Musings about Prelim Oranje – 27 days to the WC

Back in 1974, the Dutch team manager Rinus Michels was asked to be “coordinator” for the 1974WC campaign. The Barcelona coach took the job, although the players didn’t think they would need a coach.

The public opinion was negative. Oranje was never important enough for the players and we qualified thanks to a referee mistake in the last qualification game. It was Belgium who deserved to go to the tournament.

Michels did his assessment and found out all his experienced top defenders were unavailable. Rinus Israel, Barry Hulshoff, Theo Laseroms, Epi Drost, Aad Mansveld… These guys were sensational central defenders. Tough as nails. Experienced. And great leaders. All injured.

The old gang (Swart, Keizer, Moulijn, Van Duyvenbode, Jan Mulder, Nico Rijnders, Dick van Dijk, Lex Schoenmaker) was not available anymore and there were some new players making their way into the team, such as Haan, Rijsbergen and Rensenbrink.

kluiv lvg

Only a week before the start of the tournament it was, when Cruyff/Michels decided to put Arie Haan as central defender and to push the opponent so far up the pitch that the pressure would be off the last line of defence. This move, plus semi-sweeper Jongbloed in goal, were the two tactical moves that solved Michels’ puzzle. It clicked and the team won silver and most importantly the hearts of many generations to come.

By the way, RVP/LVG is the new combi (like Cruyff/Michels) as they discussed the 5-3-2 when they met to watch PSV – Feyenoord a month ago….

I didn’t like Michels. Just as I am not a big fan of the person Louis van Gaal. But I respect his skills. And he does want to play attractive football. I probably prefer him over Hiddink, in that sense. As a coach that is.

So I will – for now – support him, the team and his choices. I also rate Blind and Kluivert, so in Oranje We Trust!

As for the choices…

Van Gaal would have taken Van der Wiel if he was fit, I believe. But without him, the 2010 defensive line up is gone. A necessary move.

I personally would have loved it if Van Gaal would have decided to bring either Van Ginkel or Afellay, but the fact that he doesn’t means they’re simply not match fit enough. Van Gaal will know best, on this topic.

The exclusion of Stekelenburg and Vermeer is logical and one can only assume Van Gaal has made very well though through decisions with regards of Narsingh, Klaassen and the others… We might one day hear his thoughts, but as Vilhena is in, as are Fer and De Guzman, one can only assume that these players bring more to the table – at the moment – than Klaassen.

Vlaar is not fast enough :-)? Thanks for posting this, Steen!!!

We will see him (and hopefully Narsingh, Van Ginkel and Propper) back into Oranje under Hiddink in the years to come.

The inclusion of Kongolo makes perfect sense. For starters, we need a left back. Blind might be LVG’s choice for holding mid (either as starter or as sub for De Jong). Buttner hasn’t played enough. And Blind doesn’t fit the bill for the 5-3-2 role description.

The choice of Van Aanhold AND Kongolo tells you Van Gaal is looking for legs, lungs and offensive power on the flanks. Verhaegh and Janmaat offer this on the right. I do think Van Aanholt will be among the final seven who will not make it.

Kongolo can also play center back and midfield, so a safe bet. There is not much this kid doesn’t have, apart from experience. But he could well be the sensation of the World Cup for us and on his way to bigger things fast.

The goalie question is quite straightforward for me: Cillesen had a top season and is a very good goalie for the Oranje style of play. I can only assume playing EPL for years will give you the upperhand over a talented goalie who played for PSV only one season. So Zoet goes home.

janmaat kongolo

In Defence, we’ll lose Van Aanholt and possibly De Vrij or Rekik. I think Veltman, BMI and Vlaar are certs for the CB role.

In midfield, I think we will not see de Vilhena go to Brazil and I don’t rate De Guzman too high at the moment either.

Lastly, Promes and Boetius will have to set their sights on 2016 for their first tournament.

This is what I think will happen.

I personally would prefer LVG to leave Kuyt home. I don’t see his role as a winger and as a central striker we have RVP and Klaas Jan (and even Rafael van der Vaart). I think Kuyt has a lot of everything, but not enough of one thing.

I prefer a young buck like Boetius in his place (he could be the Elia of 2014).

Rafael van der Vaart is the most experienced Oranje player with 109 caps to his name, although Dirk is the oldest player (33 years old) and currently has 98 caps to his name.

Van der Vaart hopes to commence his sixth (!) tournament and joins Aron Winter and Edwin van der Sar as record holders in number of tournaments. If he remains fit and valuable, he could easily reach seven in two years.

Sneijder and Robben can join Rafael in that exclusive club, by the way.

Oranje now has three debutants for the ball: Kongolo, Vilhena and Jeroen Zoet all have to collect their “hare”.

Van Gaal now only has 8 players who were present in 2010. Normally, Strootman, Afellay and Van der Wiel would have been part and parcel if fit and so could Stekelenburg have been, if if if….


Wesley Sneijder commented in his own style from Istanbul. He still has no clarity re: his position and he has not heard from the team manager about the tactical changes we might see. “Apparently, the hierarchy has changed.”

But, Sneijder can’t wait to go to Brazil. “It’s quite exciting. I don’t know what to expect. If I’m in, I will be joining the group in Portugal. I still have one game to play with Gala, but I’m doing really well. I am in form and I will keep that form as I am super excited to play this World Cup. That is just the best.”



sneijder tong

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  1. Totally Agree with you Jan and I think the 23 man squad essentially picks itself out of this 30 man roster.

    GKs – Cillesen (Krul / Vorm)

    RB – Janmaat (Verhaegh)

    CBs – Vlaar + Veltman + Rekik (Martins Indi)

    LBs – Kongolo (van Aanholt)

    CDM – de Jong (Blind / Clasie)

    CM – Fer (Wijnaldum)

    CAM – Robben (Sneijder / van der Vaart)

    ST – van Persie (Huntelaar)

    Free – Depay (Boetius)

    1. Nicely laid out – I think de Guzman instead of Fer and no van Aanholt (not good enough and not a long term Oranje player) as Daley Blind can fill in that role if needed during the tournament. Bring Vilhena in and give him some tournament experience. Or keep de Vrij in and just have Rekik there to get tournament experience (not enough experience to be starting games).

  2. de Guzman’s had a very good season at Swansea – don’t really get the hate here. He’s already been a very competent possession player but also upped his goals scored record. Much better season than Fer.

    Truth be told – if you’re employing a midfield 3 I’d quite like to see de Guzman, Sneijder and Blind/Clasie – I think it will be De Jong, Sneijder and de Guzman though.

    If that happens I don’t see any way that entertaining football will be played against Spain. Shielding with De Jong is probably the right thing to do in that game but having De Jong in a side never leads to entertaining forward-looking football being played – it will be cagey and counter-attacking – I just don’t know whether the majority of Oranje fans or even LVG are realistic enough to accept an attempt to park the bus against Spain and nick a draw/win then change it up against Chile/Australia. If I were LVG that’s what I’d be looking to do in the group stage.

    1. Hmmm…I just checked and de Guz has actually scored 1 fewer this season – really feels like his goals have been more important though (maybe because of how the rest of the Swansea team’s been). I’ve been more impressed with his general contribution this season than last though.

  3. One things that does not sit well with me is why RVP is captain at Sneijder’s expense.

    Sure, we weren’t happy Sneijder went to Gala but he is a proven leader who steps up on the grand football stage when it counts whereas RVP wilts.

    I just can’t see him taking orders from RVP.

      1. Jan, You said “Sneijder will demonstrate leadership on the pitch.” Personally Sneijder has shown no characteristics of any leadership. He’s a class player and even now he can play for any of the top clubs in Europe but leader, he is not. The stories you hear of Euro 2012 Dutch camp between him and other players. The pettiness of not passing the ball to players in your team because you have differences of opinion. These are not qualities of a good leader.
        If there are disagreements between you and other member of your squad, as a leader you need to resolve these issues before you step on the pitch.

  4. Van Gaal might go for these 23:

    I would really like him to take Depay with him though. However if it is between him and Lens, I find it hard to believe he takes somebody who made his debut vs Turkey away rather than the one doing well during the qualification.

