NL – Ecuador Running Commentary

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.

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  1. You’re stealing my thunder, Jan 🙂 Although the primary difference will be that your real time comments will be insightful, whereas mine are mostly gibberish…

    I have a work call just as the match is starting but will try to join later if possible

  2. Ecuador in a pretty consistent spell of possession, but we’re winning all the aerial duels in the box. As long as we don’t let them get behind us, we should be able to stave them off and maybe hit them on some quick counters

  3. So far, I think Timber was the right call for this match. He’s not backing down. Not too sure about Klaassen though. That said, I agree with Jan, we need more passing and possession to settle down what’s becoming a frenetic and physical battle, and maybe Klaassen can help there

  4. I thought Dumfries strength and physicality would be an asset today, but he just looks clumsy. Bergwijn is getting knocked around quite a bit too. All that said, we can’t completely change our line-up / approach based on their style. We need to play our game and take it to them.

  5. Still not seeing the level of coherence I was hoping for in the midfield play, but certainly better. I would keep Koopmeiner in going forward, and continue to figure out who the number 10 should be

  6. Bergwijn is the weak link…he ain’t imposing himself against the Ecuador defenders and providing outlet for his teammates to play a pass to.
    That ended up with the defence and midfield under pressure both in defense and attack.

  7. I don’t understand this team. Sluggish, slow, no push forward, NO chances created for a full 45 min except for the goal. Are we trying to kill the game and win 1-0? We will lose this game if we continue with this style. We were very lucky that Ecuador equalizer got cancelled. We’re making them look stronger than they really are.
    I am fine as long as we win the game but I doubt we can contain their attack much longer.

  8. So far I am very disappointed in F De Jong. For a man of his skills, he is not doing enough. He is very invisible. Today, he has Komp next to him so there is no excuse.

  9. Jan: Fully agree with your halftime remarks. I wonder if Taylor could be a solution. I would sub out Dumfries as well. We need more possession than crosses today.

    Also, what is it about this team and failure to generate shots?! Only one shot in the entire half, although we scored it. Ecuador has 6 shots, though only one on target.

    For whatever stock you put in stats like “Expected goals”, we had 0.04 in the first half…

    It seems like the early goal may have encouraged us to let Ecuador have the ball more, as the possession and passing stats are virtually identical for the two teams.

    Defensively though, we’ve been solid. 9 tackles, 4 interceptions, 3 blocks, and 28 duels won…

  10. Memphis for Bergwijn was going to be my other suggestion. It seems like LVG heard me 😉

    I think we need more changes, although Koopmeiner has been a big plus so far in my view

  11. Dumfries seems to have been at fault on that, assisted by Virgil. Forced Noppert into a rushed clearance which sparked the whole series of events leading to the goal

    We need more possession out of our midfield and much quicker ball movement. Ecuador is bringing it and we’re not responding. We look languid and this comeback by Ecuador has been coming for some time now.

  12. 60 minutes in and still only one shot attempted. Ecuador has 10, including one just off the bar!

    Expected goals – 0.04 Netherlands, 1.31 Ecuador

    My son has been railing against Virgil for the last 10 minutes, but I’m not sure he’s the top concern at the moment. Please just keep the ball for a little while and build an attack!

  13. I understand we don’t have the best crop of players, but not having tested Ecuador goal for 65 mins is unforgivable. We’re making Ecuador look like Brazil.

  14. “The bar is still trembling, as is Noppert.” HAHAHAHA! That’s great. Noppert has actually been pretty good so far though.

    My son has now moved off of Virgil and is now yelling about off the ball movement. De Jong waits for anyone to provide a half decent option and then just passes back to Virgil.

    Berghuis on for Klassen now. We’ll see where this goes…

  15. We will lose this game. If we win, it will be a travesty. I can’t accept this type of performance. I have never seen a more timid team. Frightened and unsecure. Patience my @ss.

