agenda, then there’s no reason to object to him posting here. (Albeit again and again, to make the same point: Dutch Football Is Dead.)

        Unfortunately, Laurent’s agenda — denigrating Dutch football and discrediting Israel — isn’t really in keeping with the spirit of this blog. Yes, it’s Dutch to bitch about how much we suck… and it may be stimulating sometimes to DRB300… but it’s a bore to a lot of the rest of us when it drones on and on. And it’s all too often needlessly offensive, by the very nature of the agenda.

        More disruptive, however, is the other guy, “Schizo Bob,” the troll who hates both Laurent and Tiju.

        It’s all dispiriting, by design:

        “Online trolls are psychopaths and sadists”


        Yes, we should ignore them.

        If they don’t have an interest in improving Dutch football, why engage them?

        1. ” If you don’t object to Laurent’s agenda,”

          What is his agenda? That is what I mean with leveling. Some people assume disloyalty and detachment with the Dutch cause, as he is critical and harsh in his wording. Those people look through the filter of loyalty and see it as an attack. Many assumptions are made but the best thing is to just check with the person himself.

          Maybe he is an idealist. Maybe he has trouble watching Dutch clubs performing worse than Greece this season and being sandwiched between Malta and Scotland the previous season. Maybe his level of honesty towards that ideal dictates him to call things the way he sees it. That is already 2 positive values in my book. Idealism and honesty. Maybe he sees honesty as a first step to acknowledging there is a problem and as long people do not address the problems that he sees and at the level he sees, he looks for a confrontation. Is he denigrating Dutch football or is he denigrating the policy and decision making that have lead to the problems that he signals? There is big difference between those 2 and it is a legitimate debate to have.

          I for one am 100% behind the Ajax policy of conservative finance. I think this is at the center of all irritation. Spending. Laurent wants to see to the capital on the field, not on the bank. Much more can be done. I think Dutch clubs and Ajax are following the right course. I see the loss of status, but the only reality is the financial reality. Sounds simplistic, but at the end of the day the numbers must add up. It’s also about nurturing the underlying model and get it ingrained into the club culture. The stronger that becomes, the better they can guide the process and reach excellence with that model. In between there will be an adjustment period. Laurent sees it as a settlement for mediocrity (I think).

          Anyway, an interesting discussion IMO. Hopefully one we can continue in the future in a respectful matter.


          1. DRB300, I have nothing against Laurent from a football point of view. He has every right to express his opinion as we all do. My only issue was his obvious hatred of Ajax and clear antisemitism. If we tolerate this type of behavior and do not confront it, you end up with the sort of attacks we witnessed yesterday at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. I am sorry but everyone on this blog should stand against racism and antisemitism.
            Yes he can complain about the conservative fiscal policy of Ajax (as I do as well) but the difference is that I don’t bring a racial issue into this decision. You don’t either. I discuss Ajax with many of my friends (including some who are high up within the club) and absolutely no one has ever attributed the financial policies of the club to the Jews. That is antisemitism and must be stopped, that’s all.

          2. @Jeff,

            I think Laurent used the stereotype about Jews not spending money as a provocative explenation to why Ajax does not spend more on the player market. I am a guy of harmony and would like to take this towards a more constructive destination.

            What is at the center of this whole thing is that Dutch club football has not collected any significant points in Europe these past 2 seasons. Should Dutch clubs respond with throwing more money at that problem? My answer is no. Laurent is at the other side of the spectrum and is pissed off that Ajax, collecting all that money from automatic CL qualification, is not spending more to have a bigger impact and collect more points. More ambition. From your remark, I take that you are in the middle. Bit more spending is welcome.

