Oranje: still a lot to learn!

There is a lot of positives to say about this Oranje. A lot of great stuff, good performances, quality talent, etc. So much great stuff to look out for.


We also need to be honest when it was not so good. Or bad.

And the Nations League finals vs Portugal, was bad.

The whole bloody match was pretty bad, from both nations. Portugal does like to play like they did. Their tactical set up is like this. Their DNA is like this. And they do it well. They played better than us, had more shots on goal / target and ended up winning it.

Holland played far below par.

And sure, we will spend a lot of time hailing our boys, talking about the future, the talents, Frenkie, Virgil’s Ballon D’Or, our performance in the Nations League, Weghorst, how tough it was to miss two tournaments, De Ligt’s next club, etc etc but it has to be said.

We didn’t play well. And we need to analyse why.

I normally despise it when after a bad loss or a bad game, players (and coaches) say: “It’s best to quickly forget this game and move on to the next!”.

No, I say. No! It’s important to analyse WHY you lose. Why you played bad.

And I have an idea. I think we lost on three counts.

And two counts are on Ronald Koeman. Our coach.

Yes, he’s excellent. He is experienced. He is well liked by the players, etc.

But he is also old-school. He’s not from the modern generation, like Pep, Tuchel, Ten Hag, Nagelsmann… He’s more like Michels and Hiddink combined.

The  three reasons I think we lost.

The Team needed fresh legs after the England game

We had one day less to prep for the finals. We also played an extra 30 minutes in a tough physical game. Some or our lads came out of a tough and long competition. Ajax, Liverpool, Atalanta Bergamo, Lyon…these clubs played a massive number of games and I think Koeman should have allowed some fresh players to play.

And don’t think I come up with this after the match, I said this before the finals already.

Ryan Babel, 32 years old, played tough matches with Fulham in a relegation battle. He should have been left out. I probably would have picked either Promes or Van de Beek in his place (with Van de Beek in Wijnaldum’s role and Gini playing as a false left winger / midfielder).

Marten de Roon had a tough competition and it was great to see how easy a fresh Davy Propper fitted into the team vs England. Propper didn’t play much in the final stage of the EPL season due to an injury. Why not use his qualities in midfield, vs a team that is used to turn games into chess matches…?

 We were outplayed tactically

Potugal doesn’t play as open as England. They stack the midfield and tactically astute Portugal would always focus on De Jong, to stop him (and Oranje) playing.

For me, the solution would have been using Davy Propper instead of De Roon. We would always win the midfield battle if we would have had one more player there with build up skills (Propper) and – see above – a more midfield style forward on the left, as opposed to Babel. We allowed Portugal to play us like they wanted to play us and we simply didn’t have the physical strength to take them on. This is where Koeman should have been smarter.

Some Players didn’t reach their level and should have been replaced

It didn’t take long for us all to see that Denzel Dumfries was not in great shape. He had a tough game vs England already, but vs Portugal, they allowed him acres of space and he didn’t do a lot with it. Dutch TV showed a clip of highlights lowlights with terrible touches and passing by the PSV right back. Now, don’t get me wrong: I think Dumfries will turn into a great full back for us. He’s strong, quick, tall, he has balls and – usually – a good cross. But when he plays like he did, why not replace him? The best option for Koeman to replace him with? Quincy Promes!

He plays wingback for Seville at times and does so very well. He would have been as vulnerable defensively, ok, but offensively he would have done so much better.

We needed some smart and balls by Koeman and I fear he let us down.

Memphis didn’t have “it” either but Memphis will always be a threat. He didn’t play great vs England but was still able to create three goals!

And obviously, we should spend a lot of time here applauding the lads, applauding the team, the coach, the clubs, our revival into the big time! Of course.

Some lessons from the past Nations League Matches…

Who will assist Memphis upfront?

Memphis Depay was the leader upfront, with three goals and five assists, he was involved in 8 of the last 9 Oranje goals. When Memphis is on song, Oranje has a bite. When he’s not, the wingers Babel and Bergwijn need to step up. The framework is there, but once the creativity on the ball in an attacking sense is faltering, we need Plan B or C.

It’s not Memphis Depay who is the symbol of this Oranje rejuvenation.