    I think Kongolo over PvA as the first one is multinational and a better defender. For the specific role though PvA is an interesting option. At the other side we see one offensive player on the flank (Janmaat) and one maybe less so than a vd Wiel would have been. Maybe he applies the same logic to the other side.

    1. This is also an option:

      The logic here is that Kongolo is the joker, being able to fill in for BMI, but also PvA/Blind. Blind can play on the flank, but also in midfield. That’s why JdG is out in this one. This way Depay, a player van Gaal likes, is in the squad of 23.

      Van Gaal did not excluse the possibility of playing 1-4-3-3 in between games of 1-3-5-2 and then he will need some winger material.

    2. This is silly mate, depay and boetius be dropped in favor of lens who is a nobody at the moment and hasn’t even joined the squad?? no ways

      1. I think you underestimate van Gaal’s loyalty to players who delivered during qualification. Boëtius for Lens would really surprise me, Depay for Lens is 50/50 with a slight edge for Lens Imo.

        I have added another option under my first post by the way as somehow I see Depay making the final 23. Van Gaal is quite fond of Depay.

  5. I think Van der Wiel was dropped due to fitness concerns. I also believe Depay is a cert to come along. He can play midfield wide, winger and striker and I think LVG likes Depay. I think Lens is a cert too.

    1. Yeah but how serious was that injury? Does anybody has info on his estimated recovery time? Was it a big thing, as I read somewhere that Blanc told him he could start focusing on the WC, so from that I concluded it could not be such a big thing. I mean there are more players without impeccable fitness currently.

  6. @Gabriel,

    I don’t know anything about Rekik’s brother at City other than something I saw on a video of the family speaking about how they lived in England.


    1. Thanks DRB300, I dont know him either, lets see if the kid can make it, alongside Rodney Kongolo!! It seems City is capturing our kids really fast!

  7. Argentina Squad

    Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero, Mariano Andújar, Agustín Orion.

    Defenders: Ezequiel Garay, Federico Fernández, Pablo Zabaleta, Marcos Rojo, José María Basanta, Hugo Campagaro, Nicolás Otamendi, Martín Demichelis, Gabriel Mercado, Lisandro López.

    Midfielders: Fernando Gago, Lucas Biglia, Javier Mascherano, Ever Banega, Angel Di María, Maximiliano Rodríguez, Ricardo Alvarez, Augusto Fernández, Enzo Pérez, José Sosa, Fabian Rinaudo.

    Forwards: Sergio Agüero, Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuaín, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Rodrigo Palacio, Di Santo.

  8. I think even if Van Der Wiel is fit, he won’t go.
    Paul Verhagh is good from what the Augsburg games I watched.
    He is fast, has good positioning and can tackle well.
    I am really glad that he is in.

    Overall, I think the 30 prelim squad is as good as we can get at this moment. No complaints.

    I think the 7 backups will be Zoet, Van Aanholt, Fer, Vilhena, Wijnaldum, Boetius, Promes.

  9. – Van der Wiel is not going because Van Gaal prefers Verhaegh above him. I only saw him once, he was good though.
    – I feel sad for Van Ginkel. He’s potentially our best CM, but hasn’t played competitively for a long time.
    – I feel jealous seeing the Belgium squad. It would be really painful for me if they get the world cup. It would feel as thought the little brother has outplayed the older one. In such circumstances I try to explain myself how come Holland doesn’t have any WC despite having played three finals…

    1. Don’t worry, Belgium won’t win it. Hugely over-rated and as people start to focus on the WC they’re starting to drift in the betting.

      1. Remember that our midfield and defence is better than theirs and ontop of that we have winners and big game experience so even though we won’t play them it wouldn’t be impossible for us to beat them

  10. The AD quotes Van der Wiel: ” I have called Van Gaal and told him I couldn’t do it. I have been playing all season on pain killers. It is not good for my body to keep on doing this.” He saw the Bayern doctor for injections in back and knee. “not much fun. The doctors say I have to watch it as it could become a chronic thing. I cannot go 100% every day and for a World Cup you really have to. I do thank Van Gaal for the opportunity. It was marvelous working with him. Hopefully in the future I can return.”

  11. For the Vlaar picture, Vlaar’s pure speed is good but his turn is very slow that’s why we always say he is slow when talking about him.

  12. Willem van Hanegem was slow. But his vision and mind worked extremely fast. Fast and slow are relevant terms. We shouldn’t be so 2D about it all.

    ITs like Vermeer once said about goalies. You sometimes see goalies make tremendous flying saves on a header for instance. But if the goalie would have collected the ball instead of stayed on the line, he would not have had to make the glorious safe.

    Less insightful people will say “WOW WHAT A SAFE!!”, while more insightful people will say “BAD GOALKEEPING! HE SHOULD HAVE COLLECTED THAT CROSS!”

  13. For all the cr@p Lenz receives on this blog, he did deliver during the qualification. The question is whether he has the flair to take Oranje up to the next level. I think Lenz will be second fiddle to Depay and Depay will be the x-factor, just like Robben was in 2004.

  14. I noticed yesterday after the names were released many people were not excited about van aanholt inclusion!! I remember a lot of people were praying van gaal would consider him!! What changed? And I am not teasing here I am just wondering!! Don’t u guys think he is the best option we have on the left flank? Ur thoughts?

    1. Please watch his games after his red card + own goal game. He was horrible after that game, Achenteh even got the starting place for several games. Van Aanholt get the starting place back more because of Bosz’s generosity to give him another chance because world cup is coming.
      In the playoff his defense was solid but he showed nothing in offense. Vitesse was kicked out in the playoff, AZ is still in there but Van Aanholt was called not Viegever whose performance this season was better and more consistent than Vann Aanholt.

      1. Van Aanholt will always make such mistakes. In eredivisie Roberto Rosales from Twente is a bit the same kind of full back, always going quick forward but making silly mistakes behind. It s just their nature. Like Willems also a bit, but Willems is stronger than both on the man.

        That being said, Van Aanholt is a more exciting player to watch than Viergever for Holland, who is a former CB used as LB this year, truly lacks speed and skills to go forward.

  15. ———————Cillessen——————–






  16. I’m still disappointed with Van Ginkel and Afellay’s exclusion.

    My thoughts:

    1. Kuyt to be left ( I love this bro but he just isnt good enough now)

    2. De Guzman MUST be included in the final 23. He has had a great season with Swansea this season. He is versitile, techncal and quick (certainly better than Fer).

    3. If we playing 5-3-2 Van Aanholt should be staring LB. This is very simply, Blind would not fit the profile of the LB that is needed in a 5-3-2, so Van Aanholt has to be the starter(if Blind is used, the back 5 may be a little lapsided). Bwt, Butnner would have been the best LB for this system.

    4. I am not as confident about Kongolo as most ppl here have been. I am a huge Feyenoord fan and have watched Kongolo a lot since his first game and I think he has big potential, but is not ready for the big pary (WC) just yet. I hope I am wrong, but I an just not convinced by this boy as yet (slight physique & questionable react time)

    5. What is Van Gaal’s problem?…why is Pieters not selected after a good season with Stoke? Are the skills of Afellay and Van Ginkel comnpletely disregarded becasue they havent played much?

    1. Pieters is not the man for the offensive tasks. He’s a good defender but his yield offensively is low. Out of 12 crosses only 2 are good.

      I dont think he’s good in a position where he needs to be the winger. He’s probably good in a 4-3-3 with a left footed left winger, or in a 4-4-2 with a wide midfielder to play off.

      1. so instead, we’re just going to do comedy capers with a Feyenoord defence vs the Champions League finalists (and some Barca thrown in)?

        Sounds like fun. Especially if we manage to win against all odds. Still, losing to Chile and Brazil would be too boring for me too watch. So then I want some more comedy capers and the only fumes coming from our players cause they’re on fire scoring goals left and right.

      2. Here’s what we’ll do (if you’ve read some of my other comments):

        We’ll have a whole bunch of comedy capers and snatch that Cup away from under the noses of all the top Champions League players with an almost completely Feyenoord defence and give all of Europe (mostly, the rest of the world as well) the biggest WTF moment they’ve ever had. And then when people or the media asks:

        How the hell did you manage that?

        We will all say….