  16. The game has slowed to literally a plodding pace when we have the ball. Just get things moving again and force Ecuador to defend as a team. Right now we are just letting them rest defensively…

  17. This is a horrible game, never seen before. We can’t make the easiset of passes. I’ll start breaking things soon.
    We are losing this game as we should.

  18. Memphis has been a non-factor since coming on. I don’t think LVG’s system is working

    I always felt that Ecuador would be the toughest in the group, but I never expected to be outshot 2-12.

    I don’t think that Ecuador is playing any sort of stifling defensive press. Why can’t we just create basic attacking moves and scoring chances? Our backline and de Jong honestly have no where to play the ball…

  19. I think we scored early, settled in defensively and let Ecuador dictate the pace and flow of the game. They’ve upped their insensity and taken over and we have no answer and haven’t been able to reassert ourselves…

      1. Now he’s suggested that if you removed nine of the 11 players from the field (other than Frenkie and the keeper) and brought Dutch fans down from the stands (including the kid crossing his fingers), things couldn’t help but improve.

  20. Maybe we can recover some composure and sense of purpose against Qatar. After such a bright start, this match just dramatically dropped off the deep end.

    88′ in. Two total shots. 0.07 expected goals. How many minutes of stoppage time will there be?

  21. I dare anyone to go back to all the games NT has played since early 80s, you will never find ONE that we have played worse. We NEVER in this game threatened their goal. We could not complete the simplest of passes. We will be embarrassed by ANY TEAM if we make it to the next round. I know we’re not top 10 in the world but today showed a team that is not even top 30. What a bunch of sissies starting with the coaching team. NO RESPECT for any of them.

  22. Outrageously bad performance. Midfield was completely outplayed. Normally pacey players like Dumfries and Bergwijn completely lacked the speed as if they were walking on sand. Honestly, not sure what to say….

  23. That was terrible. Our guys are slow and weak. Bullied and bossed. Outmatched. That was a hard game to watch. 2 shots? Really?

    Depay should not play again. He did nothing. What an embarrassment

  24. Whatever LVG does for the next match against Qatar, I think it needs to emphasize finding the right concept and building confidence going forward. We really just didn’t play much football at all today and Ecuador were on the front foot for the majority of the match.

    Honestly though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ecuador beat Senegal and advance, especially if Valencia is not seriously injured. They play, hard, fast and physical and are unrelenting in attack. But after the first 10 minutes or so, we just didn’t show up

  25. i think its better go back to 433..with Devrij and some younger ones Frimpong ,taylor etc in next match..532 system is not working when memphis is not fit enough..lets abadon the system and move on to 433
    With Ake or Timber as promoted DM to Frenkie ..2 shots on goal and its shows your lack of cretivity…
    Next and upcominga we mshould start with
    there is no creativity from our wings..its DEAD… this is due to Dumfries and Blind then why you play 532????For god sake untill unless Depay reagins his fitness plesae keep him on bench…
    1-our midfeild is non existant with 532 system…
    2-our Wingbacks are really uselss going forward
    3–We lack the Nijel type at DM
    Gravenberch or Donyell malen would have given us some type opf creative quality..we miss them..
    4–tHIS should be weghorst last game…He is not Nt material,no pace,no areal threat,No dribbles..
    lets go back to 433 like we did in 2014…532 nonsense never worked in 2014…we scored goal s after moving to every game

    1. @ Emmanuel:

      I actually really like this lineup other than Berwijn. I wonder if we shouldn’t move Frenkie forward and play Koopmeiner, de Roon or Ake as holding mid?

  26. Quatar game will be tricky I think. They will not want to be a complete embarrassment and will throw everything at us. And our energy level seems seriously low.

  27. Good Lord, what a torrid game. This is the first time in many years that I’ve regretted waking up early (3am here in Oz) to watch the boys.

    I don’t like to denigrate players, and he’s been our saviour many times, but Depay was completely anonymous tonight. Did he complete a single pass? I can only recall him losing possession.