It’s Daley Blind. He was seen as a top player in the Ajax youth. Once he stepped up to the first team, there were doubts. He was too soft. Too slow. What position is his? A good player on several positions, but on none of the spots was he the absolute star.

Last season Blind played 17 matches for Man United as filler. His career was on a crossroad. Another EPL club? West Ham? Interest from Italy? Ajax swooped in and paid a lofty sum for the introverted Blind but his Ajax season is symbolic for Dutch football. He played 60 odd matches and was one of Ajax’ best players this season. He was also one of the few Oranje players who played really well vs England and Portugal.

“Daley Blind isn’t a talker in the group, he’s not loud. But he is our tactical brain n the pitch. He sees situations quickest of all. He is always positioned well. I use him on the pitch as my assistant coach. I only need to use a few words and he gets it and deals with it,” says Ajax coach Erik ten Hag.

Blind is a top player, not just tactically, also technically, mentally and physically. He only missed on national cup match vs the amateurs of Te Werve.

He was one of the mid 20 players who were supposed to lead Oranje, under Guus Hiddink and Danny Blind. Strootman, Wijnaldum, Blind, De Vrij, Memphis…

But they weren’t up to it. Then.

Now, combined with new Oranje leader Virgil van Dijk and cocky youngsters like Frenkie and Mathijs, the generation Blind/Wijnaldum is stepping up, just like Memphis has re-juvenated his career.

Frenkie’s threatening and penetrating play was stifled successfully by the Portuguese, but he demonstrated many times before (vs England and with Ajax) how capable he is. He is constantly able to glide away from opponents, he has an eye for time and space and is able to dictate the rhythm of the team. But also, when losing possession, De Jong is a force to be reckoned with. He is quick, he reads the game, he can defend and tackle and most importantly, he is able to perform a technically perfect sliding. Frenkie drives the opponent mad.

And with De Ligt also making his way to the European top, one can only assume that our team will improve as a result. Donny van de Beek might follow while Bergwijn and Cillessen are also nominated to make a move up.

Eleven matches ago, Koeman fielded his starting eleven for the England match we lost. Only four players are still in the starting line up: Van Dijk, De Ligt, Wijnaldum en Depay. And none of them playing on the same position now, as Koeman abandoned the 5-3-2 for a 4-2-3-1.

Strootman started as the vice skipper in Oranje and was one of the pantomime villains under Hiddink/Blind. Today, he’s sixth choice, behind De Roon, Propper and Van de Beek. The midfield issues Oranje had are solved. De Roon is playing CL football next season, while Propper is clearly too good for Brighton and on his way to bigger things: Ajax or another EPL club….

This summer will be huge for Oranje. Koeman has rejected any suggestion that he’d go to Barcelona. He’ll stay. Bergwijn, Promes, Berghuis, Propper, Weghorst, De Ligt, Van de Beek, but also Malen, Kluivert and Weghorst…what will they do?

Lots of questions! I can’t wait for the answers….


Bookmark and Share


  1. I felt Ronald Koeman analysed the game well. We were not good in the final third, not enough surprises or variations.
    Depay though hardworking, isn’t consistent and lethal as a pinch hitter. But we just don’t have someone like Van Persie, Van Nistelrooy and Roy Makaay.
    I think Arnaut Danjuma can add something to attack though.
    I am also hoping for the inclusion of Ki Jana Hoever, just feel that he is a real deal.

  2. If Barca comes for Koeman he won’t let the chance slip. But I have serious doubts Barca would go for him. If there is any coach Barca would consider would be only Ten Hag.

  3. The weaknesses are well analysed especially the tactical changes that could have been made by koeman but i would like to add things like team unity shown by Portugal which can be emulated by Netherlands for future matches. Obviously, They distrupted the dutch play but the germans coaches say there are times when the opponent dominates play but how you disrupt their play and takes the initiative is also important. The tactics should have been changed by koeman as you said.

    1. I dont think there was any thing tatical about the portugese team but just the lineup and in this due course santos may just have figure out his idle starting 11. If you look at the front three of the portguse, guedes, ronaldo and silva, they were playing in no order. Bernando silva was changing flanks,ronaldo was drifting in and out on the left, Guedes was dropping back in the midfield.they were all over the place.i dont think this was something to do with tatically but the team just simply clicked on the day. I wont be surprised if santos sticks with this lineup come euros. Plus they already good depth as well.

