Oranje bucks the trend!

And loses again vs England, for the first time in 22 years.

Now you all know that I don’t rate friendlies, usually. Particularly not when a settled team is practicing to prepare for a world cup or something. This time, it’s different. This is the first game of the new coach Koeman, using a number of new players and having to quickly forget the likes of Sneijder and Robben.

He was going to do things differently and he did. He started Zoet, he started Hateboer and he started with a 3-4-3 which at times became a 5-4-1.

The first phase of the game was for the strong English side. They kept Germany at 0-0 recently and I don’t have to remind you that they will be going to Russia. And we won’t. But somewhere mid first half, Oranje started to play a bit more adventurous. The centre backs had time on the ball, Hateboer and Van Aanholt pressed forward and at times we had good movement by Promes and Memphis, resulting in a first chance on a free kick (undeserved) when Promes ran into space in the box. His first touch let him down. Before that, some attempts by England and a distance strike by De Ligt.

There was a massive sweeper keeper action by Zoet around the 35th minute to stop an English counter, another Oranje highlight of the first half.

All in all, the interplay by the English was much better than the Dutch, but that was to be predicted, as they tend to be a settled side, as opposed to Oranje. Our defenders had time on the ball but to find the killer pass forward was still a problem. In particular Strootman and Wijnaldum could not make the turns to open up and find the forward pass. The Dutch left flank worked a bit better than the right side, with Promes coming inside a lot, allowing space for Hateboer but his attacking actions didn’t pay off in the first half. We got our first corner in the 40st minute. Great corner by Memphis but Dost didn’t seem to know how to deal with it, timing it wrong. Was a big opportunity for the struggling Sporting striker.

I can’t help but think that the 5-3-2 didn’t work vs this 4-4-2 English team. We always had an extra man at the back and without the likes of Daley Blind playing in the CB role, we simply lack good passers from the back, with De Vrij and De Ligt in particular probing but not having a lot of effective passing. In the final stage of the first half, the game became more open and end to end, but everytime we had a break the flow was stopped by a pass behind the man, or a touch to much.

England looked more composed on the ball but Oranje did show some promise. In the dying seconds of the first half, loss of possession in the final third allowed Memphis a shooting opportunity with his gifted right foot but he aimed straight at Pickford.

A good first half for Zoet, Van Aanholt, Hateboer, the back three and Memphis. A bit low key for Dost, Strootman and Wijnaldum, while Promes showed his…well…promise…in a couple of moments in the game.

Holland started well in the second half and might have scored the opener, when Memphis made a move to the goal line and crossed the ball to De Vrij who scored, but the goal was disallowed as the ball allegedly was over the line. Even in extreme slow mo it was really hard to tell, and the goal should have stood.

Not much later, the ref didn’t see a penalty in the challenge of De Ligt on Rashford. Could have been 1-1 by now.

England put the pressure on since that incident and Oranje’s defence started to look a little shaky. Even with 5 at the back, England found space and containing the ball or England became harder and harder for the Dutch.

Oranje at times tried to play out with long balls towards Dost, which definitely didn’t work too well, with Dost loose in possession and again, not used properly.

Around the 57th minute the organisation let Holland down, when Strootman was played out of position and possession got overturned. The smart Lingard found some space, the ball fell kindly to him and his low shot was too strong for Zoet: 0-1.

Oranje started to press and play with more intensity, resulting in two attempts on goal from Memphis (blocked) and Promes (row Z). Not much later, Bas Dost gets a flick on a low drive and tries to backheel it into the goal, but it was straight at Pickford. Oranje pressed more, with a long ball to Dost, heading it back to Promes who did get purchase on it, but again a good England block. Van Aanholt crossing a wonderful ball in where Hateboer flying in from the right flank almost was able to have an attempt on goal. De Light took a shot from distance.

Memphis started to get better into the game, with a nice take on the chest and a swivel and turn, but the shot lacked venom. By then, Babel and Propper were into the team to add some energy (Babel) and passing skills (Propper), shifting to a 4-4-2, with Babel deep and Memphis hovering around him.

In the 81st minute the fans sat up when Memphis got a free kick to take just out of the penalty area. Ronald Koeman territory. Memphis hit it with power but straight at the goalie.

Another Memphis instigated attack ended with Hateboer in the box, who got his shot away on the turn but the shot got smothered. In his debut game. Van de Beek and Weghorst would come on still for the final stages, where Oranje would play more opportunistic to try and get the draw. Babel from the right, Weghorst up top and Memphis floating.