    With the exception of 3 or 4 players, I’d happily see a complete overhaul of the starting lineup moving forward in the tournament. We’re not going to win it with what we’ve produced in the last 2 games, so there’s not much to lose.

  28. Seriously, how do you sit for 90 mins in the bench, drawing lines on a piece of paper, shaking head and chatting with your 2 “lieutenants” and not get up for a second to shout some orders to your troops. The general let the troops crash and burn in the field. I would expect Davids to run on the sideline like a bulldog barking orders and try to encourage the players, but NO. He sat there like Stevie Wonder without a care in the world.
    I will be the first one to say LVG has reached the end of the line. Senegal game was exactly the same style except they were easier than Ecuador and we had a lot of luck. The old man has nothing else to offer and I don’t care who comes next.

  29. @JB LVG should rethink about 532 with dumfries and Blind both cannot go forward..blind lacks the pace to go forward,dumfries lacks the skills to go forward We are F@@%ked..Then why we should play 532…Midfeild is non functional..We need 2 work horse and a solid DM at mid..what Dumfries is doing can be done by Timber at Rb…how many cahnes we created in last two matches??? its high time get back to 433 and 532 nonsense…
    Frenkie,Taylor are the only work horse we have at both should play..Depay should not be used more than 10 minutes ,its sad to see him like that infact..if i was Deapy i would opt to stay at home will advice the caoch to take a fit one..
    i regret we wasted some spots with Weghorst,Janssen,,,Gravenberch would have ebeen excellent partner for Frnkie as he can carry the ball forward and pass..on wings WithMalen we would have got \ten that extra pace..

    1. Personally, I’ve never liked the 5-3-2 and I thought it was a desperation measure by LVG in 2014. I know it’s become more popular now but I’m still not a fan. If your two are top quality and can create chances on their own and you’ve got dynamic wingbacks, maybe it can work. If not, you take two total shots against Ecuador

  30. Damned..i might be too emotional..but this was so terrible to watch.
    Besides Akke nobody wud get a positive grade for me. For me one of the biggest problems is v Dijk. I totally agree with vBasten on dutch tv. He said vDijk doenst take any responsibility, he just passes the ball to one of the other defenders and points around.
    We have nothing to do at a WC if we play like this…terrible

  31. Very proud of the USA’s performance and draw vs England. Not so much about ours against Ecuador.

    It’s a rare occasion that I would feel that in a head-to-head matchup, the US would prevail against the Netherlands, but that’s possibly the case right now

    1. Christian Pulisic is the US’s best player and focal point. He was heavily involved in the attack throughout the match against England, registering 4 shots, 80% pass accuracy, 29 passes, 1 key pass and 54 touches, in what turned out to be 0-0 draw.

      At this point, I’m not sure who’s the focal point of our attack. The entire Dutch team had 2 shots and 2 key passes against Ecuador

  32. Can’t remember I have seen this bad display in a major tournament from Oranje since 2012 against Germany.
    Couldn’t complete 3 or 4 passes in opponent’s half.
    FDJ too slow. Dumfries couldn’t make those runs – perhaps partly because Ecuador was too quick and strong on the left side.
    I thought they were supposed to put in crosses after Weghorst was introduced?
    And interestingly group B is looking wide open with USA showing promising signs. So, even if we win our group and get USA in Ro16, we could struggle against them.

  33. I have watched estupinan at villareal plenty times .he was a bench player. Boy he gave in a monstrous performance. Him and hincapie had that their flank pretty much sawed and like vs Senegal, they marked down Dumfries.

    If you recall from the euros Dumfries always had been central attacking point for the dutch in 3-5-2 formation. I see alot of criticism about him but that’s not his fault, simply teams are finding out to stop the dutch, Dumfries needs to be shut down. He inities those daunting runs in the box before finding others who moving up or going for goal himself. The was the second game where he was completely shut out and the teams attacking pros was in shambles. I would say he is an important player for NT but he cant take 2-3 players same time. I was looking at estupinan during defense. He would always look back to see where Dumfries was when NT was attacking

    I remember debating on this and it was described as being tactical, while Dumfries plays a very high line, Blind stays low to help the defence out. If you look at this in this game once Dumfries was shut down, the flanks was flat.have to give credit to ecoudrians though, they did their homework, they bossed all over the park. Looks like that tactic is not going to work or yield much going forward if teams continue to shut down Dumfries.