      For the dutch, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel but bloody tunnel also seems to be very long. Dont have much expectation for euros, might just end like nations league but it should also lay the platform for 2020.

  4. Koeman totally blew it and this is the second time it happened. His decision cost up at least 1 point against Germany in the Euro qualifier. He should of started the game with Van Beek and Promes PERIOD and of story. I guaranty you, the outcome would of been very different. Like Jan said, Koeman is very old school.

    1. mitchell Bakker to PSG and daley sinkgraven to Bayern Leverkusen confirmed .future building and I hope more players will follow soon. its also not clearly whether adekanye has officially signed for lazio or not . he did have is medical done but then Liverpool reportedly offered him a new contract. his contract officially expires in june and nothing has been forthcoming since then.

  5. Tks Jan glad that you brought up the points

    Koeman is old school and yes he made a few mistakes that costed us the trophy

    I seriously don’t understand why koeman is still reluctant to start using our many potential attacking players . If not now then when ?

    Luuk de Jong May be good for PSV in the eredevisie but we should move on and start building a stronger team for the World Cup 2022

    1. The problem with talented Moroccan players, including Ihattaren, is that they have to wait too long before they will be called to Oranje. That is why most of them prefer Morocco as there are much more chances to receive the invitation from Morocco than NT.

  6. In other transfer news vitesse has pulled the plug on alex buttner and maikel van der werff who are both free agents now. Vitesse are in line to loan armando obispo who is struggling for minutes at PSV and also leeds United dutch striker Jay Roy-Grot. Both are in need of game time and which will also increase their chances of vaying for a spot in the u21s.

    There is also rumor that Man City are looking to bring back angelino who has had good season for PSV.if this happens, Buttner could a be replacement for him.

    1. Valencia over the years have forged a good team from acquring unwanted players from top team.Guedes (psg),Coquelin & Paulista (Arsenal), Kondogbia (Inter), Gamerio, Atletico Madrid)

  7. I was watching Brazil and Venezuela in the copa America and I must say the depth in this brazil team is what you wanna see in Dutch side,if they seriously wanna have a shot at winning any big tournament.argentina should also learn from them as its more about team as a whole rather than just big names. In the absence if neymar, Coutinho has taken the stage and now you are looking at the the lethal coutinho of Liverpool and how the team is clicking around him.with neymar and messi they end up taking away that team build up and this is where other players simply become spectator s.if brazil go on to win the coppa america without neymar, it will be a huge statement for management to realize what better. Neres particularly has been far more influential than neymar in bringing other players into the game compared to neymar who always wanna make it a one man show.

    This is what I want to see in the Dutch side. I want to see the dutch 98. Players on and off the field who can be called any time. Again im sure about euros but its coming. The next three world cups, one of them has to be for the dutch. Redan, Chong,De ligt, Frenkie,Reis, Gravenberch,Ihattaren,Pierie,bakker,Familia castillo,Ki Jana, Scherpen,stengs,malen. This contingent when they will collide in NT, thats when they will be orange mania. Till then lets just hope and pray this guys reach they full potential and dont stall.

    1. It is a nice thought, but is it realistic for The Netherlands, with a population of 17 million to have the depth of Brazil, population of 209 million?

      You’ve listed a pool of prospects that is exciting to think about, but, as always, there is a vast difference between a player playing well enough to get noticed and actually rising to a level such that he can make a difference at the national team level. All the names you listed are def. worth keeping keeping an eye on, plus others that you haven’t.

      1. I see it has a recession especially in context to the population. the deficiency will be there come certain period downfall. its has happened in the past and it will happening in the future. if you look at the aftermath 2012 there was recession as I would say and it was alot to do with our transition from youth level, player development stalling,coaches etc. you see this trend is changing. the signs are there with u17s winning the euros twice in row. I know its too early to start jumping at this stage but this is what could dictate whats in store for future. if you look at the u21s, the top prospects are colliding at u21 level and after a long absence form major tournament the recent team looks to finally have acquired the team of talented players who have good future going forward and hence transition. the same goes for others who are coming up just behind them. euro qualifiers are coming are up and NT are again in the same pool with Portugal. im expecting a good show down this time around compared to the past where the Portuguese has dominated in the u21s winning all the games since 2013. I haven’t cross checked here.