Another Memphis action led to a shot from Van Aanholt ending up at the corner flag and Depay left another good mark on the game with a late side splitting pass diagonally into the feet of De Ligt, in the box. The young Ajax defender was ruled just offside.

The Koeman Work in Progress wasn’t able to get anything out of the game, but they had good spells in the game.

Strengths: desire, workrate, Van Aanholt, Van Dijk, De Vrij, Memphis.

Weaknesses: lack of flow, lack of creativity in midfield, Dost, Strootman, Wijnaldum.

I liked Propper in his short stint and Van de Beek will surely become a regular starter in years to come.

With the likes of Frenkie De Jong and Daley Blind and Marco van Ginkel added to the team, we might see an improving side under Koeman, surely good enough to qualify for tournaments.

Ronald Koeman: “We should have created more, but we weren’t as solid on the ball as I would want. But listen, it would have been silly to expect us to play England off the pitch. Defensively, I’m really satisfied. De Ligt was my Man of the Match but they all did well, including Hateboer. I won’t be making a lot of systemic changes, but I do need to see more from the forwards. I’m not depressed having lost my first game, it’s early still. And we were playing against top players. I think you could see that well at certain stages in the game.”

Skipper Virgil van Dijk was quite annoyed. “I really am annoyed we lost. We can play better, we were poor on the ball and didn’t create enough. Defensively it was ok, but we need to improve. Still, we’re playing a big nation here. It’s never easy against England, but I am not happy with the result.”


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  1. I don’t think Vananholt played that well though. I think our strongest line-up if all players are healthy should be:

    Depay Janssen/Locadia Promes

    Blind Wijnaldum Van De Beek Karsdop

    De Ligt Van Dijk De Vrij


    1. With back up

      El Ghazi/Justin Kluivert/Babel/Elia
      Locadia/Janssen/Weghorst/Luuk de Jong Berghuis/Bergwijn/Lens/Narsingh
      Pieters/Van Anholt/Willems/Brenet/Haps/Viergever Strootman/De Roon/Freenkie De Jong/Hendrix/Vormer Van Ginkel/Vilhena/Guus Til/Klaassen/Clasie/Fer Hateboer/Tete/Janmaat/Fosu Mensa/Veltman

      Ake/Kongolo/Indi/Riedwald Bruma/Van Beek/Denswil/Gouweleeuw Hoedt/Rekik/Van Der Hoorn


      1. Propper should be on that list as well.

        On Standby:
        De Guzman
        Van Der Heijden
        St Juste
        Van Drongelen

        These players should be the pool of players under consideration for National Team. The biggest problem is Dutch players are never healthy…..They always got injured…

  2. Maybe lets wait until after the Portugal game to make any decisions. They play a little more open so there will be opportunities for our offensive players going forward. I think the only change that has to be made to the starting 11 would be Strootman. At one point he was a very good player in Oranje, but right now he doesn’t look to fit in. I think Wijnaldum might be a bit more flexible, so put van de Beek or Propper beside him.

    After that I’d like to see Koeman make a few more substitutions. 0-0 at the half, lets bring on 4 guys or something. Not wait until the 90th minute to give Weghourst a chance. 90th minute subs are for killing time in competitive fixtures.

        1. Point 1-Its simple Logic Derek…NT doesnt have a striker…We dont have RVN or kluivert anymore…We are left with dost…
          Point-2 Neither Depay and Babel are not doing it.
          Point3-Dost is poor failure in NT and most importantly his connection for Fluid game is so poor…
          Point4–Propper has scored some goals for NT in the box like a strikers tapin kind or so.if he can finish in the box he can be a striker,He can dribble he has better ball control to hold up the play..
          Point 5 Over this time Propper has proven he is better striker than dost..

          So why not Dost????
          We need to find solutions if things are not going under our way..
          Propper can be a temporary striker,instead of wasting time with Dost etc…

          1. So why Dost??? and why not propper???..i think once we drop strootman-wijnaldm from midfeild we have plenthora of great options there…
            AM–Frenkie dejong,Vilhena,Vanginkel,Bazoer ,van de beek even Daley Blind can do it..

  3. Propper is not a clinical striker at all. Propper scores wonderful goals – if he scores – but he’s not a killer in the box. He’ll always look for another player, or check what the goalie does and tries to wrap his foot around it while turning his body…

  4. I think we all know we don’t have the best generation currently. I think we should accept that and not linger in the past too much.

    The key now is to take 22 above average but not world class players and form them into a team. With fighting spirit, intelligence and cohesion.

    That will not be done in 3 days and in 1 friendly.