  17. @Van Hessilbaink: I agree with you about Van Aanholt he can be our LB with this system.

    I disagree with you about Afellay and Van Ginkel because even when I also think they are great players they don’t deserve to be on the plane to Brazil. I believe LVG gave Van Ginkel an opportunity to show himself but realized he is out of form.

    Afellay hasn’t been playing for 2 long years, he played some months with Schalke but it’s not enough for him to be selected.

    De Guzman and Fer should both go. Fer has a huge fighting spirit he can be used as a great sub he has showed last summer with the U-21 he can be valuable as a sub.

    I think we can play 5-3-2 against Spain because they have a better midfield (in paper) but I believe LVG can play 4-3-3 against Chile and Australia.

    1. I think PVA and Guzman and Fer will make it. LVG said that LB is a concern spot, hence he includes PVA and examine this spot again.
      The 5-3-2 can be easily switched to 3-5-2 (LB, RB move up and the 3 central defenders spread out to cover for the spaces left behind by LB, RB) or other formations. It is how LVG decides to play and if the players can adapt quickly to his vision.
      We seems to do well when the expectation is low and/or we have many unknowns and not do well when expectation is high. Using this reasoning I’m optimistic about our chance as pretty much 90% of experts/analysts predict Spain and Chile will advance. Let’s cheer Oranje on!

  18. To battle in the world cup high level,we need to be flexible.Here is my thoughts….

    Playing against Spain,formation 5-3-2
    Playing against Chile,formation 4-2-3-1
    Playing against Australia,formation 4-3-3

    Hup Holland Hup !!!

    1. yeah! let’s give some football lessons. Show the world we can play all formations, put some 4-4-2 in there later on as well possibly playing with a Sneijder+VDV combo in the middle of that 4-4-2 midfield (diamond shape? vGaal has done diamond shape before I think, Robben and Depay on the sides of the midfield and Hunter and vPersie as the 2 up front for full offence, not necessarily at the start of a game, where you could start with de Jong instead of VDV at the back of the diamond, or is it called a square/window on its side, I thought it was called a diamond back long ago).

      1. what I’m referring to as the 4 in midfield looks like a square standing on one of its point (which would be de Jong at the start of the game, our anchor, our rock in the breaking waves, 1 defensive midfielder, as Orange lions should play with guts, no guts, no glory would have been my slogan then).

        1. it IS a diamond if you count all 6 players ahead of the defence and watch Sneijder with 3D-glasses on, which might make for an interesting experience.

    2. if you think about, a lot of our players playing abroad have played all these formations at at least one point in their careers. They should be familiar with it.

    3. I personally like the 4-4-2 a lot cause you don’t need to put so many eredivisie players in the line-up (and Depay is worth a try over Lens). You’ll have a solid midfield and offensive line. The only thing you have to worry about is your defensive line, and I don’t think you can fix that by adding another CB at eredivisie-level anyway, you fix it by picking a keeper that will actually stop those few important chances+goals we had against us in qualifying/friendlies (the Estonia goals, the Japanese goals, the French goals). Then nobody would have been talking about a defensive problem.

      1. while it would have still been there though, but only the very best would have been able to exploit it, such as Messi, Ronaldo, Ribery, Suarez, perhaps Aguero and Costa (1 goal for Costa, we can deal with that by scoring 2, 1 for each of Hunter and vPersie, ideal would be them also getting the assists on eachother as a good start to the rest of the tournament).

        It’s tough to break defences where the weather is calm. At the moment, we panic when the first serious shot on goal is an immediate goal (and an uneasy tention before that knowing that it will happen, you can’t give anything away, walking on eggs football).

      2. actually, against Estonia, you probably would have only had to stop the first goal. Then they won’t get that same hope/impression that they can so easily score and even win if they just go for it, which they did.

  19. My 23:
    Striker:Van Persie Huntelaar
    Winger: Robben Lens Depay Boetius
    AM:Van der Vaart Sneijder
    CM: De Guzman Leroy Fer Clasie
    DM: Nigel De Jong
    LWB: Kongolo
    CB: Indi Vlaar Veltman Rekik
    RB: Janmaat Verhaegh
    GK: Cillissen Krul Vorm
    This squad has an average age of 25.56 (I hope we left Kuyt out). It might be the youngest squad in the world cup, at least one of the youngest.

  20. 532 is new for my brains but in that case, this would be my starting 11:

    Depay. Van Persie

    Sneijder. Robben. Vd Vaart

    De Jong

    Kongolo. M Indi. De Vrij. Janmaat


  21. I noticed quite a few of you have listed BMI as one of the three CB’s over Rekik.

    Personally, I thought BMI was one of the worst players on the field vs. France when he was playing LCB, whereas Rekik looked much more composed and seemed to form a better partnership with Vlaar.

    1. don’t judge by one game. Indi was not at fault for both goals against France. It was Blind. Indi played consistently well since his debut for NT.
      If we only judge players by one game then Bruma would have been in the squad. Janmaat would not get a 2nd chance after his horrible debut.

      1. If Blind plays we will truly have a mediocre athlete on the field in a tourney of the highest quality. He knows the game, but athletically he doesn’t have enough to play in a defensive role.

      2. quote: ” Indi was not at fault for both goals against France. It was Blind.”

        and Cillessen (mostly 1st, a little bit the 2nd) and vdWiel (2nd, so much space, that’s not defending, he was the closest to prevent that goal and close/block the space).

  22. This is a mix of lethal speed (Depay, Robben, Kongolo, Janmmat) with clever passers like Sneijder and VDV. And De Jong as destroyer with obviously Van Persie as the star forward. With this availibility of speed on counters and overlaps, Sneijder and VDV can cut any defense with their clever passes, and then we have the brilliance of Robben and Van Persie that can always be game changers. This could be a lethal team – seemingly defensive but in reality extremely dangerous and offensive.

    1. Yes, but you need high quality in the midfield to get the ball–and I think that will be a Dutch weakness. When the Dutch have the ball moving forward Sneijder and VDV are clever indeed–but when the other team has it they offer nothing to win it back. Midfield will be the team’s biggest weakness, IMO.

      1. Speed has to be our defensive advantage as well. Some players have to cover for Sneijder and VDV when the opponent has the ball. The defensive line is now much faster than it was before, so this should help.

  23. We do not seem to have the quality we have had in previous years. So I think we just need to go as compact as possible with a block of 5 brutally defensive players and then 4 x speed merchants on the wings plus Huntelaar up front.


    van Persie

    Depay Robben

    de Jong Fer

    Kongolo Rekik Vlaar Janmmaat

    1. just noticed a detail in that match (perhaps I’ll share more), but I feel BMI should not be so quick to play back to the keeper at 9:56 game time (15:37 video time).

      I can see other options and space towards Clasie (he could dribble into that direction as well depending on what the Turk closest to him is going to do, if that Turk comes to close, Blind should be opening up towards the side if Blind tracks back a bit and makes himself available). Possible also some space towards Robben allthough I can’t quite see that. But notice how things progress from there, they can’t quite get the build-up right and I feel it starts right at 9:56 but Clasie has another opportunity to turn into space and look for a good forward pass where he insteads opts for the easy safe choice back, which just doesn’t help the situation, just watch what happens later at 10:22 and onwards, it takes till 11:00 and a Turk falling down hoping to get a call from the ref in his favor to get some grip back again.

      Of course this is just looking at 1 minute of the game shortly after we just scored, but this should not be the case when you’re only at 1-0. The intent to counter or think and play forward efficiently, effectively and quick/instinctively (lacking in both moments for BMI and Clasie) should be always present, even after you’ve just scored (sometimes especially, when the opponent is so focused on scoring a quick equalizer that they open up at the back).

      Those kind of backpasses is what get’s you in trouble against Spain and Chile in particular (they’ll be preying on those like a….I dunno, preying mantis? Couldn’t think of anything). And those kind of passes (and thinking, don’t see them look towards the spaces either, or an intent to dribble in that direction) will prevent you from having a free fluid flowing attack creating chances against someone like Australia such as we saw against Hungary. The game will be more like vs France, ball possession, useless safe passes (which aren’t really safe as I explained with the preying mantis thing), not enough good chances created.