        I was again looking at the transfert market in eredivisie and how the jong ajax contingent are leaving for lower club teams because they know they future doesnt lie in Amsterdam. after Azor Matusiwa, Deyovaisio Zeefuik, Che Nunnely is the latest to sign for willem 11. you see this is part and parcel of whats lies ahead for some of the talents who either will be lost or some like arnaut groeneveld who will make it to the top. remember this guys were top prospects when coming up the jong ajax ranks (minus groeneveld). the same can be said to those we are on the cross road now after leaving Netherlands at an early age. there will be some who will make it to the top and some who wont.

        the good thing about the contingent I mentioned above is they have already have established themselves to certain extents depending on where they are playing minus transfers and that’s where I am coming from. I wrote those names in no order but there is complete starting 11 in there whom all have exciting futures if not for injuries or any other unforeseen circumstances.

        lastly I will say the next golden generation is on the the way. the only thing that will disrupt it from eventuating is bad decision making by selectors, not recognizing talents at the right and off course if players will go off track.

        1. @Wilson, Understood. I hope you are right about the quality of these players and the coming golden generation. I like your optimism…we’ll see; I’d be delighted if (exclusive of Frenkie who is already there) 3-4 of these players made it to the NT level. Appreciate your keeping such close tabs on the up and comers, and offering comments.

          1. not mention here, the euro u21s is also underway and from how thing are shaping up with teams like france, England, Germany,spain and Italy, if the current dutch u21 team would have qualified they would have been top contenders.

            italy looks the strongest of them all with the majority of serie A contingent leading the side. kean, Chisea,Zainolo,Pellegrini,barella,cutrone.

            France have the Lyon contingent and Demebele as the only big names.

            England have alot epl contingent,look good on paper, solanke,Maddison,foden, wan bissaka, Abraham,Mount and calvert lewin but as a team they dont seem to have as in the qualifers .

            germany have no big names apart from jonathan tah (leverkusen) and eggestein (bremen) looks they are in transition as the likes of brandt, kai havertz were left out.

            spain for me are the underdogs of this tournament even though they lost to italy. they have unkown players who had extensive minutes in la liga with respective teams including Firpo (Betis), Soler,(Valencia),Fornals (Villarreal), Cabellos (Madrid),mayoral Moya (Madrid/Levante),Oyarzabal Ugarte (real Sociedad),Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad).

            the dutch would have faired well in the tournament if they would have qualified. I think van der looi left it too late to figure out his best starting 11. i still remember him starting zivkovic after they boomed out and with kluivert and dilrosun coming into the team as well.

  8. Kevin diks to fiorentina was a bad move. This guy had a good loan season with feyenoord when they qualified for CL. Fiorentina loaned him out to empoli for two seasons. He never played a single game last season and empoli ended up getting relegated. This sucks man.im suprised how come no one eredivisie team has approached him again.

    1. I assume loan conditions were not good enough to attract Diks. That is what happens to many Dutch players, they leave Eredivie without critical evaluation of their abilities to compete. Money always comes first….

  9. Mats Seuntjens, Bjørn Johnsen and Marko Vejinovic were told to leave AZ. I expected that coming. Although the former had quite a good last season in AZ, his role as a central attacker was a temporary solution. Arne Slot also belongs to a new generation of Dutch coaches and I am very excited to see what he is going to do at AZ. Today is the first training day for AZ.

    1. Seuntjens really. I thought he did a good job in the abesence of boadu and johnsen who turned out to be a flop.

      How do you rate wijndal.can he be an upgrade to Ouwejan.

  10. Who is going to take a place in the heart of AZ attack Ferdy Druijf or Myron Boadu? My gut feelings tell me that Ferdy will be preferred. Last season he scored 28 goals in Ereste division. He is tall and very physically strong. Also he is more mature than Myron who in my view needs to grow in Jong AZ. Last but not least, Ferdy is less injury-prone than Myron. It is very intriguing whom Arne will select as a number one attacker. Van Den Brom always preferred Myron….

