On the Road to Qatar: Virgil van Dijk

The 31st year old has never played on a big tournament. The World Cup would be the realisation of his boyhood dream. And as skipper of Oranje, he will lead the team out. He discovered himself at Liverpool. A heavy knee injury might have delayed his debut at a Tournament with capital T, but he came back as if nothing happened.

Virgil can come across lacklustre. Lazy even. That was the comment on scouting reports from Ajax scouts, some 12 years ago. Complacent. This was the case then and it’s still the case now. His biggest strength is also his biggest pitfall. When he does make a mistake, he will hear that he was trying to solve the problem without getting his jersey dirty. Van Dijk does not throw his energy around but tries to solve problems by positioning smarter and making the right choices. Nothing arrogant about that.

Take that goal Man United scored. Sancho chopped inside. Milner slides past, while Becker dove to the wrong corner of the goal. Sancho simply passed the ball in the other corner. All this time, Van Dijk was ball watching with his arms behind his back. Milner was seen in close up after the goal was scored, scolding Virgil for not throwing his body on the line. But Virgil did what he always does. He’s always trying to organise so that flying tackles aren’t needed. He is like the CEO amongst defenders. He makes sure others do their job, so he doesn’t need to do it.

When Klopp was asked about the contributions of Van Dijk, in his first season, he answered: “Influential. Very very very influential”.  On December 27, there is a sort of public holiday in Liverpool. The Virgil’s Arrival Day. When he finally came over from Southampton, for 85 million euros. Where the amount is constantly dug up when Maguire makes another mistake, this Virgil transfer fee is simply a foot note.

As Klopp put it: “Thanks to Virgil, we can defend differently. Higher up the pitch. We can make the playing field smaller now.”

When he returned after his injury, the Daily Mail asked him if he was back to normal and he nodded yes. What people didn’t realise, and Virgil was a bit taken aback with that fact, is that he had to literally learn how to walk again! While his team mates were playing football and had their summer break or the Euros, Virgil was working like a beast, all by himself. He didn’t want to hurry his recovery by focusing on the Euros, knowing how tough it is to get back from this crucial injury.

“Everyone seemed to think it was normal that I got back at my level. As if nothing had happened. Based on my research, being able to get back at your normal level is not something that can be expected. And I’m not a spring chicken anymore either, so I felt that I could have received a bit more positive feedback than I did, as I started to play in every single game again…” His colleagues in England did give him the kudos he deserved, by picking him as the only non creative player in the list of nominees for Player of the Year (along side Salah , Mane, C Ronaldo, Kane and De Bruyne).

Check the personal duels won by Big Virgil. 

Virgil was asked during a presser with Oranje and Van Gaal whether he was able to hear any of the commands from the side-line, usually given by Danny Blind at Oranje or Klopp at Liverpool. “No, I am too loud myself, so I can’t hear the coaches yell at me, hahaha”. And it’s true, Pep Lijnders once said he sits more comfortable if he can hear Van Dijk’s bassoon in the stadium. He is the command centre of the Liverpool build up.

As the CEO of the Liverpool defence, he has ample tasks. After he went from Groningen to Celtic, he was described as a big unit (a wardrobe is the literal translation) with imposing physical qualities. And yes he is tall and yes he can head a ball.  Lijnders always says you need to really run around him if you want to get past him. But he’s not a very physical defender. He’s not like Man United’s Martinez or Mathijs de Ligt who love some Greek Romanian wrestling. With all the space in Virgil’s back, he needs to conduct the defence. And make sure it’s all fine tuned and in sync. It’s a balancing act, as he himself is usually situation on the halfway line. In the Big Five competitions, there is no team that was able to play the offside as much as Liverpool, last season.

It does fail at times and when it does fail, it looks really amateuristic. But, Klopp wants it like this and if there are mistakes made, it’s just par for the course. Because overall, it will work often very well and it allows every Liverpool player to be part of the attacking flow.

Van Dijk is a mind reader. He plays mainly with his brains. He tries to get into the head of the forward and he slows their attack. He won’t “bite” immediately, he will simply slow things down so his mates can track back. He basically pushes the pause button. He delays his decisions and actions, he pushes the opponent to the sides, with his running pattern and he hardly ever needs a foul or a tackle, even. He’s strong, very good in the air, relatively fast, technically solid and he oozes confidence.

