Oranje back to drawing board

And here is the final result of the little Scorito competition we had going, the competition of course being called Lowievenkaals Armie. Shawn is the absolute GOAT of this competition.

Shawn, congrats! You will have bragging rights till the next World Cup. Robin is France, I am Croatia and Sjaak is Morocco. Ah well….

Despite a heroic comeback versus Argentina, Oranje is home licking their wounds. I am sad Morocco didn’t get a trophy to show for their contributions and with the Atlas Lions out, the real Dutch connection ( Ziyech, Amrabat, Mazraoui, Aboukhlal) to this World Cup is gone. There is no real connection with the French for us, and generally speaking, the Dutch are not big fans of Les Blues. Messi will always be my fave player, even if he gave Weghorst and LVG a piece of his mind. The Argentinian connection is there (Rijkaard / Ten Cate > Messi, Tagliafico and Martinez > Ajax) and I wish them well.

In The Netherlands, it’s back to the drawing board. Van Gaal’s final conclusion seem to have been “We have not wingers of top class”. Despite this, it was the move of Gakpo to the left and Berghuis to the right with two tall towering strikers which got us the equaliser and extra time in the quarter finals. It was warrior Wout Weghorst who got the final free kick which Koopmeiners took in Weghorst’s Wolfburg style, to get us a sniff of hero-ism. But Van Gaal made a bad judgement call for the extra time, counting on penalty success.

The fear of conceding was bigger than the wish to kill the opponent off.

Before the match, he also made a bad call, in thinking Argentina would not adjust to us and he felt the 3-4-1-2 would give us a good chance to win. But, Scaloni surprised by bringing Martinez as an extra defender, nullifying our tactical “advantage”. Argentina forced the ball onto us and this scenario paid out for Scaloni.

One brilliant Messi pass and a cheap penalty gave Argentina the lead: Van Gaal beaten with his own stick.

Since the bronze medal in 2014 we missed out on two major tournaments. We seemed to stick to what we know best, building up from the back, possession based football with wingers. All this in an era in wich the game got quicker and more tactical. Countries like Iceland, Sweden, Turkey and Bulgaria were able to throw sand in the not-so-slick Oranje machine, by defending as a team and playing compact. Waiting for the mistake. The Dutch were the Dodo of International football.

Self professed fans of Dutch football, Guardiola and Klopp were able to introduce concepts like the high press and positioning play by dividing the playing field in particular zones. In this way they found new ways to achieve balance while attacking. In the Eredivisie, coaches like Peter Bosz, Erik ten Hag and Arne Slot followed suit and were able to perform on the European stage with success.

Ronald Koeman copied this blue print after a shaky start. Left back Blind became the third central defender in the build up. Bergwijn would drift inwards, opening up space for Dumfries who covered the full right flank. On the other flank, Koeman used Ryan Babel to keep the width on the left. The yield of the wingers was limited. Bergwijn didn’t score at all in 9 matches, Babel scored 4 in 17 matches. Oranje was very dependent on Memphis Depay and his partnership with Gini Wijnaldum. Under Koeman we beat France, Germany and England, but we also lost against France, Germany and Portugal.

We could beat any team but we could also lose against any team. Under Frank de Boer we lost against Mexico, Turkey and the Czechs using different systems. This was the context when Van Gaal stepped in.

Van Gaal decided to use the learning from the past and introduced the compact playing style to the team, with the aim to build up with short passes and moves in order to combine forward. The execution was poor, to say it nicely. The simple basic things didn’t work. Creating triangles to get players on the ball, for instance. In particular the right flank was weak. No wonder Oranje played its best game against the USA, the only game in which we had less possession than the opponent.

We can debate endlessly about what went wrong, but in essence it comes down to quality, or lack thereof. Phillipp Lahm, the former Germany full back, said it best when comparing Argentina with Holland: “All the players of Argentina have what it takes in modern football: strong in the one versus one, defensively and offensively. These individual skills are what it takes to win matches, not tactics.”

Guardiola says it differently: “When I look at a player to sign for my club, I basically look at one thing only: can he dribble. Does he control the ball? I only want players who have a dribble. All the other things, like a touch, or a pass or a shot, I can teach. I cannot teach players to dribble. It’s impossible to beat a defensive team without players who can dribble.”

These are quite succinct statements explaining the problems we currently have with Oranje.

In five matches, incl extra time vs Argentina, we mustered 17 successful dribbles. That is less than Jamal Musiala of Germany on his own. Only Cody Gakpo managed to do this more often than twice. Gakpo totalled 5 successful dribbles, all in all. Mempis had 2. Denzel Dumfries? Zero. Frenkie had 3, Timber 3 and Berwijn only 1.

Arjen Robben had 5 successful dribbles in one match, in 2014. The lack of form and fitness of Memphis was not present this time, as he usually is the player to create something out of nothing.

We lacked creativity. That is the bottom line. In 2016, the Dutch FA came with a report: Winners of Tomorrow. Their conclusion was that we needed better defenders! While at that time, Ake, De Vrij, Martins Indi, Blind and others were already playing at very decent levels in Europe. While attacking creative talent was scarce.

Our successful generations ( Cruyff, Rensenbrink, Rep, Van Basten, Roy, Witschge, Davids, Kluivert, Bergkamp, Rijkaard, Rob de Wit, Van der Vaart, Robben) were produced not at the club but on the street. Exactly like Brazilians or Moroccans are developed. The youth academies don’t seem to be able to replicate the street, in their youth development plans.

This is the most important lesson for the KNVB. That, and never ever allowing a coach to abandon his post because a dream club is interested in signing him.

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  1. Very enjoyable read, Jan. Agreed on everything.

    But this is the crisis of tunnel vision that we’ve been trying to highlight about Dutch management.

    The great failure of Dutch management is the inability to find a middle ground, a centre to operate out of, away from the perfection of the 4-3-3 they seek, going forward.

    It seem like they are almost always in the extreme spectrum of possession based football or the ugliness of what we see now, nonetheless from one LVG.

    I am going to say this again. There have been golden generations in Dutch football, undoubtedly. But there have also not been a single time that Oranje haven’t had a respectable set of players to choose from if only they could open their eyes and be more receptive to what’s at hand.

    Problem is, Dutch management have always operated in a position of a self-inflicted handicap. They are still glued to the idea of finding that special 11 that’s going to replicate the dazzle of Cruyff and maybe that 1998 group.

    Any less than that and this sort of inferiority complex kicks in, in the form of half-hearted schemes and ideas which have worked as much as they have failed.

    The 2010 Marwijk campaign was mostly borne out of the prolonged frustration that emanated out of the failure of the “beautiful” football that culminated in us succumbing to a counterattacking Russian team in 2008.