  11. Unfortunately I missed all but the last 10 minutes of today’s women’s game due to work demands, but I’m certainly happy with the result and advancement to the knock-out round.

    It doesn’t seem like we are firing on all cylinders yet, but hopefully things will start to coalesce.

    Our next match will now be on Tuesday against Japan in Rennes. A little farther for the Dutch fans to travel but hopefully we’ll get a good turn-out, a good performance and a good result.

    1. I watched from min 30 until the end. We have improved but still far from comparable to USA. Many misplaced passes and bad first touches. But we won against a very good Canadian side. To me Van De Donk is our best player. Very good technique and super speedy. I don’t know much about Japan but I would assume that we will progress. Anything is possible after this round.
      Regarding other teams USA is scarily good. Very aggressive and physically strong. They have yet to concede a goal.

  12. Bayern leverkusen on the verge of signing martin odegaard on loan. Another good signing from Bosz as he tries to build the depth in the team for CL as well. He created havoc for many teams with 3-4-3 formation last seadon and I wont be suprised if he utilizes 4-3-3 and 3-4-3 in between as well in the new season.this is where I think he will utilize sinkgraven as wing back. Lasy season he ended ip using kevin volland at wing back who is striker.Leverkusen and dortmund will be the team to be watch come the new season and could prodive good competition to bayern this season especially with Robben and Ribbery gone.

  13. Barcelona sign another dutch youngest, Mike van Beijnen this time of NAC Breda and put a staggering 89 million pounds buy out claws on him.both him and Reis will join Barcelona B. He is the son of frenkie de jong agent.

  14. https://youtu.be/I4vom0g8X-M

    I think van den Brom has inherited a good squad and a good platform laid by Dick Adovcaat.they are likely to provide a good challenge to the top 3 and have a good depth as well in most department to compete in both eredivisie and euorpa league if they can qualify.

    Also couldnt help notice Giovanni Troupee is back from loan at ADO haag. He felt out of contention from u21s as well due to lack of playing time. Very versatile fullback and this could be his break out season.

    Not forgetting Adam Maher has also followed van den brom to utrecht.

  15. It is so great that Ajax started to sign high quality experienced players. Ajax will influence by example the top and sub-top Eredivisie clubs. It is very encouraging to see that players like Tadic, Promes, etc return to Eredivisie. Now it is time for my boy, Vinsent Janssen, to come back To Eredivisie and start everything from the scratch.

  16. Excelsior have signed Joel zwarts (20) after feyenoord let him go free not extending his contract. Remember this name. Feyenoord will regret this one.

  17. Daley Blind on the radar of Atletico Madrid. Don’t think he’ll go.

    Donny van de Beek is also said to be leaving to a top class club, but not clear who it is.

    Ajax also talking to Davy Propper apparently.

    Babel is also said to surprise with a move (not Galatasaray).

    Dumfries on the radar of Man United

    Seb van de Berg (17 year old PEC Zwolle centre back) is coveted by PSV but in talks with Liverpool

    1. Most of them are premature ones includig other ajax contingent as well. Neres, Ziyech,Tadic, van der beek etc. It has beem exaggerated to great lengths after ajax CL campaign last season.

      Dumfries to man united is also one of those. Wan bissaka is scheduled for medical at united in the coming days.

      Does ajax really need propper? This will block the progression of the youngesters like eiting,Gravenberch, Lang,De wit.

      Tadic receiving a massive offer from China was confirmed but nothing has materialized after that.

  18. It appears that Sepp van den Berg will be heading to Liverpool at age 17. Interesting…

    Additionally, for those interested, the Dutch women play Japan in the knock-out round today at 3 pm Eastern (9 pm Amsterdam time).

    If we’re going to show up and play well, this would be the time to start!

    1. JB, I am ready for this game, however one thing worries me. The fact that so far 6 european teams + US have gone through to qtr finals. If there is to be a european scalp it would be us. Also it has never happened before (as far as I know) that 7 european teams have been in qtr finals.
      I hope this trend means nothing. Hup Holland!

  19. Van de Sanden is the worst player so far. Van de Donk is off as well. We lead 1-0 and control the game but need to score again and not using the counter really well. a lot of astray passes in the final third.

