Oranje World Cup qualifiers: Bring it on!

After what can only be seen as the most electrifying transfer window ( Messi, Lukaku, C Ronaldo, Dumfries, Koopmeiners, Berghuis, Memphis, Luuk de Jong), the Dutch NT will commence their qualification journey for the World Cup 2022.

Louis van Gaal has only 1,5 days to prep the crucial match versus Norway, away, and had a pleasant training session with the squad (see video below). The only player missing from the group training was Memphis, who did an individual training inside. Van Gaal is convinced he will be ready for Norway.

Van Gaal was keeping the cards to his chest, not yet ready to share who will be the first goalie and what approach he will be taking for the Norway game. He did disclose the skipper (Virgil) and the two vice-captains (Wijnaldum and Daley Blind).

Van Gaal explained on the presser that he is grateful for the openness of the players in what they want, how they prefer to play and what their ambitions are. As he doesn’t have a lot of time, he needs to use what the players think, feel and want and he was pleased to see that the Dutch players have an opinion and a vision.

Van Gaal also emphasized that for him, the individual quality is always secondary to the team quality. Which is why he believes Norway is a dangerous opponent.

Asked about how to stop Haaland: “We need to stop and block the pass to Haaland. We also have pretty decent defenders, by the way, but making sure Haaland doesn’t get good service is key.”

Captain Virgil van Dijk was happy to be back and explained that he wasn’t feeling weaker or insecure due to his heavy injury. “I just need matches to get more rhythm.”

Gini Wijnaldum was asked about the Euro defeat: “We were devastated and we analysed what happened. I think looking back that we missed the team element against the Czechs. We wanted to solve the problem individually, but that wasn’t working. We forgot to play as a team. But we also need to be reasonable, we only had 10 days to get a masterclass in 5-3-2 and we did ok, but it’s only normal that we haven’t executed the system perfectly.”

Louis knows exactly how he wants to play versus Norway, but won’t divulge anything: “I am not going to make my colleague of Norway smarter than he is, already.” The players who play know it already. “I believe in clarity, I want the starters to be able to visualise the game, this will help them. And I want the non-players to be in a position to support the eleven starters.”

Asked about how this squad is different from the 2014 squad: “Not much different. These players are joyful, they enjoy what they do, they are very serious and ambitious and they are not shy to share their ideas. That is what every coach wants.”

I believe Oranje will win the game but only just: 1-2. Goals by Berghuis and Wijnaldum.

I expect a cagey and nervous match with lots of battling in midfield.

This is the line up I expect:


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  1. @kevin

    I have long said about what you said in your previous pots:

    “I have nothing against Berghuis but I do not get the logic why El Ghazi is never considered an option whereas Berghuis always get called. One performed in EPL for years and another flopped and went back to Erividese. Same thing happened to Karsdorp and to some extent, Weghorst. We rarely had players perform at top leagues but when they do, they are overlooked. Look at all those top players in Erividese going to other leagues, where are they? Van De Beek, Calvin Stengs and Boadu are sitting on bench in League One, Malen was starting and now he is on bench also. Some of them might redeem like Depay but then is it more logical to call them when they are ready? The logic to give them the nod ahead of someone else already proved it in higher league does not seem right to me”

    it has become a feature in NT and they keep on stumbling with it. (hitting the fork in their own foot). I really dont know how to put this in the right words but its like marketing strategy and what you you want to promote or sell. there has to be NT and Ajax connections which is the Marketing strategy and if you look at Van gaal 2014, Danny Blind, FDB and Now Van Gaal again they have been consistent in (promoting /preference) of Ajax players. they simply don’t want to look any where else or give other players the benefit of doubt playing out of smaller clubs in other leagues including eredivisie if they have good technical abilities and whom need that big break , some one like joey Veerman for example or danjuma who was at Bournemouth. this is further consolidated by Ajax’s performance at European level which is now dominated by foreign players(quality) whom they can afford and in the process the dutch players getting the recognition playing around them which may not be the same case when they are not around in NT but they still get that benefit of doubt. Rensch selection. again im not saying he is a bad player but he hasnt done anything to merit a call up and given there is better options then him in Karsdorp at least. this is set to continue if more Ajax connected coaches are appointed NT coaches in future .

    Two thing has to happen for this chain to break, Feyenoord or PSV background coaches or a foregin coach. the transfers are going good and I think NT simply will be flooded with overseas players by 2024-2026 like Belgium.

    No offense to the Ajax fans here, this is just a brutal fact.

    1. Well, before we paint Van Gaal in the manner you sdescribe, let’s take a look at his 2014 WC squadOf the 11 who started against Argentina, 4 had an Ajax background (De Jong, Sneijder, Cillesen, Blind); 4 came up through Feyenoord (Martins Indi, De Vrij, Wijnaldum, Van Persie); plus Kuyt came up through Utrecht, and than went on to play with Feyenoord before moving to Liverpool; Vlaar came up through AZ, then was at Feyenoord for around 6 years before moving to Aston Villa where he was playing in 2014; Robben started with Groningen, then to PSV. Neither were the subs weighted towards Ajax, as only 2 of them (Veltman and Huntelaar) had an Ajax background. Whereas three were from Feyenoord—Clasie, Janmaat, Kongolo. The rest—DePay, Lens came out of PSV Krul (who was an Ajax youth player, but had been at Newcastle for 7-8 years), Lens, Fer—were spread out.

      That is not evidence, or even suggestive of, an Ajax preference or bias. It actually looks like a coach who cast a pretty wide net and kicked over a lot of stones in putting his team together.