    2. I also noticed Fer being a part of our second goal which I had forgotten how nice that goal actually was, nice quick clever passing after a hospital ball by Sneijder gets saved by Clasie (also nicely done fearlessly dealing with the risk to his legs) that ultimately leads to Sneijder making up for his hospital ball with the goal.

      So Fer gets a + again in my mind for being in the starting line-up cause I had forgotten about that (the Turkey game was our last competetive game after all).

      But then again, I think I already had him in my preferred starting line-up vs Ecuador (but at least I’ll have a slightly better feeling about it now, cause when I looked at my starting line-up, I wasn’t all that impressed seeing all the names I was missing and their replacements I chose in that line-up, de Jong > Fer, Robben > Promes were the most notable ones, but I felt my line-up looked rather inexperienced at that level: EC, WC, Champions League knockout stages).

      1. As I understand it now Klaassen has already been dropped from the squad so I guess I have to do a new line-up vs Ecuador anyway:


        This is just so messed up because of vGaal’s choices, but I won’t complain cause I already learned what’s going to happen at this WC during last EC anyway (it’s a 1-5-3-2 or whatever). I can’t find any good midfielders capable of scoring goals on a regular basis that I can put in front of the defence (á la Strootman), so I just picked Promes (earlier I had Klaassen there who scores almost as much as Promes and is pretty good at ball-recovery). vGaal will probably put deGuzman there, 4 goals in 34 games, most or all from freekicks, say goodbye to any goals from the midfield during open play, 3 assists, say goodbye to assists as well, Fer? Worse, but at least he’s got an excuse cause his team is just as crap, Blind? Mwuahahaha, best not mention his stats, Clasie? Well at least you might get some assists, don’t expect goals from him though, Wijnaldum? Really, we’re going to do the Affelay 2012 script again? I’ve already seen that movie, Vilhena? Who is that? I’ll go have a look, hmmm… a 19 year old, 1.75m tall dwarf who apparently can score a few more goals for Feyenoord in the eredivisie than their other dwarf Clasie can and has just as many assists? Wow, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City must be lining up to get him (and then complain later that you didn’t have Strootman’s height and physique in the midfield, right? Sounds a bit boring, still not really complaining, I can always watch something else, like Game of Thrones or something or that South Park episode with the garden of betrayal, or was that the game?).

        I’m really impressed.

        1. who needs another defensive midfielder that hardly ever scores when you’re already playing with 5 eredivisie-level (Vlaar isn’t much of an improvement) defenders anyway. How many dodgy players you wanna field and how defensive you wanna get (adding extra eredivisie defenders to the team at the expense of possible major league or WC-hardened midfielders perhaps, thinking about the WC now, not the Ecuador game)?

          I thought vGaal was going to be less defensive than vMarwijk. Well, at least one surprising plot twist in this movie. Are we going to get more surprises? Like no more media headlines or picture captions saying something like “a fuming van Gaal” or “Louis van Gaal fumes at Netherlands ‘decline’…” like we’ve already had? Usually in movie scripts, too much repetition doesn’t work very well concerning it’s entertainment value.

          1. that first question btw would be my question to van Gaal if I was allowed to interview him, but of course, he can always answer that with….

    1. Alistair and Simon, I love your line ups but I am afraid we need more legs and lungs.

      I like Simon’s line up but I’d move Depay up and bench Huntelaar and have someone like De Guzman in midfield as our biggest concern is the fact that Strootman’s work ethic is out and De Jong, Robben, etc will not be able to compensate for it.

    1. That first 15 minutes is where I think Holland will fold, unfortunately. We have a history of being rattled when the opposition scores. I watched Chile vs. Germany not too long ago, and I think there’s no way we’d be able to contain that kind of pressure. We even looked flustered when the Japanese were pressing us.

      I haven’t seen Kongolo play, but I’m just hoping he won’t be as bad as Willems was vs. Germany. The LB situation just seems eerily similar to 2 years ago.

      I still think LvG should have went with Erik Pieters, a guy who doesn’t show fear, and is playing week-in, week-out vs. some of the toughest competition rather than throwing another youngster in the deep end.

  24. Things would have been so much different for the NT if Afellay would have accepted the loan move to Villareal, Strootman didn’t get injured, and van Ginkel didn’t go to Chelsea.

  25. Chelsea won the Under-21 league in England tonight with a win over Manchester United at Old Trafford – captained by 19 year-old Dutch centre back Nathan Ake – let’s hope he doesn’t go the same way as Bruma and Aanholt, who looked like world beaters for a while. Shame Mourinho doesn’t know how to develop home grown talent (great manager though he is).

  26. Was rummaging through some videos, and stumbled on this from Van Dijk.

    To be honest, with his lack of exposure, being in an inferior league and still not part of the Dutch set-up, I still haven’t seen much of him.
    However watching this and a few others made me realize how comfortable on the ball he is, and what a commanding figure he poses.
    It’s such a shame Van Gaal didn’t at least ask to see him up close.

    1. I agree Van Dijk deserves a closer look. That video post captures some nice highlights — especially the last goal. How often do you see dribbling like that from a center back — or from a midfielder for that matter?

      On the plus side he has experience against Milan and Barcelona in big games, but on the negative side, some of the results might have given LvG hesitation – like that 6-1 drubbing against Barcelona, and 5 goals given up against Milan in two games. Even though that may have been the team’s fault, I think he may need to prove himself on a team with results in some big games.

      1. He was horrible against Milan in the 2nd game. All other Champinons League games he played well. he did improve a lot. However, I think it is fair to leave him out. Van Dijk was impressive because he was playing in Scotland where defender barely know how to play real soccer. Those long passes can be seen in Eredivisie frequently, Denswil, Veltman, De Vrij, Gouweleeuw Bruma Vlaar can all give passes like that.

  27. Van Dijk was probably the best Celtic player against Barcelona..I still can’t believe he wasn’t called up..
    At least he should have been tested in these three friendlies..

  28. I love the fact that players who made poor choices in leaving the Eredivisie are now struggling to get into Oranje. I hope it encourages youngsters to stay in Holland and improve themselves and the Durch league in the future. I can’t pretend to know all the reasons but:
    Affelay – Barcelona (really? Are you THAT good?)
    Lens – Kiev. Wtf?
    Bruma, van Ginkel – toooo soon guys
    Van Dijj – Scotland Why?

    It was such a pity when the Ajax team of ’95 broke up with the players still barely out of De Toekomst. Perhaps van Gaal cares for more than just himself.

    1. Van ginkel would have certainly made the cut had he not torn his ACL..
      He would have played a bit more under Mou in the second half of the season..The injury is quite unfortunate for a player of his caliber..I’m sure he’ll bounce back!

      Ibi certainly could have been a very good player but he’s just ruined himself..totally..
      He had the chance to opt for a full transfer to Schalke last season but he simply refused to go..The reason:
      so that he can sit on his ass,warm the bench and post videos of Messi and Iniesta on his official FB page..
      I had high hopes of him but he has disappointed me..While I certainly agree that injuries have played a major part in his misfortunes, but he should have left Barcelona when he had the chance..I don’t want him at Oranje anymore..

      Although Lens has made a weird choice in choosing the Ukrainian league, he’ll certainly be a part of the final 23..mark my words..he’s a personal favourite of LVG..

      Van Dijk’s choice was ok.. he has grown a lot this season and is probably Celtic’s best player..
      His interceptions, tackling and passing have all been verygood..
      He needs to step up a bit more and big clubs in England will soon start knocking on his door. (I guess they already have started doing so).

  29. Van Der Moot finally scored. We are playing the best game in the group stage today. Hopefully we can win U17 Euro Champion again this year. Too many attacking talents (Nouri, Paal, Slabbekoorn, Berenstein, Bergwijn, Ould-Chikh) and two goo B2B Schuurman and Van De Beek but the backline was average Verdonk scored a brilliant long range shot. Especially the two full backs.

  30. Oke, so Netherlands U17 won with 2-0 from England.

    Bit arrogant from England to play with their second team, though I can see 2 benefits from actually not minding to come second. Rather preferring to play Portugal other than possibly Germany (who still need luck and a result to qualify mind you) and keeping their players fresh for the next 2 games.