    Bergwijn was disappointing again. I have said this before in compact games he fades out and again this is the second game he was average. Perhaps below as well. This is the very reason why he flopped at spurs. He is dangerous when in open play only with space.

    For gakpo I will say this again, he seems to operating well from the right. Hope he builds up on it and we can see him start at right wing under koeman.did fade out though

    So can we lock USMNT for QF

  34. LVG has lost the plot. No ideas, no plans or a terrible plan of just slowing the game down as much as possible and making meaningless passes to death until the other team takes control. ANY team especially south Americans would walk all over you if you sit back and let them play and especially if they smell fear and hesitation. I read somewhere that he blamed that Ecuador style of play doesn’t suit us so it will be easier going forward. This guy is unbelievably delirious. Does he really believe his crap?! I wouldn’t be surprised if players have lost faith in him.
    And can someone explain why Weghorst was introduced? Does not make any sense. Please spare me the “do you think you know more than LVG” comment.
    If not for a lot of luck we should be sitting 3rd in group with only 1 point.

  35. When was the last time dumfries played a good game for oranje?

    when was the last time bergwijn played a good game for oranje?

    you wonder why we have bench players if van gaal will keep playing the two mentioned above? like bergwijn last time i sam him dribble past a defender was 6 months ago!!!!

    what kind of message are bench players like noa lang and frimpong and xavi simons getting from van gaal when they see that no matter how shit the current players are performing they will keep starting?

    klassen, dumfries, blind and bergwijn were pathetic today but still they will start against qatar, when these players feel untouchable how are they gonna be challenged to do better next time….

    ive been watching every single oranje game since 1988 i can claim ive never seen this level before, that midfield is useless a super energetic kid like simons wouldve at least matched ecuadors energy, but no klassen is better….

  36. We always wondered what would happen to the offense without Depay, and this is what it looks like. Non-existent.

    Bergvijn too small, he didn’t win any ariel duels. He’s also slow and weak.

    There are several occasions with a bouncing ball where a Robben etc would have accelerated to the goal. We don’t have that player who accelerate away from the last defenders.

    With an out of form Depay, this team will not go far at all. Very sad to watch. Knowing how out of form Depay is, maybe LVG should have brought other forwards…

  37. Terrible performance. Disjointed. Convoluted. Ragged. Uninspired.

    Probably the worst game I have ever seen in a world Cup final for the full 90.

    When you are the boss, and as stubborn as a nanny goat, surrounded by probably the worst NT ex-coach and another who has proven not to have it(propped up as your sounding board), you get what you got today.

    That set-up and team was all LVG. That was Lvg talking to Lvg and agreeing with LVG without the slightest opposition and completely oblivious of any possibility of blind spots.

    You are in a world Cup proper and still experimenting. I mean, this selection today had never played together as a team. And they did play as such.

    I stressed in a post before the beginning of the competition the importance of continuity and trying to settle in a team with a tweak here and there. And here we were at the eve of a world Cup and not announcing who the goalie is. What other team in the tournament manufactured such an issue?

    Granted, goalkeeper has worked out so far but this last minute selection could also have spelt disaster because Lvg is proving not to know what he wants.

    This team played as awful as it did and you still did not give any minutes to Lang or Simons. It is a disgrace. What more is there to see of Berghuis?

    It is reminiscent of FDB in the Euros and how he sticks to his guns however badly the team played.

    I have always stressed common sense in my commentaries. All this talk of statistics and the football genius of LVG and the consensus of these football intellectual giants will never ever trump common sense. Especially when all that information is processed without a completely open mind.