            I think spending more out of ambition is blind ambition and will make the club a slave of all the foreign clubs. I think their transfer negotiation position would weaken very quick. I think they will be forced to sell a player, like PSV needed to sell Stroot. I think you also need to look how many games Ajax got out of Eriksen and how many PSV got out of Stroot, not even mentioning how much Stroot costed PSV and how much Eriksen costed Ajax. However it already starts at youth level. Not offering them instantly a contract when hitting 16. Good filter to ditch the players that value money over everything else and are willing to make problems. If young players just carry on then, they prove they are worth investing in.

            Going back. What people do not realize is that in another situation Ajax should have sold Siem de Jong this season or the previous one. If a club spends more, they become depended on transfer income. Now Ajax is so strong, that they do not have to sell. Maybe he will leave, maybe he does not. The point is that Ajax is in a position to say yes to a player staying. That is the first requirement to keeping a squad a bit longer
            together. In the future that can lead to top talents being phased into a squad that is a bit longer together, combined with 1 or 2 top quality transfers at the same time. Like how Ajax wanted to pay for van Ginkel. In such a “perfect storm”, when all 3 elements come together, Ajax could make a true impact in Europe. It’s like that Roman saying. Success is when preparation meets opportunity. Preparation here means laying the financial structure to not having to sell. To get talents from the academy that will not jump ship with every higher offer. There is a thought behind all this. Why does Ajax not have a new main sponsor yet? The online betting market is opened soon in the Netherlands (January the first, 2015 I think). That will be the new sponsor of Ajax. At least that is a guess of mine. And the money will be good.

            Ajax, IMO, follows an excellent strategy. That does not mean approval for everything. The scouting (Overmars) is allowed to do better. Even with spending marginal. For Hoorn, Overmars should have taken the trip to Israel during that Euro 2013 U21 Euro and watch him in a rondo with his peers. Lack of options at left back has bitten Ajax dearly IMO. I would dare to claim that with Blind in DM and extra cover for left back that could have filled in for an injured Boilesen, Ajax would have gotten past the group phase of the CL. I think the football of Ajax can be improved by not playing the ball so much between the CB’s, but involve the midfielders more in build up. Cruyff has this opinion and I can see his point.

            That being said, I am glad that Ajax in a certain way has stepped out of the rat race, looked at the big picture, and taken another course. Following another strategy. The game at large, internationally, is set up so dishonestly, so unequal, that we had to think in other ways in Eredivisie. I am 100% behind this direction.


  35. I don’t quite understand Viergever’s deal, Ajax has Veltman Denswil, Van Der Hoorn already why another CB? Maybe they need him at LB because Boilesen is injury prone?

  36. Reports coming out that Ajax signed Viergiver. I think this is a good signing. Viergiver has shown his abilities with AZ over the last few seasons. I have said many times before that this boy should have been given more chances with Oranje. Some of us here will remember that he came through the Sparta system with Strootman and Falkenburg.

  37. Hertha HSC 2.5m euro bid for Beerens(last year contract) but AZ ask for more
    Verhaegh injured in training but will be ok
    Feyenoord after Braafheid
    Roma after De Vrij

  38. I think Ajax signing of Viergiver is a great move for both club and player. Viergiver is a solid and consistent defender whom I expect to develop well in Amsterdam. Many of us here would remember that he came through the Sparta team win guys like Strootman and Falkenburg. Sparta has been producing some good talents of the last few years, Guys like Emnes, Duarte and De Roon are among some of the other talents that I particularly like.

  39. Ok so just placed a bet on Argentina to make the final. 50 nzd for a return of nzd 2000… fair crack I say. Also Brazil, nzd 100 for a return of nzd 3000..
    Holland paying nzd 400 t make the final..
    The dutch in me wont be putting any money on us to get to the final even given the odds…

    Also Shot DRB well said.. big up Ajax

    1. Thanks Jan. We will.
      I also read in VI and Telegraaf what Goldstone and Mohammed have been mentioning ie that Wes is coming back and LVG was extremely pleased with him. Maybe he will be like Zidane was in 2006 for France.