    The successful campaign of 2014 also seem to be quite accidental. The Strootman injury at the eve of a world Cup ushered in the decision to abandon the 4-3-3 and go in the way of increased pragmatism. This paid off in spades and nearly landed us a fourth final.

    The disaster of 2022 also was casted out of what Lvg learnt from 2014. Alas he took it to extremes unheard of from an Oranje POV and left a legacy of confusion behind.

    My point is this: Dutch management have never been proactive in their appointments or general course of actions. All they’ve always been is reactive. And this is the reason why we’ve been floating in clouds of near greatness and, simultaneously, it seem, missing out of a lot of tournaments.

    The solution to the Dutch problem is simple. When you have the players to play your favorite 4-3-3 formation, by all means play it. But also realise that this is just a system. The concept of football can’t just be looked upon from the outlook of a 4-3-3. Sometimes you might clearly have a group of players perfect for a 4-4-2 or 4-3-2-1. Play it. Perfect it for as long as these set of players can serve its purpose.

    Do not wait on the 4-3-3 and your lack of ability to execute it, as a signal to go ultra defensive. The Dutch grassroots development is too refined,too advanced not to be able to find a decent holding midfielder or leftback countrywide. The players have always been there.

    Just don’t ask for a left footed right winger. An Overmaars should do fine.

  2. Dembele and Giroud subbed out at 40’!

    Deschamps is being exposed. I asked my son if Deschamps would switch formations and he said he hasn’t advanced enough to “unlock any new ones…” 🤣

  3. Messi is afforded SO MUCH TIME on the ball. France can’t be so ignorant than to not stifle his influence? At least LVG stifled him with Ake, Timber.
    France totally outplayed. No structure and organization. This totally baffled me. FIFA at works here? 🙃

  4. Argentina deservedly in front and showing some of you “experts” how difficult it is to play this team, and how you should be proud of us being undefeated against them and during the whole tournament.

    1. France is actually worse than we are tactically. They just have WAY better attacking talent. If we had Mbappe, Griezmann, Conan, etc., we would’ve beaten Argentina

      But regardless, this has turned into a very exciting match!

  5. Lvg had been horrible this tournament.

    Using matches that Netherlands did not even participate in as a metric to absolve his ineptitude is
    just outrightly ludicrous.

  6. What a goal!!! What a game!!!

    Messi was motivated because he saw Dybala had taken off his warmup jacket!

    Guillaume is ecstatic!!!

    I admit, this is better than Croatia vs Morocco!

  7. What a match. As I always say luck has to make a difference at the end. But luck favors the brave and those who yearn for it.

    Anyway, I also think this match marks the shift of the throne of best player from Messi to Mpabbe. Two great players but one is just beginning.

  8. I’m sorry, but I just cannot feel one ounce of anything but being pissed off that Argentina gets the Cup. Ever since 1978 (when I was 10) and the blatant and now exposed dirty play and payoffs by Argentina to “win the cup” and cheat us, I have hated Argentina. I loathe how they embody the bad sportsmanship of the South American style. I hate them worse than I do Brazil.
    So maybe I was viewing the Final through that lens, but I saw about 3 calls that crucially went against France. Calls that seemed to warrant either a card or a free kick. But it cemented in my mind the love fest that FIFA and the networks had all tournament for Messi. It seemed everyone was on his c$*k the entire time. Analysts, refs, and all officials.
    It just brings back memories of ‘78 all over again for me.

    1. I am absolutely with you @Bret. All WC-2022 was about making sure Messi-Mbappe show will happen, and Messi wins the trophy. I was 11 in 1978 and still remember my bitter tears when those cheats won Oranje in the final

  9. Dutch Lvg’s apologist fans: but Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia. And I know Oranje can beat Saudi Arabia. Oranje is unlucky. They should have been eventual winners on that logic alone🤣

  10. i didnt liked messi to win the WC..But arjetina out played france till 45 minutes or more..i am still gutted for what refree has doen Vs oranje..we all getting aged and this is a good generation..Sceloni is an example of open minded coach who goes with best 26 players ofArjetina…not by system or loyalty..like guardiyola said arjentine players can dribble,dumfries cannot,kuyt never did,klassen cannot,,then how we are goin to win anything??..we left Malen,Summerville at home ,may be Danjuma too..those guys might have been mercuriours at final third..who knows…Gakpo did his best…Memphis was out of shape,berjwin disappointed me the most…arjetina has 3 world cup we have nothing we lost to them in 2014,2022 and 1978…and they got it 2022 and 1978…i consider penalty shootout is little skill and lottery…why LVG went for it???naive negative approach cost us …
    LVG said we dont have wingers and he played with Blind and dumfries who cannot even dribble pass school kids…he left Malen,Sumerville,and Danjuma at home…Just beacuse he didnt call them in nations league…i wish i get a job as koeman’s team regarding player analysis…

  11. Also, at the end of the day, this final match was won by players, not by coaches. Players who got inspired to come out and play, because they were all eager to win the World Cup, not to avoid losing it.

    And they made it into an amazing, competitive match, particularly in the last quarter of regulation and through out the extra time! And that’s like what Jan’s article discusses as well — developing players who can attack, who can dribble, who can create and score — because France and Argentina have many players like that and right now, we either don’t have them, aren’t developing them, aren’t selecting them, or tactically restraining them. Hopefully, we can figure out which it is and do something about it by 2024 😉

  12. The most random tweet stat I saw today:
    World Cup most threatening and progressive passers per ninety minutes:

    Antoine Griezmann 🇫🇷
    Luke Shaw 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
    Luka Modric 🇭🇷
    Daley Blind 🇳🇱

    Daley was avg 5 ball progressions via pass & 0.15 Expected Threat ( Pass + Cross) per 90 mins. These are players who played at least 450+ mins

  13. I know a few have brought up formations & potential Oranje XIs using some form of 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 tactical setup. If you look at the U21s under Van der Looi, I’m seeing a lot of flexibility in formations…which is pretty typical to where modern football is going. The last 2 matches featured a 3-4-3 system.
    I’m wondering how much has been influenced by the likes of Pep, Klopp Tuchel or even Nagelsmann.

  14. Hahaha Victionary_47 what a cool statistic for us to end this World Cup with. Daley Blind made it in a Top 4 list HAHAHAHA. Love the irony. I think Daley will get one more cap so he gets 100 in total and then it’s curtains. He will probably make a move to Van Bommel’s Antwerp, but I hope he will leave Ajax through the front door.

    @orangutan, yes I think your first comment on the post nails it.

    To all others: what a final! I enjoyed it and shoot me down, but I am happy for Messi.

  15. @ Victionary_47

    RE: World Cup most threatening and progressive passers per ninety minutes:

    if you do a break down for thats stats I think it will all come from the USA game which again doesnt show the true picture of his performance at the WC especially in those tighter matches. you have look at the overall picture here and if you look at the other three they were quiet consistent through out. thats the difference.