  20. Just like that a misplaced pass costs us a goal. 1-1 with 1 min to go. Japan so easily slices up out defense. This will be a tough game. We should have scored a second.

    1. Agree with this sentiment as well. Why do we even play with an attacking midfielder like van de Dink if we are just going to bypass her entirely and try to lob long balls to our frontline over the top? We would be better off playing with three defensive oriented midfielders if that were our primary strategy.

  21. I don’t understand how Van de Sanden is still playing . She brings nothing. Meanwhile Beresntein is on the bench and she has been a difference in the group games. Early second half and we look tired and out of ideas.

  22. With 15 mins to go Japan has grown a lot and playing with confidence. Doesn’t look good for our ladies. Tired and not dangerous. We need some luck to win this game.

  23. Duh, where is everyone? You guys are more interested in who Utrecht sold and bought than the women national team? It can’t be that I am the only one here following them.
    Anyway. It is amazing how this team has gone so far in this tournament . I felt bad for Japan who played the best football in this tournament. The game could have easily gone 1-4. Very very good team of such small players.
    I will never understand the fuss about Miedema, Van de Donk, Van de Sanden and Martens. Backline and midfield were solid most of the game but attack was horrible. And the style of play was just boring and very predictable. No creativity in attack whatsoever . It falls on the coach who really should have tightened up the team in the 2nd half. Crazy luck with that penalty. We’re through but undeservedly. With this kind of luck we can probably win the whole thing.
    Hup Holland!

    1. Was hoping to watch the game and comment live, but work demands got in the way. Again.

      I did manage to see the Japan goal, which was very nicely done by Japan, but resulted from a complete breakdown on the right side of our defense, where our fallback refused to come out and close down the Japanese attacker, and she and the nearest midfielder couldn’t sort it out. You can’t have that at this level, because the good teams will really punish you for it.

      I will try to watch the replay this evening and provide any additional thoughts I have

  24. @Balkan, just finished watching the game (recorded it). Agree with much of waht you say. I was rooting for Oranje, but Japan deserved better. They did play some awfully good football—organized, committed, skilled, intelligent running. That penalty call was awful…so much for VAR helping to smooth things out.

    As far as the Dutch play goes, to my eye, they just seem static. The players rarely stray from their positions, almost no interchange, no runs from deep positions, the wingers stay wide, the fullbacks rarely come forward, (though the way Japan ran behind them in the 2nd half, there may be good reason for that). They look entirely dependent Maartens, Van de Sanden, or Miedema beating their defender one on one. Easy to set up a defense to take that away. They seem to get some unpredictability and a little movement only when Beerenshteyn comes on.

    OTOH, they’ve made the quarters. They are organized and play with some real commitment themselves, mentally tough, and they do have some skill players who can and will pop up and make a play when nothing seems to be happening. No reason they can’t beat Italy. Onwards.

    1. Andrew:

      I completely agree with your analysis as well. I think a big problem for this Dutch team is the complete and utter lack of speed, attacking skill, and overall quality in our back line.

      That said, as I mentioned previously, this team reminds me of our 2012 Euros team, where we had four quality attacking players, six average defensive players and a huge gap between them.

      Groenen and Spitse are the players who should be connecting play and bridging that gap for this team, but in my view, Spitse in particular has been very poor, rarely works to make herself available to the back line, and when she does get the ball, constantly passes backwards or sideways.

      The defenders get frustrated and just launch the ball forward over the heads of our front line and we have to go about winning the ball back all over again. Lather, rinse and repeat…

      1. Andrew and JB,
        Individually we are really good but the coach needs to do something. Against Italy we are playing against the typical old fashioned gladiators but if we get it together we can get through to semifinals.
        I thought Groenen was really good and so was Spitse who saved us from an equalizer by throwing her body on the goal after 2-1. These ladies are full of heart but they need to be released of their shackles. But then again history has shown that whenever we play majestically we end up losing.

  25. with respect to W-WC, I follow the scores but do not watch it. I am not s sexist but I do not like watching women’s football. Something is not right….

    1. Dude, it is not bad at all. I actually have been sucked in really bad. In some aspects it is better than men’s football. And these ladies leave everything on the field. I guess to me Orange is Orange regardless of gender.
      Remaining teams are really good and could compete with males. USA – Fra should be an epic game. Do not miss it. I won’t be rooting for any of them but I will definitely watch it.