Unbeaten record at home. Cool to see two other Dutchies and one former Dutch Eredivisie player (Alex) in the mix. Virgil NEVER lost a home game in the PL.

It’s probably his intelligence that makes the real difference. He can organise his defence in such a way that the opponent’s forwards think they’re always a step too late. The magic is in his timing. He developed a masterful sense of timing, when to press up, when to drop back. How to offer cover, when to mark and how to push a forward to the sides. He has the highest winning % in personal duels in the Premier League and it’s not a coincidence. He’s like Mr Charisma, the ability to foresee the moves of the opponent and to almost attract them to do what Virgil wants.

Lijnders: “We knew he would be a direct contributor as an individual player, but he also contributes indirectly, by making other players better.”

We all know Virgil’s story. A lazy right back at Willem II when he was 16 years old. Nothing special . When he turned 17, he suddenly grew another 18 centimerers. And his life changed. Grads Fuhler, scout of Groningen (now at FC Emmen), saw him play by coincidence. Fuhler was on his way to a game in Belgium and realised Willem II A1 played PSV A1 so he took the Tilburg exit. A week later, Virgil and mum were on their way to Groningen to sign for the local FC.

At Groningen 2, he spent a lot of time on the bench. His coach, Dick Lukkien (now head coach at FC Emmen) spent a lot of time on Virgil, who was still complacent. Lukkien desired more from the player and slowly but surely, Van Dijk started to change his mentality. The Top 3 didn’t see it in him, although Ronald Koeman was keen to sign him for Feyenoord. There was no money though. Ajax decided to get Mike van der Hoorn from FC Utrecht. At Celtic, he made some crucial steps but it was when Koeman was able to sign him for Southampton that the Oranje captain started to thrive. Both Lukkien and Koeman are mentioned by Virgil when asked which coaches were instrumental in his career.

If you ask English fans who were or are the best defenders ever in the PL, his name is mentioned, alongside players like Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Tony Adams and Nemanja Vidic. Not bad for a player who never played a big Tournie.

Ironically, Virgil is now the captain of the WC squad under a coach who in 2014 decided to leave him home. Van Gaal said he saw the same mistakes being made over and over again and decided to take Martins Indi, Stefan de Vrij and Ron Vlaar. Willem Vissers interviewed Van Gaal who said more negative things about Van Dijk. After the interview, Van Gaal instructed Vissers to delete these comments. Vissers can not remember exactly what the current team manager said, but it was something like “he doesn’t press forward enough, and he doesn’t see players running in behind, he is simply not good enough…”. Van Gaal did say in 2019 that Van Dijk has the personality to instil fear in his opponents.

Van Dijk says something interesting in the book “Thou Shall Not Pass: The Anatomy of Football’s Centre-Half”: “I want my opponents to think everything I do is easy for me. Look at Roger Federer. He doesn’t even break a sweat, or so it seems. Mentally, that will be tough for the opponents. They think Federer doesn’t even need to work hard. I try to do this too.”

The Liverpudlians call him VVD. Superman on Anfield. Mr Cook. With Van Dijk in the team, they hardly ever lose at home.

When Virgil made his first entrance in the Oranje squad, he was in awe of Robben and Kuyt. He was observing them. How they acted, what they ate, how they behaved. As kid, he wanted to be Ronaldinho and he thought Jaap Stam was two meters tall. The World Cup was millions of miles away from the kid in Breda. Virgil became his version of Ronaldinho.  Now, kids in England and Holland dream of being Virgil van Dijk.  In Liverpool, he’s a demi God.

Virgil’s debut.

It was a different time. Oranje at a historic trough. The Euros of 2016 are out of sight. In the final away game versus Kazachstan, coach Danny Blind gives Virgil a chance, alongside debutant Kenny Tete. The game is won, 1-2 but three days later, the Czechs are too strong in the JC Arena. Oranje ends 4th behind the Czechs, Iceland and Turkey. Blind played: Krul, Riedewald, Bruma, Van Dijk, Tete; Wijnaldum, Blind, Sneijder; Depay, El Ghazi, Huntelaar.

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  1. Just saw Arsenal – PSV. Sad to see that Gakpo didn’t end up playing… Or… did he?