  16. I missed the final but overall you have to give Argentines the credit for the dedication, spirit and how they wanted to do anything, go any length to see Messi win the world cup. They had the grit and passion to win and it goes back to that saying ” victory belongs to those who believe in it the most” imagine coming off the defeat in the first game and then winning the world cup. I think coach Scoloni also deserves to be acknowledged and applauded for his techincal role building the team and playing the right cards. My predication was France and Brazil final but unfortunately for the high profile brazilians, it was not to be. In between doe anyone know why Neymar was not part of the PKS. I think between brazil and argentine the major talking point would to that of Neymar and Messi’s impact in the team. neymar played out of his usual position and compared to messi he looked flat / casual around the rising talents breathing down his neck ( competition). Not sure though if he was 100% and playing with injury. is it his time at brazil has come to end and simply he has to clear the pathway for others.

    Japan would be another team that deserves special mention in this world cup. they were the surprise package in this tournament and deserved to go very far. unfortunately the lady luck was not only their side.

    1. @wilson Grit doesnt make you champion…Arjetina couldnt beat French and Dutch..Emiliano martinez is an excellent stopper at penalty..either you call it as penalty lottery or Emiliano wonder miracle…Also We got robbed .Redcard for Paredes,No VAR120 minutes,Gakpo penalty appeal didnt even go to VAR..Messi can walk free after playing volleyball in football ground..Fifa wanted to make Messi the king,Icon.Messiah whatever ..They Did…Even yesterday De maria was doing exgeration of small touch..Hence got penalty..but since france was playing below par till 60 minutes we can agree that Penalty was inevitable..
      i do agree LVG made a stupidity to go for penalty but we got Robbed off for this midget…the midget wants to revenge for requlme..

    1. And I wonder if Messi will wear that Arabic robe from the medal ceremony to PSG’s first post WC training session. He looked utterly embarrassed / bemused when they put that on him.

  17. There are a few sketchy characters in this Arg team but none comes close to that big jerkoff keeper. What kind of a person does on TV that gesture with his golden glove when millions of kids around the globe are watching? I had my son and daughter watching the game with me and the rest of the family and I was so embarrassed. That guy is mental or on drugs, there’s no other explanation. Best penalty stopper I have ever seen but a very hateful character. Biggest moron of this WC followed closely by Paredes, Otamendi and few others.
    Much respect to Scaloni who has been the most dignified figure in Argentina’s camp.

  18. What if LVG had gone with 433..
    with subs
    Koopmeiners VS arjetina….By taking Ake,timber virgil we could have foooled them for 532 until we show up on the feild…..Frimpong and Malacia would ahve kept Acuna and montiel on back foot…Timber would make sure midget doesnt get any service..etc…Berghuis and Gakpo could cross in….Frnkie and taylor would be excellent in mor advanced position…

  19. After the 1934, 1938 WC under fascist rule, 1936 Olympics under Nazi Hitler and 1978 WC under Military rule, this Qatar 2022 WC counts among the worst with dubious penalties, oil money and Corrupt FIFA. Note: Normally i don’t talk or bring politics in sports but forced by circumstances to tell this.

  20. Overall, I think the refereeing of the final was OK. A few mistakes here and there (6 yards instead of corner, for instance), but nothing unusual and without much consequences, I’d say.

    Maybe the conspiracy was to get the two teams to the final “et que le meilleur gagne”?

    I’m with you, Jan, happy for Messi…

  21. @ Wilson
    Danjuma- Gakpo
    Gravenberch- Simons
    Malacia-Ake- Van Dijk- karsdorp
    Noppert/ Bijlow
    I copied your suggested line up. As I really like it. I have a few thoughts. Your line up is essentially a 4-1-2-1-2 (4-4-2 diamond) when frenkie drops deeper than the other 2 mids. I would revert back to a 4-3-3 with gakpo on the left and lang on the right.

    Danjuma/depay/brobbey etc. through the middle. Im leaning towards brobbey (in a few years time) if we have lang, gakpo and simons on the field. I feel like we need a player who can link up and bring teammates into the game as well as having strong finishing skills

    Im surprised you have karsdorp ahead of frimpong. Any particular reason why?

    I really hope gravenberch can start for NT but I am still not sold yet. I am sure he will develop into a world class mid, but until he makes a step in his development, I would stick with koop next to frenkie and free up simons to be creative.

    Same thing can be said about simons as with gravenberch. However, his trajectory is so good right now, that I think its ok to take a risk with one youngster next to 2 defensively solid mids.

    It feels a shame to not include de ligt, timber or botman in our starting 11 but i agree that VVD and Ake have to start.

  22. @ Jan. Thanks always! “ORANGE BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD”
    When do we ever go back to the drawing board? Never! Let me tell who’s going to go back to the drawing board. Germany is going back to the drawing board. After this horrible WC campaign, I guaranty you, the whole football community is Germany is going to seat down and reflect on what happened. How did that happen and why and make sure that never happens again. They going to look at the root causes of it. They maybe going to look the coaches, the tactics, their football academies and what’s being thought, they youths, their approach to modern football, how much money that is being spent in football, players transfers just to name a few and then come up with a long term plan. I guaranty you, after all of that, Germany is coming back in 2026 and become world champion. Have the Dutch done that? What have all these expert done for Dutch football? Dutch football have produced more talent in the past 35 years than most footballing countries in the world. What do we have to show for? Nothing! How come every time there is a golden generation somewhere else, they’ve accomplished something. France has done it twice. Spain have done it, Germany, Brazil and now Argentina. France almost won it back to back. Are the French better than us? Have we gone back to the drawing board, you not have hired Van Gaal, Danny Blind, FD, Koeman, back to Van Gaal, back to Koeman again and maybe back to Van Gaal again when he turns 80. I think your title should have been “THE DUTCH, A COUNTRY OF LOOSERS” (specifically to football) by the way. People like myself has no faith in the future of Dutch football unless I’ve seen signs that prove otherwise.

    1. AZ, I agree but that moment of Messi talking to Weghorst was really hilarious. Weghorst brought it to himself. He was begging for Messi to be nice to him after a very tense game and after that mocking on the field a few mins earlier. Why humiliate yourself like that for some moron’s shirt? You only respond to scum like a scum otherwise walk away because they will crush you. While most of them grew in a western society they still act like their origin. Look at Martinez, grew up in England and acts like someone from the jungle.

  23. @Wilson, anthony;

    I agree that the lineup you are discussing is the framework of the lineup going forward at this time.

    So a couple of observations from me in search of comments from either of you or both.