    The benefit for Netherlands playing near their best team comes down to what van Marwijk taught us (me), that winning is a habit. The more you win, the stronger the habit becomes. Games that otherwise would just have been lost, tend to be turned into a marginal win somehow (or a draw if you will) after a winning streak. Players also believe they are entitled to win from winning all the time, they become self confident. We broke their winning streak and kept ours intact (Elite round + this Euro). How this advantage plays out against the freshness argument we can see later on. Depends on who wins the tourney :D.

    So we did not concede. A miracle. Not really. England looked comfortable at the back with the ball, but they missed automatism at the front from all the changes. Our central defenders were not free of guild again. Verdonk lost the ball 2 times (one time first half and one time second half) to a pressing England player. That is not acceptable. Next time they will go in or 1 of the 2. Easy picking and such goals ripple through a team. It makes a team uncertain. Attackers attack with much more confidence when they know that the fort at the back is secure. If mistakes already begin at that level, then it gets people thinking. Verdonk also did not cover through. I was amazed that England players did not just run up in the final third at the end. Suddenly an English “10” player found himself in acres of space without an Orange shirt near him. Ideal position for a distance shot, or forcing a Dutch defender to choose with a run up and then go for the through ball. Next time this will happen. Covering through and mistake free build up are not in check. To give an example of the last point, England’s second goal in the friendly at the start of this year happened the same way, with Veendorp taking all the time to turn around for build up to then lose it to a chaser who converted easily.

    Talking about Veendorp, I do not like him. Bit of a Ron Vlaar. I want Netherlands to produce a Koscielny kind of CB. More elegant, quick CB’s. Veendorp is slow and even slower with turning around his own axis. Not even that good of a header. Both his and Verdonk’s long balls did not reach the striker. I also think build up is too slow. That results in the two mid players not getting the ball to do some build up, though today this was a bit better than against Turkey. That game was horrible from a build up perspective.

    A little positive from today was Savastano. No midget and I did not see big mistakes from him. Kept his area in check up to a certain point. later on he had an England hot shot against him (Robberts) and that player choose to go inside all the time. If that player had detected weakness, then maybe he had tried to go outside. Or maybe he is a winger that always goes inside. It’s a popular thing these days. I actually like to see him for another game. Verloo has been disappointing, especially against Malta of all teams, but also against Turkey he looked powerless when they headed in the second goal. Was not even able to challenge. If he is better on ball and more proactive, then I can see the argument, but he is not, at least not in this Euro. So Savastano for next game please.

    Ter Avest is ter Avest. Hard working mediocre footballer. Was better today than against Malta. I guess we have to play with 11 players and the other back van der Meer needs to be kept as far away as possible from the pitch.

    I was close to say that Beek actually did go through a lower limit, but he improved right before the first goal all the way to the second half. So a mediocre start, but got back on the horse. Important player for this Dutch side. Maybe the most important. The creative attacking players up front can make it or not later in in their career, but this player is a steady grower you are almost certain off that he will reach the senior team one day and turn into a van Ginkel/Strootman kind of player. Not mistake free, but his football fundamentals are oke and he combines it with probably the best mentality of any player. His pretty complete football quality’s are build on professionalism and that is gold for reaching the top.

    Oke so now we get to the ghost Schuurman. Ghosting is exactly what this guy does all game. Did he play? Did he not play? 35 minutes past by and I suddenly discovered he was actually on the field. He stands much too high. He wants to score so badly, even when his shot makes no sense. Eagerness to score is good. Making it the focal point of your game, oke if you have to, however that does not mean other things are not important as also. He is still a midfielder. With players in the Dutch U17 team that like to have the ball (Paal, Nouri, Ould-Chikh), it is good to have that balanced out by a guy taking care of the off ball runs. It’s complementary. But his runs are still not self sacrificing enough for me. They are aimed to score all the time for my liking. As I said earlier on, the Bilal goal vs Turkey happened after an outside run from Schuurman. Has barely done that since. Bilal has a good shot so him getting more room to go inside would be smart. Off ball runners are often associated with self sacrificing players, but Schuurman gives me the taste he is a selfish one, which is an achievement. On top of that, with the Nouri pass on him when going deep, we saw that his first touch is mediocre. Could not take it in his run. Anyway, there is a place for this player in this team, just wish he did better with his field play and type of runs.

    Paal was bad today on ball, but he put in a good defensive shift, though one time he was lazy chasing an English player. He must have been surprised with his role. Schuurman stands often so deep that Paal is almost a more defensive midfielder. Nouri did this against Malta and both players have not convinced me in this setup. Later on Slabbekoorn did stand deeper than Paal I would say.

    Nouri. Well, he is just a 10. Against Malta we saw he was not special building things up more at the back. No Pirlo. On the wing he just lacks speed. He came inside here and there and then it sometimes looked oke. He did some defensive work. Good. The problem with Nouri is, and I have said this after the Future Cup as well, he has no power in his shot. One time he went on goal with the ball, should have rammed it through the net, but goes for a ship when it did not make much sense. I think he did that, as his shot is not hard enough. The chip is covering up for a weakness, not a wrong choice from 2 options as the other option is not really there for him. I also saw a clip of him the other day, doing 2 roulette’s in midfield and people might say how 2 opponents were not able to take the ball off him. However he did that as he came short in terms of speed to benefit from a short window of space between the 2 players standing too far from each other. Had he possessed more speed, he would have created a goal scoring opportunity in that situation. Nouri did not score today and should have. He lacks effectiveness. His creativity is very effective, but that is not what I mean here.

    Ould-Chikh. With this player I turn it around. After his displays one could say he is a talent to keep an eye on. I say he will flop until he proves otherwise. Has been with 4 or 5 clubs before the age of 16. Rumored he had trouble at FC Twente B1 with the coach. Is he another Leonardo? Another hyper guy that looks to be understood all the time, rather trying to understand the coach (his concerns) and the team needs? Was even forgotten he was selected somehwere before the Elite round and did not turn up for the NT I heard … The point I make is that he has to prove that his quality’s are build on a professional mindset. Anyway in this game he worked hard. Defended, chased players and even the keeper. He maybe displayed the best mentality of any player on the field. Really looked like he was stoked to play. Ran the ball outside at times, but other than that I was pretty happy with him. Getting him in 1 vs 1 situations is paramount for the team. That’s why I hammer on Schuurman. He must make more outside runs, around Bilal, so that he has the freedom to do what comes up in him. Another thing I noticed is that Bilal and Nouri like each other in the field. A bit too much with free kicks and corners. It payed out with the corner and there they used each other well. I just ask myself if they need stand next to each other with every dead ball situation.

    Owobowale. I have made the point that in the past the player that was not able to play football was put on goal. With the current youth development it looks like they give these kind of kids 2 options. In goal or in striker position. Bit harsh on this player, but Dutch striker position must be at an all time low quality wise. Owobowale could not impress me with his sub last time and this time I have no idea how he managed to kick the ball over the bar at the start of the game after that Nouri chip. Never looked threatening. No good close control. Not a target man winning header duels and give it to a second man. No excessive speed to get away from his marker. Hard worker probably. Did his best. All I can say. On another note, I did not see him getting 1 ball that needed his height. I say that, as Slabbekoorn could easily have played striker the way Owobowale was “reached” by his team mates. Why that option is not used I do not know. Too much risk of actually getting to see better intricate play up front?

    Moot scored a goal, but he is a statue on legs. It was mostly the work of Nouri and Bilal to begin with. I just can’t begin to understand why Netherlands invests in these brand of strikers. Do I have to feel good about him killing off the game? Good for him, but what is the long term gain by promoting these types? You always play with 10 men. It does not build towards higher paradigm football. I sense no ambition with pushing these types forward as the strikers for the NT. Do we ever want to get close to the level of Spain or do we settle where for we are? We used to produce strikers like van Basten one time …

    Slabbekoorn had no impact on the game. Hard for him when England is in the chase and he was also not given a good ball to run up with. He is disappointing so far. That does not mean I agree with him sitting in the bench. Put him in as striker. Actually Bergwijn deserves that spot now, but in this game it should have been tried. Missed opportunity.