    We need to give Koeman some time for this. We should judge him after the next 3 games and see where we stand.

    1. Jan, I agree but the real issue is where to find those 22 above average players. Only a handful of these guys are above average and mostly at the back. Our midfield and attack is a disaster. You know if you have to rely on Babel and Dost you are in deep sh!t. I just can’t believe we have stooped so so low. It is incredible. How on earth we can’t produce 11 decent , hard working players and most importantly a good manager? We used to supply the world with managers now everyone with a decent name is out of a job and has failed outside Holland. I want to cry when I remember talents like Van Basten, Bergkamp, Overmars, Gullit, Rijkaard, Sneijder, VP , ROBBEN etc. Just play Huntelaar for God’s sake. Dost is an eyesore, Babbel is a loser, Memphis, …meh. Duh. Sorry for again referring to the past.

  5. Next game…my choice
    Annholt—-Ake—van de beek—-Wijnaldum
    ——–Virgil—-Devrij—De ligt——
    i prfer Cillessen as faces Messi,suarea on daily basis so he wont have fear ..

  6. Both Advocate and Blind wasted times on Strootman and Dost and Strootman-wijnaldum noncreative midefiled combo…
    We have no time for that……Only wijnaldum to be retained with RB,Rw or false striker as his spot..
    Only fools make repetition mistakes..

  7. This was a game that should have sent a message to the world. Yes, we missed the World Cup but we can bounce back and start a new chapter.

    The defense seemed organized and was able to withstand the English onslaught for long periods of time. I didn’t see the usual panic defending, lack of communication and halfhearted attempts to tackle or mark opposing players. De Ligt was lucky to get away with a clear penalty tackle on Rashford.

    Midfield needs a lot of work! No initiative to push forward. Lots of safe sideways and back passing which gets annoying fast. Strootman and Wijnaldum just become pedestrians when they put on the orange shirt. We need creative players who can dribble and make forward passes.

    The wingers were non-existent! If you play with Dost as your target man, you need to feed him with passes and crosses. Otherwise, your whole plan failed right there an then. This was on Koeman. Should have made the change at half time. Either take Dost off or try other players who can make him effective. He was getting zero service from the midfield or the flanks!

    Koeman should give a chance to some newcomers in midfield against Portugal.

    1. “Either take Dost off or try other players who can make him effective. He was getting zero service from the midfield or the flanks!”

      I hope that Koeman will see this problem. Cut-inside type winger will not be effective.

  8. One tip on Weghorst,

    He is not a clinical striker, neither he is a supersub. His strength is tremendous workload and ability to annoy defenders. If Koeman wants to efficiently use Weghosrt, he needs to give him at least 70 minutes of play then sub with Dost who IS a supersub. He is not going to wait for passes like Dost, he will work hard for those passes. It is still funny for me that Weghorst plays for Oranje…This shows significant depletion of forward pool in the Netherlands…I miss Janssen. When he was in form he played very well for Oranje. Poor boy got lost. He should not leave Alkmaar…Anyway it is an old story.

    1. I equate Dost to Peter Crouch. If we’re down 1-0 in the 80th minute you put him in for his ability to control balls played into the box.

    1. Babel has no business in NT. I am willing to give Koeman time mostly because there is no choice but calling in Babel is just plain idiotic. Almost same with Dost. I bet if he played Van Persie or Huntelaar we would at least get some respect by the other team. I am hoping in a miracle by Koeman in the sense that he can assemble 11 decent players who even if they lose they show desire, some flashes of old times and work hard. We won’t be able to go anywhere in the next 3-4 years. When I read the comments on The Guardian about the game I got depressed. It was clear that we looked like a joke and everyone treats us with mercy in respect of old glory.

  9. Regarding Dost or Weghourst. I would prefer Weghourst I think, as at least he’ll draw some defenders by trying to make runs, and open up space for the wingers. Like a few people mentioned Dost is used to having wingers swing in crosses for him and being the focus of the attack, so he doesn’t really have that mindset.

    1. I agree and the reason why Dost is not effective in Oranje because we do not have right quality wingers. Both our wingers cut inside, while Dost needs wingers like Ali Reza Jahanbakhsh from AZ who will constantly give him balls from the wings without cutting inside. AliReza is the best winger of the Eredivisie but unfortunately he is not Dutch..

      1. To me Dost has big fish in a small pong mentality. He’s used to being the best player on his team playing in the Portugese league, and knows that all of the balls are going to him. Once he steps into International Football and he actually has to find proper space to receive balls, he is all but useless.