    Starting at the back: VVD usually plays lcb at Liverpool. Any thoughts on him playing lcb with the NT? Leaves Rcb to De Vrij, Timber or De ligt. Agree Ake has to be on the filed, but him at lb ahead of Malacia. (He has played there before.) It could be similar to ’98 where of the two fullbacks, Numan was always looking to go forward, and Reizinger was more stay at home to provide balance and protection along the back.

    I think that Gravenberch is ultimately the fellow to play next to De Jong in the mf. From what I’ve seen of him this year, the move to Bayern will ultimately pay dividends, as it looks like he is digging and learning to play more positionally than at Ajax. If he puts that together with his physical gifts, he will a top, top player.

    This does leave De Jong as the deepest and most defensive minded mf. I wonder if Koeman would do this, as in the past he played De Roon behind him. I also don’t discount Wilson’s acknowledgement of Wijnaldum as being in Koeman’s mix in a deeper role as a partner for De Jong. Koeman stated once that he thought he played Wijnaldum out of position, but that was best for the team. Of course, supposes that Wijnaldum shows Koeman that he has anything left.

    I like Simons at 10, Danjuma/Gakpo on the left. I’m of the belief that Brobbey will eventually take the central striking role, but that may come later. The right winger is an issue. Lang is a thought, but he doesn’t normally play on the right, and right now, just based on performance over the last season and a half, I’d say both Danjuma and Gakpo are ahead of him. If Danjuma takes the left side, Gakpo could move to the right. I think he could be be fine there, but you never know.

    I notice that neither of you mention Memphis. To me, his NT productivity puts him in the starting lineup in the immediate future.

    So, my preferred NT lineup for the upcoming Nations League Finals—assuming everyone is healthy:

    Danjuma Memphis Gakpo
    Dejong Gravenberch

    Ake VVD Timber/De ligt/De Vrij Frimpong


  24. @ Wilson. Keep on dreaming my friend. None of these line up can win us a WC. We really need to go back to the drawing board. I’m sure you’ve watched the WC. Players from the other teams were so far superior. All of you guys need to take a step back and hopping for much talented players coming from the pipe line.

  25. @AZ-Forever

    I consider this shirt extremely shameful.

    Ilústrate the low level of argentina players the the worst of this country idiosyncrasy.

    This country praise the “viveza” the way to solve problems in a tricky way outside the law, best illustrated in the Maradona goal with the hand, now the “bobo” frase. It’s a country that idealize broken idols, very shitty people, like an assassin like Perón, his communist wife Evita, Maradona, a drug addict that supporter the worst dictators is Latin America, like Fidel Castro or Chavez. Not only support, he worked from them to clean his image and received money for doing that. As Venezuelan I know, Maradona is really hated there, hated for the people who loves liberty or freedom and fought for the democracy we sadly lost.

    Sorry but I cannot admire this team. A team were his leader celebrate a goal humiliating Van Gaal “a la Riquelme” and after the game go to insult Van Gaal, like the his goalkeeper, that after the game went to insult Van Gaal, and celebrated the World Cup winning using the trophy as a dick.for me Martinez is garbage as a person. I cannot admire that.

    I believe that national team represent a country, and for me argentina image is extremely low class people. And as a fan I personally feel insulted and humiliated because of the way they behave against the Dutch team, even if I am not Dutch.

  26. @ Wilson. I said it on this post many times and Jan has said it in its recent post. We simply weren’t good enough. I think, had Van Gaal brough Danjuma and also play some of the younger players, it would have been less painful to watch. Would have played better football but I still think our limit was the 1/4 final. The way Van Gaal chose to play including his team selection made it very painful to watch but I don’t believe the outcome would have been different. We just need better talents period. Have you seen the Moroccans? These guys are technically superior that us. When I looked at the French bench, they are way better that our starters. Let’s look at some of our players. Depay for example has not made any big impact since he left the Dutch league. Months before the cup he was not even playing for Barcelona because he simply not good enough. F De Jong, since leaving the Dutch league, has not found his form. He was supposed to be our super star at the WC but he was horrible. Cody Gakpo, is a decent player but nothing extraordinary. Look what Mbape is doing at 23 years old. Gakpo can even get close. So my point is I don’t think tactic nor player selections would have made a difference in this WC. We need to start producing talents again.

  27. I too was appalled with Martinez behaviour. I always liked him as a goalie (Villa and Arsenal) but he showed his colours, also against us, and trolling MBappe after the finals and that rude gesture with his trophy in front of millions. He’s a thug. I don’t like him.

    But I highly rate Lisandro Martinez, I have soft spot for Tagliafico (Nicoooooooooo) and I think Messi is and was and has always been the best….

    We had a well known and well informed Dutch journo on TV who works and lives in Barcelona and is close to many Dutch players and coaches who lived and worked in Spain and he said that what Messi said to Weghorst is not actually an insult or curse word. He said it means someone who is staring with his mouth open. Not sure if he is correct of course. i am sure the journo is a Barca fan and a Messi fan, so he might be trying to make it nicer.

    @Jean I think you have still some anger in your system :-). I get your point, about the not-learning thing of the Dutch, but I think you are wrong about the generalisation of it. Like in 2010, most people in holland do not enjoy the way the team played. And there is one big reason why I think it will change, and his name is Ronald Koeman. Not that I rate him high as a coach, per se (I don’t, I think Peter Bosz would be the best new coach…) but Koeman despises Van Gaal and will do everything to 1) do it differently and 2) win over the players and the fans to show the big narcissist how it’s done.

    And listen: it doesn’t take too much to change our fate around: we need a different shape ( 4-3-3 in some form) and we need to develop street ballers again. Like Pep said: players who can dribble. I think we have them. Xavi Simons, Noa Lang, Cody Gakpo, Frenkie de Jong, Tyrell Malacia, Frimpong… My next post will be: Oranje, what the future brings….

    1. @Jan, that dutch journo is either too fond of Messi or simply gullible. BoBo is a pure insult equal to “imbecil” and the tone and expression on Messi face when he said was full of anger and pure scorn. It doesn’t take a psychologist to realize that.
      Argentina needed this thuggish/war like attitude to get all the way but they couldn’t stop being jerks even after winning the ultimate prize. I wish Qatar would enact their laws for public lewdness and publicly castrate Martinez on that same podium 🙂 Martinez doesn’t seem to be too stable mentally.

  28. @ Jan. It has been close to 40 years for me at least because I’m 49 yrs old and I have been watching the Netherlands since 88. Do you image if France had produce that many talents as we did in the past 35yrs. They would have caught up with Brazil by now. What have we learned? Every time France produces a group of talent, they’ve capitalized on them. The Zidane generation, the Mbape generation almost wont it back to back. I am angry because it takes a lot to be a Dutch fan. You can even open you mouth around your friends because first things they say is ” what have you won” HAHHAHAA
    I don’t think the people from the Netherlands are demanding enough from whom ever is in charge of football in their country. A great football nation with nothing to show for. It’s definitely time to go to the drawing board.