    Coach won another must win game to top the group. Is on a winning streak, but had to play his best players today. We will see if that comes back to bite us in terms of freshness later on. Missed an opportunity to play Slab as striker. Did not instruct Schuurman to go outside of wingers, making space for them at times. Schuurman pushing up so much does lead to quite some turnovers with potential danger as there was sudden room for Enland to run into. I thought England could have done more with their space at times. Furthermore this game tells us nothing as it was an English second team, nothing to feel comfortable about. Netherlands is still easily punishable at the back and I do not feel it is really addressed yet, other than the new face of Savastano at left back for a disappointing Verloo (if that change is made final). A small bright spot there on top of a cracker of a first goal by Verdonk. Worth to take a look at. Van Bronckhorst-esque …. not sure I would be able to articulate that word. Overall a fun game nevertheless and if the attacking players of 1997 do come through they could nicely fit on the defensive talents of the 2012&2012 winning sides. Complementary generations? Maybe.

    On another note, I have not seen van Bommel yet on TV. Is he with the group in Malta? Wonder why he is never zoomed in by the camera over these 3 games. Keep in mind that later today we get to see who we play in the semi’s. Scotland or possibly Germany.


    1. another great insight as ussual, thanks DRB 300!! I cant see the game but apparently it wasnt a good one!! I have one question: Did stekelemburg has tried Slaab in the striker role ever?? I certainly dont like Moot and Owobowale seems worst!!
      This group really lacks some good defensive players, but in adittion the attack seems very strong. Lets hope we dont play against Germany!! ahahha

      1. > “I have one question: Did stekelemburg has tried Slaab in the striker role ever?”

        I can’t answer this question with certainty, but I think he has not done this so far. Maybe a few minutes in a friendly, but then I must not have noticed this. Those games are not aired on TV, so that would be possible.

        Moot, Owobowale and Bergwijn have played striker this Euro. I am already happy with Bergwijn. Player with speed, ability and actually also an end result.

        > “I cant see the game but apparently it wasnt a good one!”

        Actually it was a nice game to watch IMO. Best game of Orange so far I saw written in a post and I can agree with that. I might have focused on the things that did not go well, rather then the things that did go well. I am looking who might reach the senior NT level and even could add something to the senior NT rather than being a passant. Things look different with that level in mind.

        No I enjoyed the game.


    2. Thanks for the analysis of the game DRB.
      I noticed you are always pretty negative on Nouri,pointing out his weaknesses,while he has so many strenghts. He is not fast,but has some speed in the first few meters(acceleration). And in my opinion that is all he needs,to get past someone and create something,get in a better position to pass. He is very creative with great handling speed it is almost impossible to get the ball away from him sometimes even though he is weak physically.

      In that regard he reminds me of Modric(also not fast),but a bit more forward thinking.

      1. > “In that regard he reminds me of Modric(also not fast),but a bit more forward thinking.”

        IMO, when he plays withdrawn from the final third, more in midfield next to van de Beek, he plays too many back passes. I also saw this at the Future Cup. However I think he got that drilled into him at Ajax. I prefer players that can turn around and give that brilliant pass and set things up. So not only turning open when there is space (pass on Bilal vs Turkey), also when there is no space and still being able to do it. I want bright players like him (who should be able to master this) to hone this more, now they are still playing at youth level. “Interests” only increase with every team he climbs and I don not believe it will ever come off the ground once he is pro.

        Nouri plays too mature for me already. I detect early signs of a robotic mindset. Especially players like him, I do not want to see back passing. Van de Beek also only back passing anymore when there is no real space. However he is no Nouri, so he is more pardoned in my book.

        We agree about the intrinsic quality’s of this player in this respect, but less so in the amount of ambition he demonstrates, with it. As always, I refer to the second half vs Japan for my vision. To realize that football with Netherlands, these kind of players need to play less risk free at youth level. Otherwise they will never learn it.

        > “He is not fast,but has some speed in the first few meters(acceleration). And in my opinion that is all he needs,to get past someone and create something,get in a better position to pass.”

        I agree that he is quicker than for example vdV and Sneijder. His thing is to run along the left edge of the box and then constantly threaten to cut back, shoot or whatever. Then he continues and this maneuvering is very often enough to get past a player. He combines quickness on the first meters with agility. Can turn around his axis very quick (he uses that also to shake chasing players on midfield off). However really taking somebody on, 1 vs 1 a la Bilal is not something I have seen a lot from him so far. That will only become less with higher age groups. Players go play increasingly risk free the older they get. So with that in mind I do not think he will ever become a real 1 vs 1 player. He will probably continue to do his left edge of the box thing and that is an effective weapon.

        To become really effective, he must develop a hard shot into the top right corner. Then he can do his run, but also cut inside and put in some curlers. IMO his shot is currently not hard and good enough. Either those 2 or sneak in a through pass. He had one for Owobowale today. Very good.

        > “He is very creative with great handling speed it is almost impossible to get the ball away from him sometimes even though he is weak physically.”

        He is a wonderful little player. Maybe I am a bit worried about the Maher syndrome. Output, assists and goals do define the good from the best. Just want Nouri to come good.


    3. The best thing to come out from the U17 Oranje victory is the assertion that DRB300 is an incurable perfectionist pessimist.
      He just won’t admit the strengths and superiorities of Oranje teams and always try to concentrate on the weaknesses. He does not do this out of spite like some already banned negativists racists but only because he wants all Oranje teams at any level to be at a perfect standard.

      Which is good news for the elftal. DRB300 is not that critical towards them as he is towards the kiddos of Steks, who by the way can easily become Euro Champs if they just keep their current level.

      Hup Holland

  31. Neither Depay or Boetius has the quality and effectiveness of Lenz,why stoning him??
    Depay,boetius,promes will eailsy get falldown when they face Carvjaal,zableta,maicon etc.WC you physique Depay might look like a muscle man and he is weaker than Lenz and wijnaldum.
    Dropping wijnaldum for Depay and boetius is utterstupidity.
    Kuyt has no business in team,when have strikers like hunter,RVP or even Fer and vaart can play as effective strikers than kuyt.
    Cut of guys MUST be
    Vilhena.too early

    Boetius perfectly weak
    kuyt for what????
    Patrick van annholt-unfortunate

    1. Agree on all your cuts except I’d keep PvA as neither Blind or BMI fit the kind of LB LvG needs in the system we’ll use vs. Spain.

      I think de Guzman will be cut too even though he deserves a spot over Clasie (who LvG will no doubt take because of his Dutch-league bias).

  32. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, but why would we do a 5-3-2, when our strength is in our wings, wouldn’t we want to do a 5-2-3.

    We could keep a solid front three of Robben, van Persie and Lens, have 2 box to box midfielders in Sneijder and de Jong or even Clasie, and park Blind in front of our back 4.

    My line-up would look like this:

    –Robben——-van Persie———-Lens

    ——–Sneijder——–de Jong——–


    –Kongolo—Martins Indi-de Vrij—Janmaat-


    1. what the hell are you smoking calling de jong and sneijder box to box? If anythin, I would switch blind and de jong.. de jong offers nothing going forward.

      But this line up will be worse than Euro 2012… we need to defend in numbers against Spain and Chile… We need 3 central defenders to avoid being exposed like Benzema did to us on the last friendly. We also need players that can transform defence into offence (and that’s where sneijder’s role is) and we need creative fast players on top (which is why I choose depay over lens).

      5-3-2 on defence with 7 in the box can quickly transition to 3-5-2 with 5 players pressing to get the ball back if we lose it high up the field.

    2. i agree with this lineup completely but would only add clasie for blind and switch positions (clasie partners sneijder and de jong above defense line)

  33. Dirk, in what world is Sneijder “box to box”? He doesn’t have the willpower to even work on his third of the pitch, let alone run up and down it defending and attacking.

    1. In the last world cup he was very much a box to box midfielder. I have a feeling he’ll step up for this one again, he may be a bit out of form at Galatasaray but he performs best in Orange.

      1. Did you miss EC 2012?! He hasn’t really performed for Oranje in the last two years, what makes you think he will start now?

        I’m not saying he couldn’t be a great player again, but on what would one base the optimism?

  34. Anyone here really dislike the distraction of LVG-to-United news???

    It is bothering the sh*T out of me… he should just make the announcement already and get it off his chest so we can focus on the matter at hand. WC2014!