  26. My son sent me a screenshot from one of his football apps. It shows the influence of each player in the game by the size of the font in which their name is written (sort of like Jan’s “Tags” section on the home page of this site.

    For our women’s game against Japan, by far the biggest names are Bloodworth, van de Gragt and Spitse, followed closely by van Dongen and van Lunteren. Van de Donk and Groenen are significantly smaller, and smaller still are Martens and Miedema. Van Veenendaal (the goalkeeper) is next. Van de Sanden’s name is last and so small as to be almost unreadable.

    I guess that tells the story of the game. Lots of passing around the back and little activity / possession by our forwards in dangerous positions.

    Italy should be a good test for us in the next match, which will be on June 29 at 9 am Eastern / 3 pm CET.

    1. I think I confused de Gragt with Groenen. But she was big and so was Bloodworth. I don’t know what happened to Van de Donk. She was so lively against Canada, I thought she was the best player by far.

  27. Also, it seems in the news media that our final goal (from a penalty) was somehow controversial.

    I don’t see how it could not be a penalty.

    Here’s a link to the game highlights (the penalty occurs around 1:20 in the video):


    The defender’s arm blocks (whether inadvertently or not) a direct shot on goal. How can a hand ball not be given?

    If this happens on the edge of the box and deflects a possible cross in front of the goal, I think a penalty is still given, but certainly one is appropriate on a direct shot that is handled!

    It’s the most fundamental rule of the game — you can’t use your hands! The use of VAR in this tournament has been a disaster, but this was a penalty given by the referee straightaway without VAR prompting, and I just don’t see what is controversial about it?

    1. I agree. However harsh it was, it seemed it was headed straight to goal and from that distance it would have very likely hit the net. But Japan made so many fans during those last 30 mins that nobody wanted to see them going out. Martens was immense in the penalty execution.

  28. @JB, Balkan,

    Interesting app, JB. All the players mentioned as having the biggest impact are the defensive players. Having seen all 4 matches, maybe the take away is that the coach is aware of the lack of speed at the back and wants an organized, safer defense at the expense of offense…and is happy to play that style, confident that one of the offensive players can conjure up a goal, and is happy to win 1-0, 2-1. With all the talk about the skill of the attacking four, I guess I created my own misconception as to what the team’s style of play would look like.

    As to the penalty. My first reaction was that it was a bad call. Hadn’t seen it from that angle until you just posted, (thank you), and that angle makes it feel less bad. Still don’t love it, looked more like ball to hand than hand to ball, and at the stage of the match…and I also have to say that part of my misgiving is based on the point that Balkan made—that Japan played the so well in the second half it seemed wrong that the game was decided like that.

    Looking forward to Saturday. Haven’t seen Italy at all, though they appear to be a one of the surprises and have heard that they have an excellent forward.

  29. As expected spain reach the finals of the u21 euros. Most of the big names like England,Italy and France fall short. Italy especially who were the favourites with big serie A contingent. Spain will meet another unknown german side in the final.

  30. i dont know women soccer doesn’t interest me much.i am still arround our loss vs portugal..cannt forget CR& taking another trophy in hand..He has won everything except a WC..always we make fail at last moment..this is not a curse ,this is psychological..i was shocked to see our attack..we were futile.this might be down to fatigue. ..Dumfries kille our movements form his end..Babel,Memphis ,berjwin all were affected by england match..i wish should have started.
    —Promes—-Propper —wijnaldum–
    ———-Van de beek———–

  31. As I predicted earlier its slowly shaping up and its gonna be the u21s where the collision course is building up to be with the player movement so far in the transmarket.pierie -Ajax,Obispo- Vitesse,Adekanye- Lazio,Jay-Roy Grot- Vitesse,Giovanni Troupee- Utrecht,Sepp van Der Berg- Liverpool. If these guys start getting regular munutes in their respective teams it will tremoudulsy increase the depth in the u21s and also some fierce competition with the likes of schuurs, Van drongelen and hoogma who are regulars at the moment. Up front adekanye and grot could add more intensity with the existing contingent of malen,Stengs,Gakpo,Dilrosun,Kluivert.