    1. Sneijder will be , again , one of our best players in the tournament. It will be nice if he shines in the WC again , and goes to Chelsea after the WC , so that I can dream with a midfeild of Aké , Ginkel and Wesley playing together under Mourinio 😉 . Let’s wait and see.

  40. ——————–Cillessen——————





    It seems like LVG will use this team against Spain.

  41. Hahahah Van Gaal saying that Sneijder will be vital to us!!
    Where does that leave old VDV??
    Like ALWAYS Sneijder will shine and Vaart will play a second role!!

  42. If the midfield is really going to be blind-de Jong-sneijder then we are in a deep hole!! The three players are very static and not good dribblers, only sneijder has creativity out of the three and they are all slow!!! I don’t want to sound negative but it is not a promising midfield!!! With sneijder and de Jong you need an explosive midfielder who can bring dynamism to the team, no blind with all due respect!!

      1. I’m not too confident in this trio either. You are NOT going to win a World Cup with Blind–he doesn’t have the pace or athleticism to excel at this level. Sneijder is fit but how many good minutes does he have in him? I feel like Dutch need at least one dynamic player in the middle. Van Bommel was much more physical and intuitive than Blind, IMO.

    1. Don’t worry Alaa. The ” explosiveness ” will be in our fullbacks ” Janmaat and van aanholt”. Both are great physically with great lungs and pretty good speed. De jong and Blind are needed to cover right and left flanks when Janmaat and aanholt goes forward. This means we will have sneijder , Robben and Persie attacking deep , Plus two fullbacks from both sides. Also I think Blind has pretty good vision and can give killer through passes when needed , not to forget that we can bring Fer into the game anytime.
      Hup Oranje 😉 .

  43. I saw some photos in onsoranje.nl and Van Persie seems OK to me in training, he just felt some little pain…let´s not panic, besides, we have Huntelaar.

    I like Miguel´s line up and I think that will be our starting eleven, and Clasie-Fer-Wijnaldum-de Guzman as other options in case the game requires a different aproach.

    Oranje has to be very alert of Sergio Ramos, this man is having the moment of his career, he can be more dangerous than even Fernando Torres or Pedro…sadly for Spain, Diego Costa will not play against Holland (it seems).

    I think that Holland in this World Cup has nothing to lose, but with a passionate coach like Van Gaal and without that huge pressure to reach gold, the players can make a big impact. I think Sneijder will again be key for Oranje, he has had difficult times but in the last five or six months he has returned to a very good level. I am not super confident but I think this Oranje squad can surprise the world if they play as a team and have team spirit…something that lacked in 2012 and that was extremely strong in 2010.

    The last tournament played in South America Oranje reached the final…remember that guys.

    Hup Holland.

    1. Very funny.

      I thought it was a big mistake for Costa to start. There is no way he should have passed the fitness test yet lasted less than 10 minutes.

      1. I agree and I heard a comment from ten Cate the other day that he and Frank decided to say “no” to Messi for the CL final vs Arsenal after he had (similar?) fitness problems back then. Frank won that final.

        Simeone is an amazing coaching talent and will make countless good decisions on a day, this is just a bad one. No way around it. He is the boss, not Costa and together with the medical staff he should have made up his mind and tell Costa the bad news.


  44. AC Milan is reportedly replacing Seedorf with Inzaghi.

    I hope Hiddink hires Seedorf as his assistant, and gives Blind the boot. Otherwise we’ll be stuck seeing Daley Blind forever.

    It would be like Bert and van Bommel all over again.

  45. Quote from Louis van Gaal today:

    “I know 20 players of my definite squad. It depends a bit on the match of Netherlands U-21 vs. Scotland on Wednesday. We will evaluate this match and make our decision partly based on the players in that team. Before the match with Ghana on Saturday I will announce my 23-man squad. On June 2, I have to give my list to the FIFA, but I will make my decision earlier. Our starting XI for during the World Cup will play against Ghana.”