    I think Simons was ok, but PSV was rudely introduced to the top flight qualities of an EPL team. It’s typical. They brush Eredivisie teams aside, but struggle vs Rangers and are nowhere to be seen vs Arsenal…

  2. Another top team opponent for psv another non existing performance from Cody Gakpo, everytime I get excited about him scoring stunning goals against the likes of Zurich, he reminds in big games like today that he is literally non existent, if we are betting on him for the World Cup then good luck to us…

  3. Yeap. Tomiyashu Had him in his pocket and was often doubled teamed by both him and saka forcing him to pass back if not move sides ways when he got the ball.

    RVN’s selection also was a question mark. Starting with Til upfront and Veerman behind him. I didn’t understand how it worked. What was suppose to be a point forward mid ended up with point backward with guti forced to play in holding mid/hole with Veerman dropping deep to his usually LCM position . Sometimes all the trio Sangare, Veerman and guti ended up playing laterally in a straight line. This really suffocated til up front and when he also dropped back , there was literally nobody up front and the arsenal defense were just having vaccation at the back.

    The only bright spark for PSV was Simons who again showed his ability to dribble with the ball and mesmerizing runs. didn’t see much ball either but when he did, he was creative as always. I hope the jury would have watched him.

    Also when Madueke came on. he brought his using attacking flare down the flank. Good to see him back.

  4. Watched only 20 minutes of PSv vs Arsenal ..got the vibe so switched off TV..Van Nestel rooy is a poor coach just like ole gunnar …So i dont expect anything from them..Gakpo is playing in a mediocre team so he will be clueless vs Top teams as he needs help…i think Sangare and Ximons were good…Veerman was top on ball but Just like Danjuma poor work rate ,poor off the ball…Danjuma got subbed vs barca after 45 minutes…He is a lazy Tap in master,Hope he doesnt get in to plane at the expense of Malen and Lang…
    Today Van gaal will announce provisional squad…how many 35 or 36??/
    how many gks??

  5. Frenkie played a great game, starting against Villareal. He got a standing ovation when he was subbed at 70 mins for Busquets. Xavi seemed to imply that the pivot role is Frenkie’s now, so hopefully he continues to start. Danjuma was anonymous the whole game, but he wasn’t getting much service.

    1. @ayl..Danjuma doesnt make himself available..no wonder he was anonymous …He is a lazy Tap in master…thats where i like Lang,Malen,Berjwin,Depay,Gakpo,janssen and Berghuis they work their butt off..Hope he gets dropped for Malen and Lang ..both place are in danger due to this overrated Danjuma..

  6. Given the injuries will be critical for any team in the build up, I think the selection is good one. This was also the same sentiments of van gaal” big selection, not his style but has to be prepared for injries”

    I think from here onwards till WC its all about performances and fitness.

  7. I feel like VVD is very calm and that help his teammates to perform better as well. I like the CEO comparison. Early in the season, Liverpool struggles but he is as the CEO do not have the right employee. At Netherlands, with the right players along him, he can organize the defense really well.

  8. Guys, I’m not going to make a special post on this Prelim Squad selection. I mean, not many surprises. I personally would have loved it if Karsdorp got the nod, but at this point Frimpong really seems to be a better option.

    Bakker over Wijndal is understandable. Bakker has been going from strength to strength and I am personally not fully convinced of Wijndal at the bigger stage (Champions League and Oranje).

    I love to see Simons in the mix.

    As for the goalies, I would only take Noppert if he does exceptionally well in stopping penalties. But throughout his career, he hasn’t impressed on that aspect.

    I think the #1 should be either Cillesen or Flekken, with Bilow and/or Pasveer as third option. Cillesen having tournament experience is a good thing. Pasveer will probably be a cool head as he has experience and it will be good for the future of Oranje to have Bijlow there as well. I do like the Noppert guy but I am not sure if he’s ready for the big stage.

    Disclaimer: I hardly see Flekken play but the news reports are quite positive on his performances.

  9. Over all its fine pool.. I would have liked to see Karsdorp and youri baas in mix… It would br stupidity to take 4 goalkeeper… We need only three, if any one is penalty stopper expert.. I would take him as third…. Either Pasveer or cillessen should be no1…i am not convinced with flekken.. He looka nervous.. I feel pasveer should be no1…i wil go with pasveer, bijlow, Cillessen..