    1. It’s basically a deal, they’re just working out the technicalities. But I agree, it’s very inappropriate timing. Juan Mata better be very careful if he plays against Holland otherwise he may lose his starting spot at United haha

      1. haha.. btw nice lineup.. i would interchange blind with clasie/fer depending on who performs best in training/friendlies but overall that is how it probably will look.

        i am just disappointed we didn’t bring Pieters to the LB fold.

    2. ah, the ‘that’s a stupid question’ fits within the framework of a good comedy, nice line from Star Trek DS9 (the 2nd episode with the geneticly enhanced people that Bashir helped, in the beginning, they get on board DS9 bypassing security by pretending to be a Star Trek admiral with cohorts, and answering difficult questions with: “That’s a stupid question”, “you’d be surprised at how well it works”, they mention later on when they’re explaining how they got passed the security and then do it once more to I think O’Brien when he asks a question).

  35. I am quite confident that despite the team is not very strong, World Cups and tournaments are not always won by the strongest squad but the one that can play as a real TEAM.

    And I am confident because Oranje started their preparations for the World Cup very early, we have a young team but with experienced lads…the important thing is that they can gel together. I think the game vs. Spain will not define the group. For Holland the big bets will be against Australia that we have to beat them yes or yes and then Chile too.

    Chile doesn´t have many top players beside Alexis and Vidal but they play very compact and progressive football…but their defence is shaky.

    By the way, Martins Indi also stated that in his view when we defend we play a 3-5-2, never with 5 defenders and when we attack the formation changes smoothly to a 3-4-3…With 3 central defenders well positioned, 2 open midfielders who can attack in the flanks and two holding mids, one that plays more a controlling position and the other one is allowed to attack a little bit more. Then an offensive midfielder like Sneijder, Van der Vaart or Wijnaldum that almost perform as a shawod striker and two forwards in players like Van Persie-Robben…Huntelaar will get many minutes because he is in very good form at the moment.

    At the moment Holland is an outsider for all analysts and without that huge pressure we can perform better…I am happy that although LVG is being chased by United and all the media fuzz, he is focused in Oranje and preparing well the team. Against Ecuador we will see many tests and players have a chance and I think that against Ghana and Wales we will observa almost the eleven players that will start at the WC against Spain.

    Bring it on!!!

  36. I am excited waiting for Ecuador team to see what LVG has in minds and how the players can execute his vision. However, at the same time I think we have a dilemma. Spain, Chile and Australia will have people in the stand watching us. Would we want to show them all of our cards now?

    1. LvG’s starters and plan…..

      Deception – Treachery – Craftiness
      Guile – Cunning – Craftiness – Trickery – Propaganda
      Smoke – Mirrors

    2. i agree hien, can you explain something in this article to me:

      “Five more individuals – Ajax goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer, his club-mate Davy Klaassen, PSV winger Luciano Narsingh, Chelsea midfielder Marco van Ginkel and Twente striker Luc Castaignos – make up the rest of the 20-man party for Saturday’s game at the Amsterdam Arena, though their hopes of making Brazil are already over.

      Each of the players still in with a shout count their caps in single figures, ensuring the competition for places will be stiff”

      Why would LVG play guys who are out of the Brazil plans????

  37. A comment I read on concerning Spain’s squad/line-up/30-man selection:

    “——————Casillas/de Gea/Reina——————

    this 22 are sure to be called by VDB (almost all of them were called in last friendly against Italy) ..but who will be 23rd? depends on what the good old coach is thinking …. my guess — one of Villa,Torres, Cazorla or Mata due to their international experience extra full back needed as Azpili can
    play both LB and RB …. J.Martinez can play RB too

    against fast attacking teams like Chile and other Latin teams, the old 4-2-3-1 might be better:

    super-subs: Koke/Thiago, Pedro, Negredo
    Azpili over Alba.. as Azpili is defensively better”

    end quote, me again: That right side (from our attacking perspective) looks like the only weak point we can exploit, that’ll be Robben’s job mostly. Especially if they play Alba and Ramos (or even Albiol). Their right side (from their attacking perspective) looks like their biggest threat (Iniësta has been off this season). The funny thing though, it’s exactly the same for us, they’ll be attacking our weakest point with their strongest point, and we’ll be attacking their weakest point with our strongest point, which also happens to be the exact same sides (LB and RW). I still believe we can match them in the middle if the right players are picked (don’t expect much from Clasie, Blind, deGuzman, Fer, Wijnaldum or Vilhena). Would be a lot easier with Klaassen in the selection if you want 2 def.midfielders. Their danger as usual will also be complemented by goalscoring ‘defensive’ midfielders (see the 4-2-3-1) such as Fabreguas, Xavi or Koke (1 or 2) allthough I don’t know if they’ll start the game like that.

  38. Hien:

    “However, at the same time I think we have a dilemma”…

    All teams, coaches and assistants will be studying their rivals. In these prep games the results most of the times do not reflect the level of the team once the tournament starts.

    For example, Spain before Euro 2012 played very badly in friendlies and during the Euro they connected very well and won it agains…or take Italy as an exampley, they play friendlies without the same passion and even in the first rounds of the tournament they start slowly but generally they grow when it matters. Hopefully Oranje can start peaking when needed.

  39. ah, now I understand how I need to appreciate this movie, it’s a comedy:

    the first joke is getting 2 guys who both only scored 1 goal all season selected ahead of a guy that scored 10 times as many (for a position that is not as dissimilar as the storyline would have you believe)

    the 2nd joke is a keeper is used that gets hammered against the first European League opponent he runs into while a keeper that holds Brazil at bay in Brazil, i.e. a cleansheet, is ignored (the Uruguay and Italy games weren’t bad either)

    the 3rd joke is our 2 best goalscorers not being allowed to play together (and supposedly competing and therefore causing friction, or 1 coming in cold and not gelled into the team)

    the 4th and ultimate joke, Robben getting injured and being replaced by Kuyt

    Bonus joke ending, a fuming van Gaal.

  40. @Bitterballen: I do not understand that article either. Castaignos was hurt and replaced by Van Ginkel who was cut.
    I do not know what kind of effort is expected as all players (except RVP and Robben) has to fight for 1 of the 21 spots left. I would like to see this team put together a string of 3 win (how many friendlies in a row that we tie already?). I understand that the level is not the same as when the WC starts, but they need to build some confidence and winning attitude like 2010 squad.
    @Mario: I sure hope Spain will have a slow start, losing 1-0 to us first. They can take on Brazil on 2nd ground.

  41. Can anyone add or confirm any of our younger players linked to big clubs.. this is what i have so far:

    BMI -> Manchester U

    Strootman -> Manchester U

    De Vrij -> Manchester U / Liverpool / Spurs

    Sneijder -> Spurs

    Janmaat -> Arsenal

    Clasie -> AC Milan / Arsenal

    Veltman -> Spurs / Arsenal

    Since the media is distracting LVG and us from the WC we too can think about other things for a while? I agree our youngsters should play in Holland for as long as possible but it’s nice to dream every now and again…. Guys? Thoughts?

  42. @Hien:

    I buy your result of Spain losing to us in the first game.

    Many of you here ara scared of Chile…man, what has Chile done at World Cups??? Nothing!!! In South America they talk a lot but besides Brazil and Argentina there is no other South American top team…Colombia, Chile, Uruguay and all others are good teams but they have not achieved anything recently (just Uruguay performed good last World Cup but they were in the cold for decades).

    Let´s stay positive, Oranje has a great future ahead and this World Cup I think we will have fun…I don´t know if Oranje will go far enough but I am sure we will see a very eager Oranje and with a lot of attack. Van Gaal´s teams always play attacking football with compact lines.

  43. Van Bommel is on vacation. He’s not with the group. I don’t want to throw flowers at myself, but I really knew from long time ago that this Ould-Chikh is one of the greatest wingers talent we have. I even posted about about him a couple of times here. If you type his name on Twitter you will get amazed how this lad has made an impact onto English fans.

  44. Spain is the upper hand team in our group, but i expect them to fail because of them being exhausted, all other options are in their favour.