    A good ole empirical observation by an unbiased football mind off the streets is just as good.

    I don’t need a computer to tell me that the best way to combat the attacking thrust of Oranje is to lay a body on FDJ and soldier all day long. The Czechs did it successfully and so again tonight. No plan b has ever been considered as far as I have observed.

    Snuff out the attacking tendencies of Dumfries like Ecuador did, and you are almost home and dry. Every fan in Qatar knows Oranje left wing back is obsolete.

    Do those two things well, and with precision, and you have a free for all match, an anathema against the very tradition and survival of Dutch teams. The Czechs made it scrappy and so did Ecuador.

    Still with all the data, no plan b.

    Too sure of themselves.


    Rinse and repeat.

  38. I think this is the worst Orange performance I have never seen, i think. Even worst than Italy 90. 2 shoots in the whole game. Ironically, we are inusual very effective scooting goals in our few chances.

    Please help me to understand how a team that was playing good, defeating Belgium, come to the world cup one month later and it’s entirely another team. What is going on? How can this happened?

    Van gaal:

    “We’re working on (keeping) possession and we will continue to work on that. Whether we will make it, I can’t guarantee that. But I think so, we have several options in the midfield and I can try them out.”

    Looks like Van Gaal is going to try new players, not necessarily new tactics. Taylor and Simmons are the first to come to my mind.

    It won’t be crazy to play with PSV strikers: Luuk, Gapko and Simmons. Taylor or De Room in the middle. And Malacia to offer speed on the left side

  39. Should I say, “I TOLD YOU SO”! We deserve zero point from these 2 matches. What concern me the most about the future of the NT is that we are going back again Ronald Koeman.

    1. @jean – what exactly are you going to say “I told you so” about?

      It is obvious that if the Team had a bad performance at any point in the tournament, you were going to say “I told you so”. However, our goal with this squad is probably to get to the QF. To claim “I told you so” if we do not win a World Cup is a bit redundant. You’re trying to make a claim like you know something that no one else does – that it’s unlikely Holland wins the World Cup. However, I think everyone here dreams of winning but doesn’t expect it so you are not telling anyone anything that they don’t already know.

      Taking credit for the “negative” side is so lazy. The probability is insanely high that we won’t win the World Cup. Claiming “I told you so” is very much like saying “I told you so that you wouldn’t win the lottery”. Anyone can make this claim and will be right 99% of the time.

      I’d love for you to make an I told you so claim on the positive side. Make a bold claim where the probability is not heavily in your favour before you act like you know so much more than everyone else.

      We are in an incredibly strong position to finish top of the group. You can say that our performances deserve 0 points but we have 4. Getting points in games you don’t deserve points is the mark of a champion. (I’m not saying the quality of our squad is champions quality. I’m drawing a comparison that it’s vital to be able to get points with a bad performance). Topping the group is all that matters, winning all the knock out games is all that matters. As awful as the performance was, we are technically achieving favourable results.

      The performance was hard to watch but not a surprise tactically. Our strategy has been like this for the past few games. However, Our execution of these tactics have been poor so far this World Cup. You could make a claim that these tactics are less favourable against weaker teams as they tend to have low blocks and we can’t counter attack into space.

      Just to be clear, I’ve been incredibly frustrated by the performances but lets not kill our hopes(however small they may be) and turn on the squad and manager because we don’t like how we have become the leaders of the group. Let’s be positive and discuss what tactical changes we think will help the team.

      Saying at the board “I told you so” and then following it up with pointing a finger in Jan’s face about how you can’t wait for him to defend van gaal as a genius is so negative. You’re elevating yourself above everyone and talking condescendingly with extreme negativity and extreme absolutism as if your opinion could never be wrong. I think it’s highly likely that we will lose the World Cup, and therefore you will be right. But so will everyone else here, so why do you have to put yourself on a pedestal and look down on anyone who looks at our squad with optimism and hope. It’s fine if you want to be miserable when you think about this squad but stop trying to poison everyone else’s experience as well. Look at the difference when Jan talks about a poor performance and the need for change vs when you talk. It kills the atmosphere.