    1. @jean_venette..i do suffer same like you..started following oranje since 1994 i was 14 year old back then now 42..Since 2007 i am here in this blog..All people here will ask how many trophies you have ..you are just a mediocre team infront of arjetina..its takes a lot to be a ducth fan..i am fed up with stubborn nature of coaches,and their baised selections..Not recongnising the blind spots..
      Van gaal got us to Wc2022 that was good..He did terrible in Wc2022…i did expect that from him..this was due to playing 532 primarly and omting players such as Malen,Summervile,struijk,Botman,and Gravenberch,Vilhena,Brobbey..etc..what if he played with
      Malen as sub????

  29. jean_venette

    The answer I was looking for was the balance factor. If you look at the team in 2014 this was the main factor which propelled the team to the SFs. The big three upfront, the back three with vlaar as the general and nigel in the middle as the enforcer. This was what was missing in this version of van Gaals setup.you would recall how van Gaal claimed that this team was better than to that of 2014 one but apart from the backline there was no other talking point about the rest.

    Even if you look at the winning Argentines they had this from top to bottom. I recall how otemendi was ridiculed here and their backline characterised as weak but they proved the critics wrong. The rise of their midfield. Fernandes, De Paul and Macallister after the injury of le celso and pappu gome. Their forwards and of the bench impact as well.

    To say this team was simply not good enough is a insult on those players who had alot to offer but were either made to play second fiddle or “needed when required”

    I think with a slight variation the team would have been more competitive. I mean van Gaal did this with kyut in 2014.

    Lang- Depay


    Malacia- Frenkie- Timber- frimpong

    Ake- Van Dijk- De Vrij


    This would have the best line up to counter Argentina head to head.

  30. @ Wilson. I don’t disagree with you with this line up. With your line up we certainly would have watched some good football but I doubt we would have made it any further that the 1/4 final. There were way too many qualities on the other teams. I’ve seen Lang played. He is a decent player but he is not consistent. Depay, has not impress anyone in a long time plus he was not fit. I’ve only seen highlights of Frimong, he has never played for the NT, so I can’t really comment on him. Bottom line is and I hope you would agree with me that we can’t count on these guys 4 years from now. We need a lot more talented players that can compete at the highest lever.

    1. @Jean – Rough day? Youve made several posts that are so extremely negative. If supporting holland is so horrible, why are you here? I am not sure you know what being a fan is all about if everyone of your posts is aimed to say how terrible everything is and attempt to shut down anyone elses optimism. Its tournament soccer once every 4 years. The probability of winning is extremely low. We are going through a rebuild and 2022 was never a realistic expectation to win. If you say the expectations were the 1/4 finals, then why are you so miserable that we achieved our expectations?

      Almost all of our players will be hitting their primes in 2026. 2022 is a building step towards developing this squad.

      Players who will benefit from 4 more years of development:
      RB Frimpong Rensch Geertrudia
      LB: Malacia, Bakker, Wijndal, Maatsen, Meijer
      CB: Botman, Timber, Van de Ven, De ligt, van den berg, Struijk
      CM: Taylor, Simons, Gravenberch, Quinten, Koop, Schooten, Veerman
      Wingers: Lang, Summerville, Gakpo,
      ST: Brobbey, Zirkzee, Boadu, Malen

      Players who will likely be at similar levels
      RB: Dumfries
      CB: VVD, de vrij
      CM: Frenkie,
      Wingers: Bergwijn
      ST: Memphis

      Players who will have regressed:
      Lb: Blind
      CM: de roon, klassen
      Wingers: Berghuis
      ST: Luuk, Wout

      All the players who are going downhill are not players that hurt us to lose. We have plenty of talent to replace them.

      Its hard not to be optimistic with this potential!

  31. And about the final, truth be told Argentina was superior to France for 80 mins. There was only 1 side playing until a monstrous effort by Mbappe who had been asleep until then. In terms of performance on the field Argentina deserved it, but with their disgusting attitude I wish France had pulled it off. If only Deschamps was smart enough to bring Benzema at least for the final. Benzema next to Mbappe would have overwhelmed Argentina.
    It will be interesting to see how we will match against France. They have so much talent in their team.

  32. The nations league must be utilised to bring in new players and set up the team and increase depth. Recent nations league matches were utilised by other teams for testing their bench strength and they benefited. Dutch missed the opportunity. The preparation for 2024 euros and 2026 must start from now.

  33. I like your lineup very much Wilson. And there could be different variations and formations which makes it even better.

    You would know that Dutch management is truly in the wilderness when nothing(I mean absolutely nothing) like this have ever been experimented. How close minded and arrogant can one possibly be as an organization?

    Jean, you waiting for the golden age of Bergkamp and Cruyff to feel that we can compete is very much in line of thinking with the Dutch management you complain about.

    Individually, with the exception of Messi, this Oranje team you deem not good enough is better than the Argies. Argentina is just a well coached team that played with no fear and seemed to want it more than all the opponents they encountered.

    Wilson’s lineup, with an addition of good and untested players like Struijk, Dumfries, Geertruida, Matusiwa etc could really be a good collective if given a chance to earn their places.

    Argentina did not wait for another Aguero or Batistuta. They played a good player in Alvarez and voila!

    We could do the same. The players, good players, are there, opened to be coached to success. Is management minds open enough to do so is the real question.

  34. @ Orangutan. You are right. Argentina without Messi was an average team but they had Messi. Argentina in 86 was an ok team but they had Maradona. If you just have an average team with just average players you are not going to win. You don’t need to have a Messi or a Maradona but with an average team you need to have at least 4 or 5 players that can make a difference when the time comes. For example, you can have an average team with Levandowsky, Philip Lahm, Marcelo, N’golo Kante and Arjen Robben and the rest. That’s my point. Do not kid ourselves. Our current roaster is too average no matter how you line them up.
    @ Antony. Keep on dreaming! I am having a bless day by the way.

  35. @ Antony. You know why you have issues with my post because you just want to be a cheerleader. I want to win. BIG DIFFERENCE! I can only be optimistic if I see that the KNVB was doing what it takes to turn things around, but unfortunately there is no indication that proves otherwise. And by the way, for me by far I think 1998 was Holland’s strongest squad. Had Overmars was not injured against Brazil, I think if would have been our year. So if in 1998 we did not win with the talents we had, what made you think we can win anything with our current roaster? Have you looked at France, Marocco? We need reinforcement.

  36. Guys, I’m with Jean on this one. All of these proposed lineups are aspirational, because they rely on young players who haven’t done anything yet to become reliable contributors on the international level. Maybe that will happen, but maybe it won’t. We all like these lineups because we think, “well, he couldn’t be any worse than having [current inadequate starter] there now.” But the reality is, we have no idea how good any of these unproven players will be. It’s like American football fans always clamoring for the backup quarterback to play. One quantity seems known and the other unknown, and if we’re dissatisfied with the known, the temptation is to assume the unknown is better.