  10. So this is rather confusing. Hollands U19 squad needed only to beat Scotland to basically ensure qualification for the U19 Euros. Instead they leave Nunnely, Piroe and Malen among others on the bench, and lose the match.

    Now they’re in a must win against Germany’s U19.

    1. That’s why I said earlier, there is a coaching problem within KNVB, only U17 coaches has been doing ok in recent years, starting from U18-U21 we have been losing to lesser teams multiple times, it’s not a quality issue but a coaching issue, this qualifier is not a friendly, so why the heck this dumb coach broke up a brilliant team and put 6 new players in????? Some one tell me this not a coaching issue lol

          1. I never said rotating players is a problem, but rotating six players from a winning team that have not qualified for a major tournament yet is Suicidal and very amateurish mistake. You can keep blinding your eyes and not admit there is a coaching problem for youth team within KNVB, the fact is the youth team has been underperforming due to coaching issues for last couple years and as a result our young players have missed a lot of important game experience during their development.

          2. Given the talents that are in that squad, imo the rotation is totally justifiable.what would you do when you have a such a talented squad. Have them warm the bench. This is where they miss out alot. This was a feature of Danny Blind where he use to select players to come and warm the bench.any ways six changes but all were equivalent players no doubt and a positional change with malen in the centre behind Duin.

            From reading you post its sounds like you underrate other teams, when they also could be as good as them. You look at the U21s they drew with high profile England 21s but then lost to scotland.

          3. You have to find a way to but out your best 11 even if the 12th best player is also really good. Right now we’re looking at not making it into the U19 Euro’s which will be a bigger disappointment to those kids than having to start on the bench.

            We could have won the Scotland game and then put out all 2nd stringers in the Germany game once we guaranteed qualification.

          4. If you look at that qualifers.germany beat Scotland 3-0, norway beat germany 2-5, holland beat norway 6-1 and scotland beat NT 2-0.all are sitting with 3 point and only first place team qualifies.even if the stekelenburg never made changes,was the win guranteed.the equation is simple. Win the last game and qualify.apart from pierie and Markelo, stekelenberg had rotated most of the players coming into the scotland game and if he again decided to rotate players in the scotland games, does it make him a bad coach.he jus has to pick pieces and field the strongest team looking from the two games.

            Again I would emphasize on the talent in the squad and I wouldnt even dare to say that this was second string side.

            Agree that If they dont qualify, it will be dissapointing but Still stekelenberg will be in a better position now to select the best starting 11 vs germany.

  11. I think Frenkie De Jong and Donny Van De Beek are the best passers in Holland right now (based of video I see on YouTube).

    They will become the next Sneijder or VdV.

  12. There is no point bitching about the overall low quality of the midfield and specifically about Strootman and Wijnaldum. Has been said 1000 times.. That’s what we have and I am pretty sure everyone including the coaching staff knows about it. I am sure they have a plan too but hey you can’t transform players and the likes of Sneijder aren’t produced consistently in every generation. I am also sure that the coaching team wants to pass the button to the younger players but maybe not ready for prime time yet.

    Now, I saw a lot less back and side passes. The entire team was trying to be more attacking based on the very strong back 3 + our goalkeepers Zoet and Cillessen who are both very very good.

    Koeman said he will stop the side and back passes and to a good extent he did. That is very positive.

    Overall I like what I see, considering this material is in general weak compared to the past.

    I say the first test was rather positive.

    1. Well said and totally agree. On another note the injuries too have always hampered the situation.if you look at van ginkel and clasie, its a pity they havent been able to establish themselve at NT level.both are talented but at the same time injury prone.m looking forward to seeing a midfield of Frenkie- Van ginkel- Riedewald or frenkie- Clasie- Riedewald.

      1. Injuries have always been an issue for us, since we are not like Germany and France to be able to field two 11s… The WK qualification could have been different if we didn’t miss so many defenders all the time.

        And now? Frenkie … I have to say WTF !!!

        Anyhow I hope Frenkie recovers soon. Clasie could be super useful as well…

        Overall positive here, glass half full and Koeman finally seems to be the right man for the job !

        1. Really Sorry Demi….You cannot blame injury…Coz we just bottled it WITH DANNY BLIND..
          Strootman gift to Sweden..
          Refree saved sweden from Dost goal…
          stekelenburg gift To France..
          hugo Loris gift to Sweden..
          Little complacency of Advocate…
          We Bottled it
          No1 Culprit Danny Blind and his wrong selection of players like Stekelenburg,klassen etc cost us a lot..
          If Sweden,Iceland are there we should have been there as well…
          Really gutted to look in this world cup by a long time dutch fan…
          hOWMANY MANY GAMES needs to be spoiled to undertand these coaches that Strootman must be dropped and Wijnaldum should play as winger or RB like valencia??