  10. We have an injured depay.. We lack quality at attack… Depay, berjwin, Gakpo and betghuis is the only 4 trickery pacy players we had at last 2 nations league matches… So A Hardworking pacy, trickery lang and Malen should make it… I dont see pace with janssen… I think Janssen vs brobbey any one will. Make it…. Happy that hateboer, Wijndal are not in mix…

    1. Donyell starts for dortumund,He has done well in oranje,our best attacker at Eur02020..aazingt blistering pace,amzing first touch..He works hard,He asiists..Lang is also a hardworker..his mricale gaol Vs wales by own..I know Danjuma is tap in master and he depends other players hardwork…He doesnt make himself available..against Barca which is proved again he got subbed…even Messi works hard..CR7 is not working hard so he sits in bench ..pERIOD….i have no problem taking danjuma to WC but it should not be at the cost of Malen and Lang both are better for NT than him..

  11. What did Lang do? He isn’t still in first 11 of club brugge.

    Can malen score a goal in WC When he cannot doint anything in Bundesliga? Surely no.

    What is Ur problem with danjuma? Danjuma at least can score a goal like what he did in last 2 weeks

  12. Realistically there isn’t much separating Danjuma, Malen, Gakpo and Berghuis in terms of options as a forward. Berghuis will probably have a few extra points in van Gaal’s book because he can also play centre-mid. At the end of the day it just comes down to form on the day or week.

    Bergwijn and Depay have shown they’re a step above. Luuk de Jong and Weghorst are in their own category but only one of them will go.

    1. @derek…Gakpo and Berghuis has better engine they run relentlessly..this is modern football..you need players who cab press..even Depay press…the only forward doesnt do that is Danjuma gronveld..Dumfries is hard feetd\ed but he works his butt off…

  13. On a side note, I’ve been following Toulouse a lot this season because of the Dutch contingent, and Branco van den Boomen has been playing really well, wouldn’t be surprised to see him make a move this summer.

    Thijs Dallinga plays nearly every game but hasn’t been on the scoresheet much. Still good experience for the youngster.

  14. Quite an accurate profile of VVD and thoroughly enjoyed it. VVD makes things look easy but his contribution shouldn’t be taken lightly nor for granted.

    Will pair him along with de Vrij whom I feel(for some reason) is also underappreciated. The consistency of de Vrij is only comparable to VVD but he was benched for de ligt when the latter broke out. And now we have this talk of Timber taking his place because he can “play”. Does Timber have the necessary experience, the height and physique to absorb a storm when the big boys come to town?

    Dutch management have this way of manufacturing problems where there are none whilst simultaneously ignoring glaring ones.

    Goalkeepership is the most finicky, intricate and sensitive position in football. That’s why(for normal organizations) once established it is not toyed with barred a disastrous run by a goalie or injury.

    This is not so for Oranje. The clueless FDB instead of contending the many problems his team had, decided to go against his word and came up with every excuse to move on from Cillesen.

    And of course the rest of the jury followed suit. Again, here we are on the eve of a world Cup and we STILL do not know who our goalie is. The goalie position is more about belief and confidence as it is about reflexes and agility. I’m sure our future no.1 will appreciate the chaos as it is and it will be a great boon on his preparation.

    Hey Lvg, how about solving your right side defensive problems which could quickly translate into a disaster with a Dumfries injury. Have you never seen Karsdorp or Frimpong play? I’m sure you have seen Rensch play and erratically too lately.

    How about taking care of the left side of your defence where you have to shift and makeshift and change the structures of your team to accomodate an aging, frail and immobile plodding has-been?

    Why do things ALWAYS have to be unnecessarily complicated? Are clear-cut problems not problems because the lay-man Oranje fan recognize them as such?

    And Gullit was every inch right about Blind. Any further explanation to absolve Blind is just a toxic, gaslighting attempt.

  15. Frimpong just added another goal. Basically, he has more goals and assists than any other Dutch forwards who are not playing in Eredivisie. Surely he must go to World Cup?

  16. @Jan

    Have you considered to make a post for every position in the Van Gaal 5-3-2 ?