  40. Gravenberch not included because he plays few minutes for Bayern; but at least he would’ve saved us some of this mediocrity in midfield by helping Frenkie dribble past a player , instead of koopmeiners and Klaassen who only know how to pass a ball but lack any bit of imagination …..

  41. @ Jean Ventte

    ” I told you so” @ Anthony. His sentiments

    Its tactically outclassed. This is what happens when LVG the genius gets radically outclassed. Taste of his own medicine. But hey look it’s good that this things happen early so that there a chance to go back to the drawing board. But then I think it’s too late now that you cannot makes changes vs Qatar and expect it to work let’s say in the knock out rounds. What this game has done is basically opened the doors to other teams to come an analyse how to counter the team. I’m sure the analyst in the Argentina camp or who ever they will play going into the knockout stage will come back to this game to draw up strategic plan from

    Alot of things that has been mentioned in the last few post is actually unfolding. It was coming. High tempo game weakness, tactics, one wing back plays a high line, other stays low, stronger opponents this player, less stronger teams that player, investing in blind, berghuis condorum, creativity and so forth.

    I dont know if anybody else took note, the ecoudorian ,coach was standing near some type of mic and he was continuously shouting through out the game which was you could clearly hear. I also recall the commentators saying how frenkie being such a good player looks lost in the second half. I hope under koeman he will be subject to rotation and new ideas with different combo as well. His consistency is becoming a question mark. The Toulouse midfield contingent needs to get a look.

    1. @ Eduardorw

      “Please help me to understand how a team that was playing good, defeating Belgium, come to the world cup one month later and it’s entirely another team. What is going on? How can this happened?”

      Belgium has passed its use by date and relying on the shoulders of de Bryne. Like many other top player playing in average team, Lewandowski ( poland), haland ( norway), de bryne alone cant do it. Belgium is more longer a big team.

      But the signs were there that NT with Memphis will be a problem when it took van dijk to pop up with the winner.

  42. I can’t wait to hear Jan talking about how much of a genius he thinks Van Gaal is. Van Gaal is such a genius that He picked of bunch Eredivise players where some of them are not even starters (Blin/Klassen) and put them on the NT and also the sarting 11 and expect them to perform. Depay is untouchable where he has not been playing for months even before He got injured. The team has no pace of front than again he decided to leaver out Danjumna who plays for Villareal and brought to bozos (Jensan and Werghorst). You have 2 great wing backs seating on the bench and continue to play with Blin and Dumfries. You are playing with 2 wing backs in a 5/3/2 system where none of them can provide a single cross. I can’t wait for Jan to talk about how much of a genius he thinks Van Gaal is. He kept on using these same characters day in and day out. We could of lost both games. I don’t think we even deserve those 4 points. I think it’s time to start looking forward.

    1. “ I can’t wait to hear Jan talking about how much of a genius he thinks Van Gaal is. Van Gaal is such a genius”

      I have a lot of questions about tactics with the team set up, of course, but my first question about tactics is in regard to your tactics, Jean? Why would you start by being a dick toward Jan? And then end your post with again being a dick toward Jan?

      Maybe if you weren’t such a tool, it would be easier for other posters to engage in discussions with you. Unless being a tool is the whole point.

  43. Well, on the positive side, we have one win and one draw after playing the two toughest teams in our group, and a win or draw in the final match will likely allow us to advance to the knockout rounds. So that’s good!

    And at this point, we haven’t come close to playing our best football, nor even figure out our best lineup or best system yet. I don’t think that these players suddenly forgot how to play the sport. Instead, I think the particular combination of players that are being selected, and the tactics and system that they’re being asked to implement, are not a great fit.