  46. Diego Costa out for 15 days will miss the preparation period of world cup. Unknown if he will be selected.
    Australia 1:1 tied with South Africa
    Brugge De Haag Herenveen Zwolle after Kieftenbeld
    Groningen after Van Der Laan
    Lurling free transfer to Den Bosch
    Den Haag Groningen after Jordy Buijs
    Weghorst free transfer to Heracles
    Joeri De Kamps transfer to NAC Breda
    Koevermans became assistant coach at Utrecht
    Hardeveld free transfer to Utrecht
    Kruijswijk free transfer to Vitesse

  47. Diego Costa out for 15 days will miss the preparation period of world cup. Unknown if he will be selected.
    Australia 1:1 tied with South Africa
    Brugge De Haag Herenveen Zwolle after Kieftenbeld
    Groningen after Van Der Laan
    Lurling free transfer to Den Bosch
    Den Haag Groningen after Jordy Buijs
    Weghorst free transfer to Heracles
    Joeri De Kamps transfer to NAC Breda
    Koevermans became assistant coach at Utrecht

    1. Viergiever 2m(last year contract) to Ajax
      Willem Janssen permanent transfer to Utrecht
      Eitenne Reijnen free transfer to Cambuur
      Zivkovic 1.9m to Ajax
      Lachman free transfer to Twente
      Rienstra free transfer to Zwolle
      Belterman free transfer to Den Bosch
      Chery 0.8m permanent transfer to Groningen
      Leeuwin transfer to Utrecht
      Falkenburg free transfer to NAC Breda
      Houtkoop free transfer to Den Haag
      Nick De Bondt free transfer to Go Ahead Eagles
      Schroyen transfer to Venlo
      Tom Beuglesdijk free transfer to FSV Frankfurt
      Wahner Han free transfer to Feyenoord
      Sem De Wit to Den Haag
      Nepamouceno free transfer to Petrolul
      Patrick N’Kyiabu free transfer to Petrolul
      Van Mieghem free transfer to Excelsoir

  48. So Seedorf is out of Milan according La Gazetta dello Sport.

    Played a decade for the club, won everything with the club, quit his career for them, left Brazil for them and after 6 months they throw him out without the results being bad (like 35 points vs 22 for Allegri). No class.

    I think Seedorf is like Frank Rijkaard. He is no de Boer. What he must do is getting a next top club where it comes more down to man management. Seedorf is at the Hiddink side of the spectrum, (not van Gaal). Being super good with big ego’s, rather than a methodological nutcase. He must do what Rijkaard did, get an old hard liner next to him like ten Cate back at Barca. Foppe de Haan would have been perfect, but is now too old. Any suggestions are welcome. Does not have to be a Dutch guy. Stam sounds good, not good IMO. Too young and has not lead teams.

    I don’t think he is fit to coach in the Netherlands. Too young players. Coaches in the Netherlands must be teachers. Detailed instructions, much repetitions. Seedorf must be surrounded by big Ego’s as he has such a big personality himself. He can deal with them and that is a big quality to ahve. Real Madrid, Barca, PSG, Chelsea. The problem is getting those jobs. Rijkaard was helped out by Cruyff. Enrique has the Barca job now and the current leadership is not part of the Cruyff circle. I also think Cruyff will put forward de Boer in time. I think de Boer should take over from van Gaal at United, though they go for Giggs first obviously. de Boer is less crazy, but has the same way of working. Would click excellent.

    The problem for Seedorf is that he still has little experience, but started so high end. Why would another top team give him the job? I also think he does not want to go back to an assistant role to learn the trade. Annoying that a Dutch promise is already scarred when he has to begin just yet and by the club he loves mind you. Hope Inter offers him their managerial job and he ends up above Inzaghi. Something tells me that Inzaghi is actually pretty good. Just a feeling, nothing more.

    1. Rene Meuslenteen can work with Seedorf.
      I wonder if LVG will move Blind back to LB, and put Clasie next to De Jong and Sneijder for Ghana?