    It could be like four posts, keeper, def, middle an attack, analyzing each position tactics and players according to the pre selection. For instance, analyze our number 6, and compare our different options (Frenkie, De Room, Clasie, Koipemaners), etc, and the posible different varias in the midfield (two holding and a playmaker) or the classic 10, 8 and 6 Dutch minefield etc.

    I think it could be very interesting and we can learn a lot !

    Thanks for considering it and for the post

  17. Was Van Dijk really so bad in 2014? Worse than Ron Vlaar or Martins-Indi?
    I don’t think Van Dijk is the same after that horrific injury (I would call it criminal by that schizophrenic keeper). It is no coincidence that Lpool is shipping a lot of goals for a while now. Oftentimes Gomez or Matip put a bigger effort into the game than V Dijk. I hope he is just saving himself for the big stage. But defense is not our biggest headache, attack is. We do not have any distinguished players in attack. The likes of Janssen, Weghorst and LDJ being considered for the team shows clearly how poor our selection options upfront are. If Lang doesn’t make it to WC, so shouldn’t Malen and Depay. They both aren’t playing much more at their clubs and even when they do there is nothing special about their game. I really wish LVG was more open minded about new players and started tested them during the Nations Cup.
    Arsenal-PSV, I only watched 2nd half and really think PSV should have snatched a point. RVN is not a bad coach and I hope he keeps on improving. I just didn’t like that warm embrace with Arteta at the end of the game in a stadium where as a player he has been abused like hell.

    1. Yup, the defense is not the biggest problem. Attack is just sad. I looked at the front line and I don’t see anyone does anything noticeable this season. Midfield is a bit better but not much. It is basically just FDJ and Koop. The rest are Ajax who got beaten badly in CL.

  18. @ Orangutan

    I really admire your writings, you capture what I have always wanted to say but have not been able to say or explain in the right context or with words like you do.

    What you have said is the “system” and how it works. I have talked on this alot of times. It’s a marketing strategy as well for Ajax contingent regardless if they go on to flop after leaving Ajax.klaassens, Tetes, veltmans, VDBeeks, Riedewalds,Bazoers Gravenberchs , mow timber, Rensch, Taylor are riding the same boat.once they leave Ajax somebody else will replace them and hence the conveyor belt has to continue rolling. If you think about it in long run, has it yield any thing productive for NT in last how many years. Realistically speaking it just keeps going up and down up and down like a beeping life support machine. And then different coaches come in and go leaving behind pieces to be picked up. Apart from in 2018 where NT peaked under koeman for some time I dont think there has been a good continuity over the years and it all goes back to the “SYSTEM”

    Well the good thing there has been some good transition and I believe with the quality of players now playing abroad in competitive teams clubs and league :karsdorp (Roma), Dumfries ( inter),Frimpong, Bakker, sinkgraven( Leverkusen),Botman( Newcastle), ven De Ven ( wolfburg), Lang( brugge), Maatsen( chelsea/ burnely), danjuma ( villareal), Malen , (Dortmund), Gravenberch ( bayern hopefully), kluivert ( valencia), Ligue 1 contingent I think koeman can break the ice. Just mould a good team based on a good competitive rotation. That all. 2026 MY will win the WC

  19. @ Balkan
    “Was Van Dijk really so bad in 2014? Worse than Ron Vlaar or Martins-Indi”

    No he was not and I think Jan mentioned in the previous post what Van gaal didn’t like about him. Now what he failed to mention was how it’s was veltman who got the nod instead of him and this is on the record as well. ( article). Now the question here should be was he better or worse than veltman?

    This is where you go up to my above post. “System”

  20. Watched leverkusen 2-2 Wolfsburg. Must say Van De van had a very good game and defintely can add him to the growing list of future NT CBs. Conceeded an unintentional penalty other wise he kept both Diaby and Frimpong relatively checked in and quiet. Bullied frimpong through out the game with his good covering runs and his lanky physic. He has really settled down and now is undisputed now in starting 11 for Wolburg.

    Frimpong scored the equalizer otherwise it was a normal day in the office for with Diaby and him leading the attack on his flank.

