Guys, we will give this a try. Live commentary from yours truly.
Oranje to start with three changes in the team: Koopmeiners for Berghuis and Klaassen for Janssen. Gakpo will move up to Janssen’s spot up front and Klaassen on 10. Timber replaces De Ligt. Van Gaal opts for muscle in midfield against the strong Equadorians.
I will make some comments during the match while watching and I’ll update after every comment.
The players are coming out. Silly fireworks and dramatic muzak and light effects. Jules Rimet will turn in his grave.
Ok. Ad break.
Virgil is leading the team out.
Ecuador will set up as 5-4-1, it might well become a midfield battle.
1′ Good aggressive start. The pace and intensity need to be good. Strong tackle from Timber
2′ wayward pass Van Dijk. It’s still assessing and scanning.
5′ 1-0.amazing goal Gakpo. Deep pass by Ake, Bergwijn seems to lose possession, but Klaassen anticipates well, assist to Gakpo and a hard shot in the corner, like a rocket. Great start.
8′ Spell of possession for Ecuador,
10′ Oranje is putting in a good shift, closing down the spaces. Good forward pressure by our defence too.
12′ More possession for Ecuador. Holland still a bit rushed in possession.
14′ Valencia trying it solo. Timber lets it run out of play. Dutch in control even without Frenkie touching the ball often. Lots of possesion at the back. So far so good.
17′ We’re better without the ball. Our build up is sluggish still and looks indecisive. But… 1-0.
18′ Ake is the main forward passer at the moment.
23′ counter by Ecuador after ref gives Dutch throw in to Equador. Cross into the box results in sustained pressure and scary moments in the Dutch box. Good defending on excellent cross by Ecuador. We turn around possession but then immediately are wasteful.
26′ We’re getting too many fouls against us. This time Timber again. We need to be calmer on the ball and keep it in the team for more than 3 touches.
28′ We need to man up now and show leadership. Ecuador is smelling blood.
30′ Excellent dribble De Jong, almost got Gakpo through . Now sustained pressure from the Dutch, resulting a corner.
32′ Koopmeiners is playing well. Frenkie is finding his groove too. But Ecuador loves to counter. Valencia with the rocket on goal and a good safe by Noppert. Corner Ecuador.
34′ Good move from Oranje, deep pass Blind on Klaassen, quick feet by Bergwijn and a deep pass from Dumfries on Gakpo just too heavy.
36′ Noppert rules in the box. Equador still on the hunt, with Gakpo defending now as well.
39′ Bergwijn has done more in 40 minutes than in the full match v Senegal.
42′ Valencia is getting a bit frustrated with his shadow, Jurrien Timber.
44′ This is what I don’t like about Dumfries, he gets the ball in his own half and has space to attack but his pass to Bergwijn isn’t good enough. Not fast enough and a bit behind Bergwijn. That needed a better ball
47′ Free kick Ecuador. Great cross. Don’t think it was a corner, but it’s given. Shot from distance, after the corner, and deflected into the goal. Noppert’s sight was blocked so the goal is not allowed.
Half time. We are leading 1-0, which is great. Quickest goal for the World Cup so far, but the game is not going our way. We look dangerous at times but can’t string more than 3 passes together. Ecuador sees more of the ball and has more proper build up play. We seem to be out of shape, with too many players behind the ball, slow ball circulation and too hasty when trying to find an attack. Klaassen had the assist, yes, but I would like to see a more composed ball player in his place. Taylor maybe. Or Berghuis. Ake is playing really well. Timber has his hands full and Dumfries is good in the duels but wasteful in possession. We need more from Bergwijn too. I think a 4-3-3 fits this opponent better. They play with one striker, why use 3 at the back. Ake is the free man and he does well with his passing but needs to dribble into midfield more. That and crisper, faster passing is what will open up this opponent.
Memphis will come on at some stage in this second half. Maybe for Bergwijn, maybe for Klaassen.
45′ Memphis for Bergwijn.
49′ 1-1 Enner Valencia. Loss of possession in midfield by Timber, who is not where he needs to be. Ecuador uses the gap and shoots a rocket at Noppert who paws it in the path of Valencia. Poor goal to concede.
58′ Holland isn’t playing to their strength. Only one shot on goal and that was the early goal. Sometimes, the early goal isn’t helping. It makes players a bit complacent and it invites the opponent to play without the shackles on.
59′ Oh boy, an amazing shot on goal by Ecuador, hitting the cross bar. The bar is still trembling, as is Noppert.
60′ Dutch is getting bullied off the ball and players start to get agitated. Ecuador is playing better.
63′ Game is end to end and opening up now. Some good moves by Oranje but also the Ecuador counter threat.
65′ Pfff Koopmeiners is constantly open but is ignored, sluggish passing. You can call it patience, but also indecisiveness.
66′ Finally a shot by Oranje, good move to get Koopmeiners to pull the trigger, but he scores a Rugby three-pointer.
What will Van Gaal’s next move be? Lang? Luuk de Jong?
68′ Berghuis is coming on, seemingly. For Klaassen probably.
70′ Yep. Berghuis in. We need more midfield control.
72′ More wasteful game play by Oranje. Not looking good. We can still win this or draw this but the performance will keep Van Gaal (and me) awake at night.
73′ Gakpo on his way in offside position. But misses.
77′ Ref is very whistle happy against us. He sees fouls where there is merely some manly duels.
78′ Weghorst anf De Roon getting ready. Wout for Cody, De Roon for Koopmeiners, most likely. Van Gaal wants the win and sees he needs to do it with plan C. Holland is playing really poor, across the pitch. Dumfries, Timber needs a lot of fouls. Ake, Van Dijk and Blind are ok, the rest are struggling.
80′ Weghorst just gifted the ball to Ecuador allowing them an attack, resulting in a corner. Well done Wout
81′ Wasteful attempt.
85′ Free kick for Ake, halfway Ecuador half. Lets put Wout at work. Wasteful cross by Berghuis.
87′ Valencia is on the floor. Not sure what happened. Valencia being stretchered off. Sad.
90′ Six additional minutes.
91′ Terrible backpass by Ake. Noppert in problems and hitting the ball against the attacker. The ball goes behind for a goal kick. Oranje very wasteful.
93′ It’s all Ecuador, really. We can’t even set up an attack.
94′ Ecuador throw where Oranje deserved it. Ecuador playing to win. One more corner.
95′ No danger. Fizzes out. Holland with a throw. Holland just hits the ball upfield when thet can, hoping for the final whistle.
96′ Game over. 1-1. What a disappointing match this was.
I said Koopmeiners was playing ok. Overall I think he was simply again not quick enough in his handling and thinking. Frenkie played ok defensively but couldn’t add enough in an attacking sense. It seems Koopmeiners is too much the same, in a way and like I said before, plays too much in one pace. Berghuis came on and didn’t do much better to be honest.
I think Van Dijk, Ake, Blind, Frenkie and Gakpo deserve a positive rating for the game. Noppert was good too. Great to see him rule the whole box when crosses come in. Koopmeiners and Klaassen were not good enough. neither were Timber and Dumfries on the right, and Bergwijn and Memphis up front.
We are still in it, but will we win it? Like this? Not a chance. I think we need some firm action. Either, a real confidence booster v Qatar, and/or a system change and/or a change in personnel. Is it ok to ask to see Simons or Lang versus Qatar?
Your comments please? I’m off to bed.