    I think van Gaal is trying to take the same approach he took in 2014, where he took a diminished side so far with this 532 approach. But it’s not working for this group of players in this tournament, and I think a change is definitely needed. Hopefully, he can take this next match against Qatar and figure out who should be in the team, and what tactics and system best suit them for any remaining matches going forward.

    We all knew going in that this would not be our strongest team. But we are in the tournament, and we have a chance to advance, and hopefully figure something out along the way. No one at this point, other than Spain, looks particularly dominant.

    Let’s hope our coaches and players can figure something out. Maybe if they read Jan’s blog and comments, they’ll get lots of good suggestions 🙂

    1. I like the idea of using the Qatar match to try a few different things, JB, but I’m worried that van Gaal isn’t wired that way and that he’ll instead use this as one more opportunity to shore up his core selections. To me, a lot of these guys should be dropped, at least for this game, and he should try different players, even if the system stays the same.

      The “system” is supposed to allow Oranje to always have an ‘extra man’, but I’m the last two games they’ve looked like they’re outmanned in the entire center of the pitch. Personally (admitting that I’m more of a passionate viewer than a stats and tactics guy), I think this is largely because of the failings of the two wingbacks. They’re supposed to be the ‘extra’ attackers and midfielders, but both Blind and Dumfries have been ineffective. I’d love to see Malacia and Frimpong, both high energy and both a little less predictable.

      I also think that there’s a problem with the selection of the forwards in that the team is sort of “of two minds” up front as well. It seems like the right choice would be to go with quickness and trickery (Memphis, Lang, Bergwijn, etc), but when you pair Bergwijn with Janssen or Memphis with Weghorst, you’ve only got two guys up front and they’re Donny completely different things. If it’s the big target man strategy, put Luuk up there and give him a couple of wingers for service. But ideally I’d like to see the footballers up there with the ball at their feet, running right at the defense with quick combo play. If always choose more fluid attacking, even though the more boring way is probably better “tournament football”

    2. @jb I agree on the 2014 approach. I actually still believe the logic makes sense. we are amazing at cb and weaker elsewhere. International tournaments typically favour a strong defensive approach. Therefore, the style we are playing makes sense to me. Our execution has been horrible though. I think this style is better suited to knockout games as it’ll be vs stronger opposition who may commit more numbers going forward.

      @aanvullah. Def agree about the Center of the pitch. It feels like basketball where we spread out wide and then give the ball to frenkie for and 1v1 isolation. I think the execution of our strategy can be improved with some player changes but the Center of the park issue seems to be a tactical choice on where Koop, klassen, Berghuis, Gakpo etc go to find space.

      I guess the logic is that if frenkie wins the 1v1 then we are a man more like u said.

  44. Luck has favoured Netherlands in both matches. I feel a change of system is not called for now with none of the strikers except Gakpo in form. Bring in Frimpong and strengthen midfield with Taylor and Xavi simons and the latter can double up as a striker also. With defence being the teams forte, play the high line defence to stop any free flowing football by Qatar and to keep the ball in their half itself. I feel as we get into knockouts the strikers will find form. Look at England everyone was going gaga over their team, their performance and strikers and look what happened yesterday completely outplayed by USA. So Dutch team cannot take any chances in their defence. So changes have to be made in the team but not in the formation.

  45. Agree with @Anthony and @Aanvalluh about the “I told you” comments. Let’s keep this post civil. Let’s respect the fans, players and Jan, who made an amazing job to keep us here

    We all know we are a underdogs, that there are a many other better teams with more chances to win, and that we are underperforming.

    It doesn’t make sense still talking about Danjuma. I, and I think all we agree, that Danjuma should have been selected. But to be honest, he also was recovering for an injury and was just starting to play again like one month before the World Cup and was very inconsistent, combining average performances with good ones. Maybe he would be underperforming at the WC too. We don’t know. I really wasn’t expecting this performance form Berjwin for instance. He was not playing like this in Ajax few weeks ago.

    Let’s focus on what we can do to make this better instead of focusing in the negativity.

    Now, we haven’t found the player beside Frenkie. What about Taylor???