      1. Hien I think after watching blind you are also getting blind. Van Gaal has already assessed him at LB and he thinks he does not fit there specially after the France game. I even dont why people think that he his the right guy in the midfield. Once he starts getting outmuscled in the middle then we will hit the panic button. Once again I wonder what if Anita would have stayed at Ajax rather than joining Newcastle. Its becasuse of his father that he is there. I agree with Sam on Blind influence on his son.

  49. Hunter-RVP

    Clasie -Sneijder- Robben

    De Jong

    PVA- BMI-Vlaar-Janmaat


    De Jong in a three man midfield is unsecure. There will a big hole if either vaart or sneijder while attacking lose posession and leave the burden on De Jong to cover their mistakes and dont even think that Blind will be able defend with speedy and tougher midfielders. The same thing happened vs Beligum when two goals were scored jus because De Jong was slow in reacting to the pass.

    In this formation De Jong to station in front of the back 4 and his defensive coverage will be very narrow making his defensive duty more easier even when the fullbacks go on attack he will be able to laterally cover both on the right and the left.

  50. Robben did join the rest of the team a few days back.

    A bit of news to lighten up the mood.

    Van Gaal’s very happy with Sneijder’s fitness. So I guess that means our starting 11 are defined now.

    Ghana is up this Saturday night, the starting 11 will be the team to deliver us the cup in 2 months time.

    Van Gaal says he has locked in 20 names to come to the WC. Apparently BEFORE the Ghana game the team will be notified of the final 23. Good times.

    Keep it cool, less than 3 weeks to go 🙂

    1. I am probably the worst poster to ask this question, as more and more I become religiously against the poacher up front in Dutch football. Like, across all age groups actually.

      From Moot, to Locadia, to Dost, to Huntelaar. The poachers with some speed like Wolfswinkel. The hybrids like Siem and Luuk de Jong. All of them.

      I see their value against weaker opposition and some of them will maybe score more goals against that weak opposition than the complete players, but I just wonder where the ambition has gone to produce a new Cruyff or van Basten? Players with loads and loads of technique and that are simply the best players in the team. It’s like these days we reserve 2 spots for people who can not play football. The keeper and the striker. I mean, that is ridiculous.

      Willems is a better player than any of above mentioned players. A left back …. . Kongolo is also a better player. de Vrij is a better player. Veltman is a better player. Van der Wiel is a better player. That is only defense, I have not started with midfield yet. It goes on an on.

      A team that wants to become Champs of the world can not do it with 10 men. Can not carry the weight for their man up front all the time and feed all his chances as he can not create anything on his own. The striker position should be occupied by a player at the opposite end of that spectrum. He should ooze class, have confidence on ball, instill fear into the opponent every time he touches the ball.

      The Argentinians understand this with Aguero and Messi. Uruguay has Suarez. Imagination, technique, speed, dribbling, distance shots, intricate play, creativity. Ruthlessness in front of goal is just 1 perk they have in their locker, not the only thing they have to show. Suarez is not even that ruthless actually. Pretty wasteful with his chances at times. It’s that 5 minutes later he already created a new chance for himself or his team mates.

      I want the best players at the front, not a guy that can throw his hands up in the air and claim in front of camera that he did not get any useful balls. Like that is actually a legitimate excuse people nod at, as we can not expect such a limited player to do anything else than to prey in the box and wait for that 1 chance he might get. The striker I have in mind is a catalyst, not a helpless baby that does not exist as long the ball is not offered to him on a plate.

      It already starts with Bergwijn vs van der Moot at PSV. Or actually Bergwijn having to leave Ajax as he wanted to play striker but was not allowed to do so. Now at PSV he plays on the wing and Moot is striker. I mean really. What does it take to just play a “complete” player that can make goals up front? Slabbekoorn same thing. Kishna could also play striker.