    Bakker was good as well but it was sinkgraven who came on as sub for him and made the impact with leverkusen trailing 2-1. His quick feet and linking up resulted in the assist for Frimpongs goal. It was not intended for him as his initial shit got deflected and Frimpong unmarked at back post was the quickest to reach to the deflected shot and tap in the equalizer.

    Fesu menash also made a rare appearance off the bench. Nothing much but saw off whatever was thrown at him in defense

  21. @Wilson

    Re: @ Orangutan

    I really admire your writings, you capture what I have always wanted to say but have not been able to say or explain in the right context or with words like you do

    Thx brother. It’s frustrating work but somebody’s got to do it 🙂

    I mean we all see what’s in the horizon and how things can go south in a hurry with a couple of injuries.

    Where would we turn if(God forbid) FDJ goes down? No contingency plan has ever been tried. Ever. And this is not something new with Dutch coaches and they building structures around a single player with no alternative. The 4-3-3 was unceremoniously abandoned because of Strootman’s injury in 2014. We subsequently did well but that abrupt reversal of system could just have been as disastrous. Again, it was all or nothing with Strootman.

    An injury suffered by Dumfries, I predict, would see that whole defence morph into something we have never seen before. Instead of a simple like for like in the form of Karsdorp/Frimpong, I won’t be surprised if three in the back become 4 or a variation of 5 or something weird that may just work but also run the risk of altering the effectiveness of other areas of the team. It’s almost like our genius coaches tempt these situations where they have to exercise their coaching acumen purely for clout.

    I see people excited about the pool of players selected but I find it quite wanting.

    Out of 30something players, we do not have a single, capable(even adequate) right side defensive cover. Lord knows Rensch is not it. At least not yet.

    Xavi is an x-factor kind of player and could play a crucial role in the eventuality of a FDJ injury. We simply do not have anything like the kid and we all know how we struggle to create.

    Naysayers are going to tell you how young he is(cough,erm, Rensch) but I always feel Oranje is at its best when unpredictable. We have seen de roon and Berghhuis in the last Euros. The only difference they bring to the table is older legs. Nothing else.

    But we will wait and see.

  22. Somehow I feel that LVG will throw up some surprises with the final selections..thinking Botman, Frimpong, Xavi Simons and Brobbey could well make the final cut. Struijk, Rensch, Gravenberch and Janssen to miss out.

  23. Botman’s Newcastle defeated Spurs. Botman making a strong claim for a spot in the final squad. Struijk’s Leeds lost to Fulham. Believed either one between him OR Struijk will make the cut.

    1. ratings
      Sven Botman – 8
      Strong and physical. Twice shoved Harry Kane off the ball in the first half.

      Sven Botman 8
      Some stylish contributions. In real form now. Some important clearances.

  24. Sven Botman is playing Top football since lille fc days…so was Pascal struijk in EPL.Botman is no nonsense tackler,struijk is not far behind but i feel struijk has better feet…much better feet that Dumfries feet at RB…Struijk can play LB,LCB and even DM…while Botman is a master LCB…i think Van gaal will go with Struijk for versetality and his heart for oranje..just my feeling.
    Back in 2014 Dropping virgil for BMI doesnt made any difference…BMI was red card prone and was sheilded by Excellent Devrij,impeccable Ron vlaar and Strong man Nijel….later BMI was helped by Blind and kuyt…Van gaal had to revert to 433 to win against all teams…He started with 532 and it didnt worked and he went to 433 and 442 after half time…anyway virgil lost WC experience..Virgil was biasedly dropped…it happens with all team ..

  25. So Malacia has lost his spot. Blind is slowly losing his place to Winjdal. The LB situation is getting worse. LVG should consider Bjorn Meijer, Bakker and Strujk for the LB.

    I hope Malacia can regain his place though. Impressive start at the beginning of the season.

    1. Malacia is excellent in defense but Shaw is better suitable for Ten haag style, As his runs in to space is vital for Manu..Blind is shifted to LCB just to accomodate him…Youri baas is taking over from BLind at LB not winjdal..Winjdal is questionable..He is not better that Blind…
      i feel Defenders we wgo with
      on Bench
      So the fight between
      Rensch VS Frimpong
      Struijk Vs Botman..

  26. i think van gaal will start with

  27. Eddie Howe, Erik Ten Hag and Graham Potter have proven that with good system and structure, you don’t need star players to be able to compete. That is also why LVG always said the best TEAM will win the WC.