    When we once again have Dutch international players who are starring for major club teams in Europe (e.g., van Basten, Gullit, Rijkaard, Bergkamp, Sneijder, Robben, van Persie) then we can compete for a World Cup / Euros. Right now, Frenkie, Virgil and Ake are really the only ones in that echelon and Frenkie is not necessarily a good fit at Barcelona, and Virgil I think is in decline. Players like van be Beek and de Ligt, who showed initial promise, have at this point failed in bigger leagues.

    We need to continue to develop our young players, particularly from an attacking standpoint, in players who are sought after and who can compete at that level. That should be the focus for the next four, eight, or 12 years. And I’m not ruling out Gakpo or Lang or Simons or any of the young players that are in contention for positions. I just haven’t seen any of them perform at the level that would cause me to expect them to have similar success with Oranje.

    1. @JB I see what you are saying, but theres more to the story. The talent pool is alot deeper in every position compared to several years ago. This means that the probability of a player becoming a success is higher.

      We also have dutch soccer on the rise with the performances in europe/coefficient.

      When you talk about unproven players, they are not all unproven at club level. We have botman who has been one of the best defenders in the premier league, and he cannot make our squad. Compare this to BMI and Vlaar as our STARTERS in 2014. Youll see that our #5 CB is much better than our #2 was.

      Our back ups at fullback are starting for leverkusen. compared to janmaat and kongolo at feynoord.

      Our CM is less established and we are being hopeful that someone can emerge. However, we have gravenberch at BM who are terrific at developing players. We also have Koop and frenkie currently. Theres lots of youngsters that will hopefully continue to develop.

      Wingers – Again we have a bit of hope here, but we have young wingers all over the continent. With many prospects scoring in top 5 leagues. Its not like we have guys like lens, narsingh, promes as our youngsters who we hope will turn into top talents. We have danjuma, gakpo, summerville, xavi simons, lang. On average, these guys already outperform any of the prospects we have had since the 2014 world cup. Guys like braaf are unproven (think kluivert, stengs etc) and hes at a level where we used to put our hope in, but thats not the standard of our current winger pool as its higher.

      Strikers – This is a tough one as we dont have top top strikers. Brobbey looks like a great prospect. Of course we have depay, danjuma can play here, maybe gakpo. Malen at dortmund is interesting. Then we have our hopeful players which is similar how we used to think. Players like zirkzee, boadu, hoogwoorf, redan.

      Basically, I am saying that its not a black and white scenario of known or unknown. Its the varying degree of known that is important as the more known you become, the more accurate our projections are. I currently think our prospects, on average, have produced in higher leagues and more consistently (and therefore more known), since any prospects after 2014 where we started a rebuild.

      1. Anthony:

        All of these are fair points, and I agree that we have far more depth, particularly defensively, than we did in 2014. But we have no world class creative attacking players right now. And in defense of LVG (which stuns me that I am doing), I think he recognized that too, and tried to implement a system that would allow us to be effective without relying on moments of individual brilliance from skillful attacking players.

        Maybe Gakpo, Lang, Simons, Brobbey, or someone else can ascend to that status and level of capability (they certainly have more upside than Lens, Babel, Promes, etc. from some of the more recent iterations). But we are going to have challenges competing at the highest levels internationally unless / until we have a least a few of those types of players. Messi, Mbappe, Neymar are unique once in a generation type of players. It would certainly be nice to have someone like that. We would be greatly improved with just a Griezmann, or Eriksen, or even a Phil Foden or Grealish. For whatever reason, this current Dutch generation lacks players with that attacking skill set (or maybe we have them, and they are just not getting the requisite experience or game time that they need to play that way consistently).

        My theory is that the KNVB needs to really return to the roots of Dutch football and continue to emphasize to the clubs and youth players the need to develop these skills and to reward and emphasize creative attacking play throughout all levels. We certainly have produced players of that quality before, and can do so again, but it really needs to be a focal point to identify and challenge and develop those players so that they can compete at the highest level for Holland.

        1. I 100% agree. all the top nations have top top attackers. We have good to great attackers but no one amazing.

          My theory is that we couldnt produce defenders for a while and we focused on building them. Now we have riches of them but no attackers. It seems we havnt had the balance right for quite some time.
          Imagine players of de ligt, de vrij, timber, frimpong, karsdorp quality, but as attackers. We would still have plenty of depth in defensive positions but so much quality up front too.

  37. @ Anthony. You know what your problem is. When ever ya’ll see these guys excel in the EREDIVISE, ya’ll start singing “oh my God, we’ve made it” but outside of the Dutch league, majority of them failed. Let me tell you, when you are good, you are good. Look at Zyek, great ball player, he moved from Ajax to Chelsea and quickly integrated although he has its ups and downs. Levandowsky, same thing. Gabriel Jesus at Arsenal same thing. Recently, most of these Dutch players who moved abroad, they all failed. Depay, very little impact, Malen, Boadu, Klivert, Klassen, Berghuis. Gravanberch has not played a single minutes since he moved to Bayern. I guarantee if he was that good, he would have been integrated pretty quickly. I predicted, if Gakpo is not careful, we going to lose him too. He is on a high horse now since the WC and he wants to move abroad. My advise to Gakpo is that, if he wants to move, he needs to join teams such as Leads United, Christal Palace, Newcastle, Brighton, Aston Villa, Schalke, Stuttgart, Werder, Valencia, Real Sociedad where he can be a starter and develop his game more.

    1. @ Jean – Come on man. Are you even reading my comments before you post hahaha. I literally posted that the difference between our prospects from 2014 era to now is that we have more young guys playing well OUTSIDE of the eredivisie. Your reply is shockingly unrelated to my point of view. If you are going to say I have a problem, maybe take 2 seconds to read my post first. I shouldn’t be surprised with your unwarranted and delusional negativity towards my post.

      Btw – Ziyech has has a very difficult time at chelsea… poor example.

      You can keep cherry picking negative examples, but that doesnt tell the true story about our prospects. It only tells the story of more negativity and misery from jean.

      Some current prospects abroad.
      Frimpong – excelling at leverkusen
      bakker – excelling at leverkusen
      Botman – Arguably transformed newcastles defence. Phenomenal season so far in the prem where most players require a transitional period.
      Summerville – recently started scoring for leeds
      Struijk – integral to leeds
      van de ven – doing well for wolfsburg
      schouten – seems to be developing well in italy
      Meijer – seems to be developing well in belguim
      Lang – his development until this year was great in belguim…. injuries have hurt him
      danjuma – scoring in la liga.
      gravenberch – is well liked in BM. Of course he is one for the future. Hes at a massive club and super young. I am confident he will develop.
      De ligt – starting for BM

      Lets also keep in mind that most contributors to the national team are not involved when they are super young. it takes time for them to reach their potential.