      So no. I would not put Huntelaar next to RvP, as with me he is not even on the plane to Brazil. Just to make a statement. I would always play either Depay or Lens in a 2 striker system next to RvP. I would play Wijnaldum next to RvP before playing Huntelaar there. I would play van Ginkel over Huntelaar to play next to RvP. Afellay idem dito. I would get real creative before ever considering to play Huntelaar next to RvP.

      I know Huntelaar has his fans here and across the country, so I will stop myself here.


      1. Fair enough DRB 300 but like messi…..RVP also has not been able to deliever on big stage as well and time after time the coaches find this late in crucial stages when both the hands are on the head. I mean if look at Dzeko how in the absence of Aguero he virtually won the EPL for Man City single handly in the last few important games. I think our coaches hav failed to utilize his ultimate composition . I have watched him so many ocassions for schalke on how he scores on counters when the wingers stretech the midfields via the flanks creating space for him the middle.This something which has let him down at NT level because of the inverted wing system. The other thing which I feel has let hunter down is RVP supremcy in the eyes of coaches.

        I agree about putting creavity around RVP but the same can be said when it is put around hunter in that specfic formation and I think it will intrestingo see how hunter and robben partner at some stage in that 5-3-2 formation or even if they start.

        1. Redemption time……though this might be the scenario as what you have said about Depay and Lens but then again if NT cant score…..hunter will go down as one of the controvesl strikers in the history books

        2. Wilson Huntelaar football capacities are just limited, his first touch, his capacity to keep the ball, his passes…Just a bad footballer.

          He is useful for some things though :
          – Creating spaces : He is good at taking defenders with him when he doesn’t have the ball. While a player like RVP will always ask to receive the ball , Huntelaar can accept to do the dirty job, making runs and taking defenders just to create space for Robben, Depay etc.

          Two examples :

          -Netherlands-England : Robben first goal, Huntelaar played cleverly in it, he opened the way to the goal for Robben. (I think Sam talked about this few weeks ago also)

          – Netherlands-Brazil 2010 : Remember one action where Sneijder and RVP disturbed each other in the box, both wanted to shot. Basically RVP should have raised his head and serve Sneijder who was behind him, but he was head down and searching for a position to shot instead…10 minutes later Huntelaar was alone in the box but waited for Robben to come and failed to serve him. That was ridiculous though cause he clearly should have shot in that situation, but it showed the difference between RVP and Huntelaar.

          So yes, in some aspects Huntelaar is better than RVP, he can accept to be used for his partners, he knows that less he keeps the ball, better it is for the team. RVP will always have a big ego, even if he really improved as a team player.

          Now I never liked when both have been associated, they don’t suit each other. RVP doesn’t seem to like Huntelaar. He wants VDV or Afellay behind him.

          Robben/Huntelaar can be interesting for the reasons I mentionned before but RVP will always be a starter, so no need to talk about it.

          It’s just logical cause Holland plays possession. Playing possession is impossible with a slow striker like Huntelaar who struggles with the ball every time, you need a mobile player forward like RVP. Take Bayern for example, playing tiki taka with Mandzukic doesn’t work.

          1. Thanks for confining your observations to football, Laurent.

            But you’re wrong about RVP v Huntelaar and assists, according to these statistics (from whoscored.com, incomplete, don’t include all NT appearances). Their league play numbers from the last five years show a clear difference in goals — and assists:

            Appearances Goals Assists
            RVP 146 (20) 110 35
            KJH 126 (22) 74 14

            Note: RVP has two and a half times more assists than KJH.

            The anecdotes about RVP having his “head down” at moments don’t accurately reflect his team play vis a vis a comparison with Huntelaar.

            In fact, a couple of years ago, in a head-to-head comparison with Olivier Giroud, the writer made this observation about RVP:
            “Van Persie’s [career] stats show he has assisted almost half as many goals as he has scored and that’s hardly surprising coming from a footballer schooled in the Dutch way.”


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