          1. I don’t disagree with most you said. But all that has already happened.

            As per Strootman and Wijnaldum, this is the 4th coach in a row who fields them. Means the alternatives are not obvious. I think Koeman will try something else soon but we do have a general midfield talent issue at the moment. Frenkie and Donny probably not ready.

  13. Memphis should be deployed as a striker.

    Locadia- Memphis

    Van Ginkel

    Van Annholt- Frenkie- clasie- Karsdorp

    De Ligt- Van Dijk- De Vrij


    This could be the ultimate team.

    1. Now, with current selection, what is the best formation to face Portugal? Who will be the main striker?

      Because there’re no Locadia, Van Ginkel, Clasie, and Frenkie at the moment.

      1. —–kluivert—-Propper—-Babel—–

        IIF WE PLAY
        We WILL HAVE ANOTHER BORING GAME.PERHAPS A 0-0 SCORE…dOST-sTROOTMAN-Wijnaldum will make it so boring…

  14. Dost should have been given his start against Portugal. Since he plays in Portugal, he has a feel for their system and is also familiar with the players. But after his display against England, it would be interesting to see what Koeman does.

    It’s interesting to see how the new Oranje defense handles Ronaldo. That would be a good test for them.

    That 2006 World Cup game against Portugal still brings back memories.

  15. Possible line-up (according to football-oranje.com):

    Cillessen, Tete, Van Aanholt, De Vrij, De Ligt, Van Dijk, Wijnaldum, van de Beek, Propper, Memphis, Babel

    With this formation, who will be the central striker? Is it something like this?:

    1. Yes it will look like that most likely.

      I don’t like the idea of Tete starting over Hateboer.

      Also I think that Ake will get the nod ahead of de Vrij.

  16. Yes, we are not the best team anymore. But we were a team with the best players for decades and still didn’t won anything – except 1988

    Probably we had too many leaders , and that caused us never played like one team?

    so now lets start from ground zero.

    Positives is we have over half a dozen of very solid defensive players. we wont need to be worry about our defense for the next 6 years.

    How did De Vrij and Van Dijk played together? and adding up De Ligt?

    I do rate Ake highly and believe he could take one of the places or at least as a backup for any of the defenders.

    Fosuh Mensah also is our future.

    How do you guys rate Hateboer? Is he really better than Janmaat or Veltman? and anyone knows why Van Der Viel was dropped after the world cup? I thought Van der Viel was playing good offensively , no?

    As for the midfield, i have no hope for Strootman. Sorry but he hasn’t done anything, and his place should be given to the youngsters. Every game is an experience for them – for Van der beek and Frenkie do Jong, and we should build a midfield around them only. with other talents coming out.

    As for the strikers, only Depay would be close to world class (or having the potential to be world class).

    sorry , but i do not see any hope in Dost or Babel.

    1. Van Der Wiel had a couple injuries then faded, now he is playing for Toronto FC,it’s very likely his national team career is over. Definitely one of the underachieved talent, he was so good back in 2010. The guy seemed to be more into pop than soccer. We have enough talents on RB (Hateboer, Karsdorp,Janmaat,Tete,Velteman,the list goes on).The problem now is LB.

    2. De Vrij and Van Dijk together are great. De Ligt as well.

      Hateboer has great energy but his crosses aren’t too good.

      Janmaat is much better in the final third. Hateboer hardly scores, Janmaat does.

      Veltman I think is a central defender, not a right back.

      1. I think Karsdrop is our best option if he can grow on the talent he had before. If he stutters like Strootman did at Roma, then we’ll need a new option.

      2. Thanks Lucas And Jan!

        That answers my question about van der wiel.
        Agree we go enough taken on that right back .

        Sorry for veltman as we got too many central backs now ( anyone rate Wesley hoedt ? He seems a decent cemtral back also ! ) touch wood if any of our the three ( Virgil, De Vrij ,
        De Ligt ) injured I think he can be the replacement )

        Am I the only one who think Nathan ake can play on the left ?

        Whoever plays on left , Just make sure no more BMI forever !

        Van ginkel should definitely be included in the team

        1. Ake can play on the left in some systems but not other. Technically skilled on the ball, a decent physical presence, but kind of slow and will be unable to keep up with a modern day winger. He would need support.

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