    My only hope is that va der looi doesnt complicate things and can come up with thr strongest startig 11 no time

  32. 10 minutes in and we’re still looking sharp. Lots of movement off the ball and quick rhythmic passing. Best we’ve looked so far!

    Keep it up!

  33. We continue to feed van de Sanden to no avail. I’m not sure a this point why we suddenly expect that to work. The long through ball down the right has become an automatic loss of possession.

  34. Watching the ladies v Italy.

    Van de Sanden…. has been horrific… all tournament. He delivery of the final ball/cross has been awful.

    I personally would have dropped her after the Japan game. She’s been given enough chances.

    As a team, they really need to rewatch their matches as in the final 3rd decision making has been poor when playing the final ball. And in turn, we don’t despite all our ball possesion, create the many chances.

  35. At this point, halftime can’t come soon enough.

    We need to start making substitutions earlier in the match, when the subs can still have time to make an impact. With van de Sanden, she should be subbed out immediately and replaced with anyone.

  36. Also, I don’t understand the reluctance of our back line to close down on players alone on the wing. That is exactly how we conceded against Japan, and it almost just happened again in the waning seconds. Even getting within 3-4 meters of a player at least puts some pressure on them to play the ball. We can’t let them pick a pass and operate under no pressure from such a dangerous position.

    1. I would have started Berensteyn. But it looked like at halftime someday had a word with Van de Sanden. She looked fired up.

      The bar! So many chances now.

  37. Despite what I said in the first half about Van de Sanden, her second half performance was a complete transformation. Maybe I would have kept her on for a bit longer.

  38. Vs Japan (full game):

    Groenen — 44 total passes
    Van de Donk — 48 total passes
    Spitse — 79 total passes

    Groenen and Van de Donk on pace.
    Spitse no so much…

  39. Vs Japan (full game):

    Groenen — 67 touches
    Van de Donk — 62 touches
    Spitse — 98 touches


    Groenen — 63 touches
    Van de Donk — 49 touches
    Spitse — 46 touches

    Much more possession and attacking play from Groenen and van de Donk, but Spitse is lacking / less involved. What is her role in the attack?

  40. Spitse with another free kick from about 25 meters. Very optimistic this time!

    But it goes over the end line untouched. I guess one out of ten ain’t bad

  41. So far, hope I don’t jinx it, but this second half is by far the best we’ve played so far in this tournament. I feel like I’ve waited a long time to see this type of performance. And yet I know we can pay better still

  42. Martens with a Robben-esque cut inside, but swerves over.

    I don’t think this surge is attributable to Lineth Beerensteyn’s inclusion, but probably more than just mere coincidence!

  43. My son’s app suggests that Jackie Groenen has the most tackles in this match. His response:

    Jackie Groenen has the most tackles in women’s soccer history!

  44. In the group stages we didn’t play well, but we found the resolve especially against Canada to find a way. Against Japan we were lucky.

    Awful in the 1st half today, but the second half we showed what are about.

    We need to start like this second half against Germany or Sweden in the semis.

    So happy.

  45. And due to Germany’s surprise loss, we will play Sweden in the World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday, July 3rd.

    Sweden is very solid, but I think we dodged a bullet in Germany

  46. Agree with you guys, the 2nd half was the best they’ve played…though I got the impression that Italy never really came out after the break; as if they went in, cooled off, and couldn’t get going again. Full marks to Oranje, though, for their fitness…they came out hard in the 2nd half and never let up.

    I agree with Guillame’s comment above, playing in that heat in the middle of the day was ridiculous…(as it would be for the men as well)…Is FIFA waiting for something calamitous to happen?

  47. Unfortunately I missed this game due to an obligation but I am so happy. I watched the game later and second half was simply spectacular. Regardless whether Italy turned it off for some reason it is amazing the level of fitness we showed. I still think Japan was the most dangerous opponent by far.
    I don’t know what to think about Sweden. They were total crap against Canada but somehow won, in fact that game was the epitome of errors. But they seemed so good against Germany. Sweden can destroy your game and frustrate you. They are tall so we need the quickness of Van de Donk, Berenstyin and Martens. If we play 75% of how we played against Italy in 2nd half we should make it to the final.
    Fingers crossed.

Join the Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.