  28. Interesting weekend with some shock results and some amazing goals. Berghuis scored two, as did Brobbey. Typical Brobbey goals (strong physically and explosive) but Berghuis took the MotM award with a wonderful assist for Brobbey’s first goal and two goals from outside of the box. The second shot was a scorcher. Sensational technique to hit it like this.

    Blind is playing agitated. He seems annoyed with the criticism and it’s a sign of a player realising his best days are gone. Got yellow carded and subbed this weekend.

    PSV lost inexplicably as they dominated Groningen and had dozens of chances, including two balls on the cross bar. Luuk de Jong is playing again. Veerman was very good but Ruud hooked him for some reason.

    AZ lost too and were awful.

    For another sensation goal check out Leicester’s Tielemans’ goal…wow!

    Remarkable move: Emery is quitting his Villareal job to move to Aston Villa. I did not see that coming.

  29. In yesterday’s Studio Voetbal Van der Vaart and Van Hooijdonk discussed Blind’s role and both commented on how coaches always use him as their “Verlengstuk” on the pitch. Not sure if there is an English term. It means he is the coaches playing assistant, basically. Blind is the guy who decides when to press, when to pivot and squeeze (kantelen en knijpen) and what pace to set in terms of passing. Blind is the football leader, where Tadic is the vocal captain, keeping everyone sharp.

    Both Rafael and Pierre conceded that the point is now coming fast, where Blind’s “additional skills” do not longer weigh up to his weaknesses.

    With Malacia, we seem to have a strong back up, while Pascal Struijk is playing really well as LB for Leeds.

    As for the goalie situation, I’m quite sure LVG knows who he will use as #1 goalie.

    1. I just watched the road to 2014 semi final recently. It is disappointed that Blind and Depay never reach their full potential. They showed so much during that WC campaign. And then Depay gained so much weight and lost his agility. Blind become slower and slower every year and even his position is good, it is very easy to get past him by just running over. They were supposed to lead the previous generation but they never did.

  30. @Kevin you cannot blame Depay or blind for failure of their generation… We could have qualified, we could win even something with a better coach.. Blame should go to Hiddink, Daddy blind and FDB… We would not be playing this WC if FDB in charge… Thanks to de ligt and cezc Republic.. Blind and Depay were so good at w 2014..they were supporing caeers of that team… Which is lead by fab trio, Nijel, Vlaar and de vrij… That ass tearing tackle from macherano cost ua dearly… If we had one more sub for Cillessen, i feel krul would have gave arjentina a hard time at penalty..

    1. I am not blaming them for the WC and Euros failure. I said it is disappointed that they never reach their full potential. They could have become world class but they did not. Out of their generation, they might be the two highest ceiling players. But their achievement is even less than Wijnaldum and De Vrij so that tell you the story. If you rewatch 2014, you will realize that they do not get better after that. And that is not the normal career trajectory.

  31. Our game against Senegal is in 27 days, coming soon baby!!!

    This would be my line up:

    ————-XAvi simons————

  32. I think Karsdorp may have answered that open question (on this blog) about what keeps him from being selected for Oranje. Those of us who don’t think there’s a conspiracy led by a secret cabal who manage the KNVB but inexplicably want the team to fail have said many times that there must be something else (locker room, personal traits, etc) or hat keep him out. I’d say trying to start a fight with a referee in a game where he didn’t even play may give a little window into the issues that are seen by the folks making these decisions

  33. Youssoufa Moukoko of borussia and
    Florian Wirtz of bayer leverkussen have been selected in Germany’s prelim squad for worldcup.The former is 17 years old and latter is 19 years and has not played in tbe entire season due to injury but still finds himself in the squad. what could have been the reaction in Netherlands if such a player comes in to the squad, even a in-form Xavi simons is being criticized by some commentators. Hope Van gaal sees things in right
    Perspective and selects him.

  34. @manoj
    Re: what could have been the reaction in Netherlands if such a player comes in to the squad, even a in-form Xavi simons is being criticized by some commentators. Hope Van gaal sees things in right
    Perspective and selects him.

    Cause the German team is not ran an influenced by a bunch of ex-Bayern players and coaches.

    There you have it in a nutshell.

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