  2. Seems like a pedestrian line up…team lacks vision when u have Gini,wijnaldum and De roon as starter…Dumfries cannot keep the ball in feet even from a school boy..hope he doesnt start…blind will stay back to concentrate on defense just to make sure that he played a decent game…i hope frenkie takes the number 10 spot and we go back to 433
    Malacia—Virgil–De vrij—Rensch

  3. Jan, if this is the line up you expect, FB should of remained as the NT coach. WOW!
    Remember I told you last time that this team isn’t going any where, you did not believe me. Again, with these players, this team isn’t going any where. I’m still seeing De Room, Berghuis, Klarssen. Why would Van Gaal brought back De Room, for what? To those who maybe think that Van Gaal can do miracle, think again. Not with the roaster that played the Euros.

  4. The way Gakpo was moving up after that corner he may not know what the offside rule is, made no intention of pressing the line. I think Haaland would have been onside anyways.

  5. Not the best start of a new era but at least I can see Van gaal is trying

    Hopefully he will make some smart subs in second bald and we can score one or two other goals . We can win this game

  6. Though score is 1-1…there is huge difference in our play…Berghuis was really wastefull…however he got part of goal…huge upgrade from winjdal to Blind and Dumfries to Timber…that gave the possesion on final third..hope Malen ,malacia,Rensch, arrives at sceond half with till or koopmeiners…lets see
    Turkey scores 2 gaols…they got 4 chances vs us and got 4 goals…Got there chances vs norway got 3 goals…We must win all 3 september games..

  7. Goal is goal. It counts.how you are saying a deflected ball off depay to klassen to tap in is a nice goal is beyong me. Nearly stumbled on it. But I had klaassen on my cards to score. The tempo suits him and is always lurking in the background but zero creativity. the Norwegians are very physical though. They are penertaing the flanks and thats the weak link for NT.

    Expecting NT to win around 80. As usually.

  8. Van Gaal needs to take Berghuis out. I don’t why they keep on selecting this guy. He has not provided one single cross. He kept on making mistakes after mistakes.

  9. That is my worry with the Dutch coaches: the same tactics all the time regardless of manager. We will see this is LvG’s first game, hopefully we will do better in coming two games.

  10. The Norwegian defending was good and they double teamed in every defense phase. This either resulted in NT back passing or side. Midfield was useless apart from in the box which created the goal. Berghuis and Blind. useless. Didnt go outside of their marker a single time. Blind back pass was a highlight in this game, had crosses but you see whats important is you going outside of the marker, stretching the defense, creating spaces in the mide for strikers and then coming up with the cross. You see Blind cant do this. When he recieves the ball he either back passes or crosses in the congested box. Yes With averages it works but not with every team.
    Berghuis, it took wijnaldum to show him what a wing back/ wingershould do. Again what I said. Go outside of the marker, stretch the defense, create space and bang. Goal.

    You this wasnt a high tempo game but still the Norwegians were defensive and physically double teamed up to neturlize NT attacks in most phases. If this would have being a high tempo game like the Turkey match. This would have a thrashing again.

  11. Not pretty. I guess the best way to look at it is that Norway and Turkey dropped points at home. Random thoughts: Malen gave them nothing in the second half, and Gakpo disappeared. I’d rather have De Jong playing a little farther forward. Disappointed in the execution; so many bobbled passes, or ones that missed the mark. They have to be better. Van Dijk isn’t where he was; understandable, and he’ll get there, but the games are now. De Vrij was probably there best player.

  12. True about Gakpo, I think he was shifted to right after Berghuis was subbed. He completely disappeared. Its only when he popped up on the left again that I realized he was still playing.

    He still has a long way to go but good to see him starting. It looks like NT dies not have specialist right wing. All seem to thrive cutting in from the left.

    1. Agree; I liked Gakpo’s start to the game, and I was happy to see him start. I had the same thought, that switching sides affected him; and bringing on Malen also caused Depay to drift wide. As you, and others have said, they were way too narrow, and this played into Norway’s hands. The wingers were cutting into the the same spaces the Klassen and Wijnaldum (with the exception of the nice interplay between Berghuis and Wijnaldum on the goal).

      They have to sort this out.

  13. Im kind of 50 -50 on this qualifies. Looking at the transfers I want NT to qualify but then looking at the same old lethargic approach continuing, its better they bomb out after thr next two games and then start fresh from the remaining qualifiers with a new coach.

    1. We can’t start anew every year. I feel we’ve been starting fresh each year the past 4 years. It’s the first game under van Gaal as well. Finding a new coach that can do something better would be hard. Hopefully they hit their stride and find a way through. We need Frenkie to carry the team somehow and Koopmeiners/Gravesen/Gapko to grow up quickly.

  14. if you cannot beat montenegro and Norway you better dont go to WC…with dutch pedigree… There was huge game improvement from FDB,i think this was due to the presence of Blind at LB,timber at RB and klassen…Cody gakpo had 6 attempts on goal…he was misfiring…Berghuis was utter waste…Hope Berjwin or Danjuma steps in and eliminate Berghuis from dutch NT…Perhaps he played his last match for NT under LVG…our finishing was poor…due to playing high line defense we had some shaky moments and we did okay in that..one time cross bar saved us..FDB has done huge damge by loosing to a crap Turkey team,i would blame Krul for that as well…We must beat Turkey and wins rest all game…then we can happily reach qatar..Having said that Blind is slow and Depay cannot connect him …thats a concern..Rensch would be better at attack than both Timber and Dumfries…i hope We see Berjwin for Berghuis Malacia for Blind Rensch for Timber.. for next two matches…

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