      Guys like Boadu, malen, brobby zirkzee etc can still end up as solid contributors to the squad. Why discount a 20 year old?

  38. its legit that there is more pool of talented players now then before and this has to be utilized to its full capacity and mould a competitive group. the way forward would be to build the team around those playing in more competitive leagues and are performing well. this is also where I sort of have to agree with what Jean has said about high expectations of eredivisie players when they break out and especially at Ajax whom always get preferential advantage during selection on the basis of ajax playing at European level where the dutch players are mostly shadow players . this absolutely should be chucked out of the door. I mean the mentality aspect of it that they are better than others (those playing in smaller clubs) without even them being subject to playing to prove themselves. The KNVB, DUTCH football , coaches have to move on from legacies, legeneds, culture, past and pave a new era for dutch football. this is only way forward.

    I was looking at a this video about how maradona showed his despise when scoloni took over the argentina team. well now he won the world cup.



    this is whats wrong when you are stuck and have to keep up with past. they dont wanna see changes as a fruitful way forward.

    1. @wilson I get what you are saying and agree with the theory behind it. I think every nation hypes up their prospects… especially in england. However, we havent really had many top propsects outside the eredivisie in the past few years so it makes sense that the hype of our prospects goes towards the players in the eredivisie.

      As for preferential treatment of ajax players, I think the WC squad was based on merit if you look at LVG strategy.
      Blind – absolutely deserved his spot. His experience is valuable and his contribution to the build up play is what LVG wanted. You can see that this fits the strategy. Other than malacia, there really wasnt a serious alternative. (Bakker is quite young and inexperienced)

      Berghuis – The only creative CM. Versatile. We do not have a player of his type. All our other CM play much closer to our defensive line, or are attackers being put into the 10 position (gakpo,lang). Simons can be this type of CM but theres room for both in the squad.

      Klassen- Hes a runner, has experience, has discipline. You can see why LVG rates him. The alternative would be a guy like Til.

      Taylor – His inclusion is probably the hardest to justify, other than the fact that he is there as a youngster to get experience. The alternative would be guys like veerman, schouten clasie. None of which are clearly ahead of taylor. Taylor also seems less prone to mistakes compared to the other guys.

      I am not saying that these players are within the top 26 most talented players for us. What i am saying is that LVG had a strategy and a reason for picking these guys. When you apply his criteria, you can see why the ajax players were selected over the other options.

      BTW Jean never said that our eredivisie players get special treatment (although I am sure he feels that way). He’s saying i overrate our players in the eredivisie.

  39. @ jean_venette

    Gravenberch has already made 17 appearance and scored one goal for for Bayern. the Bayern midfield is congested. musiala, sabitzer,kimmich and Goretzka are all ahead of him. it was his choice to go there and now faces a uphill battle fighting for minutes. i agree with what you said, the dutch players should opt of clubs where they are certain will get consistent playing time.

  40. From the level of competition I’ve seen in this WC, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. France has more than enough talents for 2 different (11). I was so impressed by the skills of the Moroccans, Portugal was very solid ect.. All I’m saying is that let’s hope we have some additional talents coming from the pipeline a few years from now. Hopefully we have strikers and wingers. Depay is already 28 or 29. I don’t think we’ll see more from him from what have seen already and Bergwijn is that kind of player you can bring 5 minutes before the game is over. By the way our next/first match under Koeman #2 is in March.

  41. @Jan

    My native language is Spanish.

    “Bobo” means stupid or idiot. It’s not a strong insult like “son of a …” but in some context can be offensive. This was the case.
    Nobody likes to be said “go out of here idiot” “what are you watching stupid”?

    The worst part is that the guy Helio is wearing the shirt is part of the team staff. And everyone accept it.

  42. My problem with this whole Weghorst story is that he should have scored the third goal and he could have asked for the shirt after. In the quarter final, our best player in the match is asking the shirt of the player from other team. Perhaps this is the state of Dutch football. They do not believe in themselves. And that’s why the team keep coming short at important moment.

  43. Lots of names circulating about players who might be getting selected for the next WC. The biggest problem for Netherlands are senseless coaches who refuse to play new talents. The nations league and international friendlies as well as substitutions must be properly used to bring the new players.

    1. @Manoj Is this accurate?

      Didnt LVG give debuts to Simons, Taylor, Rensch, Timber, lang, noppert, pasveer, bijlow, teze, schouten, flekken

      He called up frimpong,

      He had bakker, struijk, drommel, van de ven, botman, scherpen, brobbey in his provisional list.

      LVG has given plenty of opportunities to youth.

  44. Having a star studded team, itself is not a guarantee of success, when there is no cohesiveness/ compatibility with each star looking to achieve individual glory. The right way is to Play as a unit and win the duels. It is about motivation and mentality. Look at Argentina team they fought as a unit, they did not have the star studded players of the recent past like higuain, Aguero, macherano, Tevez, Diego milito etc. In this team. They fought as a unit to complement the efforts of their talisman for success.Its all about mentality and not about any individual glory. Kudos to the coach scaloni too.

  45. @ Anthony

    we cross roads again and what you are saying in context to giving players opportunity is not true Van Gaal said himself that he doesnt like having big squads and also doesnt like much changes. it was mainly during injuries that van gaal was forced to call up other player/new faces and with regards to Rensch and timber when he experimented them at RB was due to preferential favoritism.

    noppert would probably be the only one to have his career take off under van gaal. the biggest losser would be to that off malacia who had so much to offer but was deemed ” needed when required”

    1. @wilson – I think we need to define what giving player opportunities means. How many debuts in a 1.5 years should a coach be giving? What about calling up new players

      Debuts – i think 10

      Call ups/provisional squad players who are uncapped – 8

      Players who he brought back into the national team picture – Jansenn, BMI, Clasie, Karsdorp (got a call up i believe), Til. – 5

      My argument is that LVG is responsible for between 15-23 fresh faces in the dutch set up. That is an incredible amount of new players within 1.5 years, especially when its the year before a world cup and you want to get as much continuity within the squad as possible.

      You say that timber and rensch get preferential treatment as an experiment. Pick a lane! Do you want van gaal experimenting and giving young players opportunities? Or should LVG stuck with hateboer? Giving opportunities to rensch and timber is exactly what you are advocating for.

      Heres my question:
      What is the number of players that van gaal should have given opportunities to?