    What about playing Taylor alongside Frenkie, Simmons as playmaker and Gapko with Depay?

    We also have Lang on the bench…

    I think we need young players with hunger. Thanks something that Lang and Simmons have.

    I am also considering including Malacia to bring more speed… but I don’t know if to many changes are good.

  46. Almost everybody here keeps talking about the system. Today had nothing to do with the system, whereas it is 532 or 433 or 173 we couldn’t place normal passes that first grade kids cannot miss. It was almost hilarious if it wasn’t so sad to see from a team that had a shot at the big title. Experienced players who couldn’t complete 2 meter passes, a defense that was fighting for their lives, players that couldn’t sprint for more than 2-3 meters without losing the ball by either stumbling on it or mercilessly be robbed by the ecuadorians. This is more about effort and focus than systems. What the heck happened to these players? Is LVG confusing the heck out of them with his genius plans? Why slow the pace of game down to death after the goal, give the field to a ferocious opposition and take all players out of rhythm?
    Danjuma feels like Messi now when we see the depressing state of Depay and Bergwijn. Still have Lang and Simmons and a couple of other players to test but the stubborn dinosaur will talk to himself in the mirror and understand that all is great since the team has 4 points.
    It’s hopeless. I shudder when I think what can wait NT in the next round. Actually I wouldn’t put it past them to mess up against Qatar.

  47. Aanvalluh, Anthony and Manoj:

    I’m very open all of your suggestions. I’m just not a 532 guy. I’ve never played with that formation as a player or with the teams I’ve coached, and feel like it depends on a lot of extra running and not a lot of consistent spacing or use of the whole area play. But we’ve all seen LVG make it work in the past, so it’s possible that he can find the right combination again.

    One other thing that may be a blessing in disguise for us is we have not yet had a great game against a weaker opponent, one that creates a false sense of confidence or security, or convinces you what you’re doing must be the right approach. Several teams that have run rampant against opponents, like England or Spain, may be in for a wake up call when they play tougher competition, and find that the things that they had come to rely upon to ensure their initial success are no longer working. On the other hand, despite our poor play so far, we have not been truly upset yet like Argentina or Germany. Both of those nations had played somewhat well at first, but then watched as things dramatically fell apart, which has now made their progress to the knockout round somewhat more difficult.

    Right now, it seems to me we’re in a good position to qualify, but also to realistically reassess what we’ve been doing, and how we’ve been doing it, and figure out a way to either change it or do it better. Much better! Van Gaal is probably the most experienced coach in the whole tournament. Hopefully, he can draw on that experience and judgment that he’s gained over the years to come up with a solution for this team (and not let his ego get in the way 😉 ).

  48. Jean, you are a dick and nobody likes you. Piss off.

    Jan, everyone appreciates you and has your back. Please pay no mind to him. He is clearly unhappy in his own personal life and wants to take it out on you.

  49. From the press: LVG says: Netherlands must improve if they want to win WC. – So we still have a chance if we improve. That’s genius.
    Meanwhile per OptaJohan “The Netherlands have only attempted just 2 shots against Ecuador, the fewest recorded for a European nation in a single WC match since 1966. Dammed.” It seems like we set a negative record. Well done.

  50. Hahaha thanks guys!! Anthony, great post! And thanks all, for your kind words of support.

    Jean can’t get to me. There were times he probably would have provoked me, but he has shown his colours now. Petty guy. Not even going to respond. You said it well.

    I also agree with Balkan, this had not much to do with system but everything with aggression and initiative. We were put in our place. I also agree that we lacked the quality in the wingbacks. Blind was not too bad, but Dumfries played a terrible game.

    In most successful teams, there are great full backs. Liverpool, Man City, Feyenoord last season, Bayern, Spain… Our full backs are not great. Malacia and Frimpong would do better. Malacia at Man United frequently ends up in midfield but it seemed to me that Van Gaal wants his backs to stay wide and hug the line.

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