  45. @ sol

    Guy you the second person besides me to actually see the true picture as to what is in store for NT at the wc.Im not trying to sound negative here but the fact remains the same we jus dont have the x factor needed to spark at WC. It will be same scenario as at EC 2012. When RVP cant score then van gaal will introduce hunter which will be of no use. Vaart for sneidjer or vise visa when they run out gas and the last change will be a techical one.

    but I guess the squad is the most competent one we have got now and hopefully they will lay the platform for 2016 – 2018

    1. miracles DO happen, I still believe in our chances for success. Spain’s big names are meant to fall, they’ve got way too many of them anyway, it’s overdone. They can only use 11 and amongst those 11 they need players that will outperform our best players: Sneijder, vPersie, Hunter, Robben. If they can’t do that, all those expensive big name players aren’t going to make a difference either (not to mention that defenders like Ramos, Albiol and Alba have similar issues as a de Vrij, Blind, Vlaar or BMI (not always making the smartest choices, prone to blunders).

  46. Hunter- Lens



    De Jong

    Kongolo -BMI – Janmaat


    It is very very vunerable to use 5-3-2 given that only time will how long we can sustain the pressure. Its jus like inviting enemy on the door step

  47. Kluivert says it is 3-5-2 that turns into 3-4-3 diamond shape on attack.

    My 2 cents about the line-up will be like :

    On defence :

    _____ Cillessen ____

    __ Veltman __ Vlaar __ Indi

    Janmaat ______________ Lens
    ______ clasie ____ Blind ___
    __________ Sneijder______

    ___ Robben ___ van persie ___

    On attack :
    ______ Cillesseen ____

    Veltman __ Vlaar ___ indi

    _______ Clasie ______
    _janmaat _______ Blind
    _______ sneijder _____

    Robben __ RVP ___ Lens

    Any thoughts , guys ?

  48. Possible line-up for tomorrow game :
    Cillessen ; Veltman , De vrij , Indi ; Janmaat , Clasie , ,Wijnaldum ,Blind , Kongolo ; Depay and Persie.

    I think Rekik and De vilhena will play in the 2nd half.

  49. Rekik and Vilhena are not present.

    Louis allowed 4 players to go back to young Oranje for their two games. Only Kongolo and Depay stay with the big boys.

    Depay will start vs Equador as will RVP.

    1. I think you can pretty much fill in Kongolo as well then now. I think we’ll see something like this:

      Janmaat*Veltman*de Vrij*BMI*Kongolo

      (somewhere was said that there were going to be 10 eredivisie players in the line-up + vPersie based on vGaal’s statements)

      Which to me looks comical enough for this comedy so that’s my best guess. Luckily, these players can still play an OK game (Schaars, Schaken or Kuyt in that line-up would have made it worse). It’s not the kind of team that wins 8-1 vs Hungary though, so I’m not expecting gallery play. Compared to who I would have picked and to get the best preperation for the WC, I feel it’s a pretty poor choice.

      A ‘1 goal more’-victory over Ecuador with that team is already either good comedy or just showing off (cause we’ve got more left over for our opponents at the WC, such as Robben and Sneijder, if we can already manage to win against Ecuador with this line-up…).

      1. maybe the Ecaudorian coach will do the same for his Ecuadorian talents (and their agents, and their clubowners and some media outlets, and probably some other people that will benefit from the exposure of these marketable products, i.e. players).

      2. I’ll do that line-up in ratings (mostly from what I remember from their last game for us, or if I can’t remember I’ll make something up now):


      3. well Kuyt in Clasie’s spot might be an improvement in terms of bossing the midfield. And Kuyt knows how to setup goals as well (assists) so you’ll retain that.

        If he still has that stamina of his, you’ll have better running capacity there as well (which is part of that ‘bossing’ I was talking about).

        But the dribbling and ball handling…you’ll definitely lose something there (but because Clasie is easily dispossessed/pressured because he’s not fast enough, his dribbling isn’t all that useful anyway, a bit like Sneijder, he retains his advantage in agility and ball handling though, which go hand in hand). Perhaps he’s got a better eye for finding vPersie and Depay and putting them through on goal with ‘just the right’ passing. But Kuyt had a nice setup for Sneijder vs Turkey working together with Fer, haven’t seen the same from Clasie yet in Oranje (except that he was also a part of that same goal, but in a different way, not really in a setting up a chance or creating a chance kind of way).

        1. and Kuyt scored 10! goals in his league (6 first goals). Compared to Sneijder’s 12 (7 first), not too shabby, not too shabby at all. The last one is from march though.

          But whatever, we’ll never get to see Kuyt at nr.6 anyway (or counted as a def.midfielder if he’s played somewhere on the midfield).

          1. Kuyt can “boss” a bit, as you say–he’s more physical than some/many Dutch players and of course he can run a lot.

  50. Guys just a quick question about clasie and wijnaldum, how much do they offer in a defensive sense. Like I’m not expecting either to be nigel de jong but are they good pressers or at intercepting etc

  51. Don’t forget, guys.
    532 is one LESS defensive player than 4231. And we did pretty good with that (6 guys in defence) last WC.

    My preferred option is 343 – more triangles than any other formation. Great for a quick game – but do we have the players?

    An attacking 532 pressed high up the pitch is like covering the opposition with a blanket, smothering them, offering little threat ourselves but affording them no forward space. And we should have the numbers to remain safe from the turnaround. I think this is what LVG wants.
    I think he sees that we do not have the pace and trickery and even skill to out-pass and out-fox teams.
    I think he wants us to ‘creep’ up the pitch and smother the opponent to death. And let our quality dictate in the crucial areas even where we will be outnumbered..

    And that’s when…

    Overlapping wingbacks.

    Jumpers for goalposts.

    I dunno.

    haha! when Van Gaal announces his final squad and we know his formation better, I shall do another Wisdom Of Jan’s Blog experiment!!

    1. Sneijder, De Jong, VdV, Lens and Robben will arrive at Tuesday. First XI selected based on players who first arrived at Hoenderloo, apart from RvP.

    2. In Brazil, out of this line up Van Gaal will replace Blind-Clasie-Wijnaldum- Depay
      by Sneijder, Robben, De Jong and Lens and that will be our starting line up. Maybe replace Vlaar by one of the CD

      That’s it…..

  52. Dortmund got to the UCL final by playing a completely young team with no star players… I don’t see why Oranje can’t do that…

    The thing is, we play spain which is mostly Barcelona (which Ajax beat by the way) in addition to some Real and Atletico players. We play them without their best players Messi and Ronaldo. I think Spain is totally beatable… their key players are getting old, they won’t be prepared as well, the top 3 teams have cruscial games to save their season still to come: Real play Atletico May 24th – Barca play Atletico this week, motivation for a team that has won everything in the past 6 years will be an issue.

    Just saying… we have a young team and we can either entertain or go bust… there is no pressure on this team, and teams with no pressure generally entertain.

    1. The crucial difference is fitness.
      Dortmund were pressing all over the pitch for most of the game and due to this they could win the ball back and therefore take more chances in playing fast paced passing attacking game.

      oranje are not fit at all, esp. the Netherlands based players. They cannot press as much for so long, therefore they cannot be compared.

      1. With discipline and the right well trained player a team can press 90 minutes. Zwolle pressed Ajax for 90 minutes. Ajax pressed Barcelona for 60 minutes.

  53. For those who plan to travel to Brazil to see Netherlands’ games:

    They will be staying at the glamorous Caesar Park Ipanema Hotel, situated on the famous Ipanema beach.

    Louis Van Gaal’s team will be put through their paces at the Estadio Jose Bastos Padilha Gavea, Flamengo’s training base, which is little more than a mile down the road.

    Their first group match, a repeat of the 2010 final against Spain, is being played in Salvador, a one hour 30 minute flight from Rio and a distance of 757 miles.

    The second group game is a 961 mile journey to Porto Alegre to take on Australia and they finish off with a short half hour flight to Sao paulo to take on Chile.



    “Mentally I’m fresh. If you play a full season you can be a little bit tired at the end of the season. But I’m fresh, the knee is fine as well so I’m looking forward to it.”

    “I’m 100%. It’s just that I need a full game now. We have three friendlies to play [and] my last game against Southampton [for United] was 67 minutes so hopefully I can play a bit more.”

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