  46. @wilason Nah compared other dumb stuborn dutch coaches Van gaal gave chance to many new players ..Timber was playing euro2020.. But Van gaal gave immediate chance To Naoh Lang,Simmons,bijlow all were desreved call ups ,,but he screwed struijk,Botman…Perhaps cresecio summerville…
    While he wasted our time with hateboer,Brunomartins indi,Clasie,Teze etc….He should have taken Malen,Summerville,Brobbey as Depay was injred We were left with Lang,Berghuis,Berjwin…that to berghuis was midfielder..we lacked Depath at wings..which is his own fault..Malen would have livewere on left,So is summerville.Brobbey would have adaequetly repaced Memphis..
    LVG lost his chance to win a wc for him us by taking somefollowing wrong decisons
    1-Playing 532 and not playing 433..
    2-Not selecting a penalty killer,or he himself got fooled by thinking noppert is killer stopper of penalty??
    3-Not taking Vilhena,Summerville,Botman,Struijk,Malen ,gravenberch for Janssen,Luuk Dejong,De roon,Blind,klassen ..May be he should have dropped Memphis who was still not fit for WC..

  47. Malacia started yesterday for MU and was disappointed. VDB is not getting any minutes when a lot of MU players are out, I think he will go in January. At this time, LB position is worrying.

    Maybe Struijk and Ake should be tested as LB and let Botman/VVD play LCB

    1. That’s right. He play more like a hybrid CB and LB. He scored a goal but was at fault for both Liverpool goals. I will not read too much into his performance today though. He just got back from WorldCup.

  48. @ Anthony

    “Heres my question:
    What is the number of players that van gaal should have given opportunities to?”

    I think you are trying to sway away from the the context of what is being said about giving opportunities. as much as you are correct in one sense but then you also have look at it from other contexts as well. the opportunity for malacia to compete with Blind frimpong with dumfries and etc. I mean building a good depth factor/backup and we saw how this was crucial for many teams at the wc. I think this needs to be a highlight for the team under koeman especially with the options that are there.

  49. When arjentina started WC they played with papu gomes 34,De maria 34,Paredes andlautero martinez….But they were replaced with 21 old Alvarez,23 year old Mcalister, and 22 year old enzo fernades….That young aged runner gave them balance,they wre one of the best pressing teams in in this WC..Teams struggles against them for chances inlcuding france and us…only areal bombing was posible…
    When will didotic stuborn ducth caoches will understand that???i hard to live with Arjentina winning this planned WC and life is bitter since then…
    LVG has bottled a beautiful chance to win Wc for US…Now the teams are expanindg 40 or 48 teams at final…with lots of nonsense decisions by VAR and refree,i dont See a dutch victory in WC for many years with these stuborn ducth coaches…who are not willing to test new players…However i do see a light in Ten haag,arnie slot etc..
    Taking and playing Blind was instrumental in our failure…so was other side of dumfries ..or LVG restricted them to attack..May be Blind cannot recover…When you have an attacking full back or wing back normally opposite team goes in to defense mode,But seeing dumfries and blind teams are happy and starts attacking us like waves…
    When sceloni was takiing Mc alister and Enzo ..Van gaal dropped gravenberch and diidnt play Taylor….thats called stupidity..Not playing frimpong was a stupidity…not playing Ake or Timber as DM was a sttupidity….
    Arjetina played
    532 against us….thats called tactical flexibility…all of a sudden they played Lisandro at 3 men back…
    We need tactically flexible coach not stuborn stupid…

  50. Tiju, my old friend, thank you for the Holiday wishes. Best and warmest wishes for the Holidays to you, and all on here, as well.

    Time to turn the page, though. New year, new coach, new tournaments to look forward to.

  51. Man oh man, so many here must play FIFA or FM lol. If there’s a Timber that will play as a DM, it will be twin brother Quinten at that spot. Geertruida & Schouten are also good shouts.
    We can very well see Matusiwa called up esp if a summer EPL transfer is in the books (look at Brighton or Newcastle for his next destination)

    Going back to that QF match vs the Argies, I think LVG was ready for Scaloni to setup to try to mirror our 3-4-1-2 formation. Frankly I don’t think he cared bc he though he’d be able to fix the weaknesses Ecuador exposed in employing the same tactic. And maybe we could’ve scored the 1st goal w/ a Memphis-Bergwijn partnership back starting again. But unfortunately, we got outnumbered in midfield again & the two stocky strikers showed their form & got handles by the Argies CBs. Gakpo couldn’t find any space like before.

    Koeman gives me hope of some tactical flexibility esp employing a pretty bold 3-4-2-1 at times.

  52. Merry Xmas all! Emanueal, as for your Argentina comparison, I don’t think it works.

    The difference? Messi. Just like in 1986, when the Argies had a team built around Maradona, Scaloni now did the same with the young work horses on the pitch to support the brilliant Messi.

    We don’t have a Messi so copying what they do is not really sensible.

    If you want to compare the ORanje with another team out there, it will have to be Croatia or Morocco. They both have a couple of world class players, and completed with a number of decent but very hard working “servants”. And then you need your team to peak at the right moment (Amrabat example) and get a bit of luck.

  53. 🇫🇷 France coach Didier Deschamps on the World Cup final referee Szymon Marciniak.

    🗣️ Deschamps: “Argentina have never had bad luck with refereeing in this tournament. I would have preferred that you not ask me this question, I must be very careful. His performance was what it was and I’m not here to judge it.” 💥

    🗣️ Deschamps: “There are questionable decisions, as in any match. I don’t detract from their title. I’ve spoken with a member of the refereeing body and I’m not going to go into details. Congratulations to the Argentine team.” 🏆🇦🇷

    🔄 Regarding the changes of Dembélé and Giroud during the first half

    🗣️ Deschamps: “I don’t want to blame Giroud, Griezmann or Dembélé. They have helped us get here. We wanted a change of position with Kylian as soon as possible. At the break I have even hurt my finger.”

    ▶️ The France head coach did not clarify if he had been the product of his frustration or how he had hurt it.

    🗣️ Deschamps: “Mbappé has done a great job and, for this reason, he was so sad.” 💔

    🗣️ Deschamps: “It was a difficult match against a very good, intense, aggressive opponent. Despite everything, we were able to overcome a complicated situation. But that makes us feel worse. In extra time, we had the option of winning in the final minute. We shouldn’t have any regrets. Argentina were very aggressive.”

    🗣️ Deschamps: “We do not take anything away from them. We have experienced many emotions and it has been somewhat cruel. We were close bit it could not be. There are reasons for not performing in the same way. We lacked some energy.”

    🗣️ Deschamps: “There were many reasons which explained why we were not as good. Several important players had less energy but bringing on younger players with less experience but plenty of freshness and quality allowed us to keep dreaming.”

    🗣️ Deschamps: “But unfortunately the dream did not come true.”

    See what Deschamps says in the second last paragraph, very important for Netherlands selection policy.

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