Our thoughts are with Strootman. And Oranje.

It seems to be quite a curse. The cover photo of the Dutch VI magazine. Every player who graced the cover since Xmas has either been injured or suspended. With Kevin Strootman as the latest one in the series.

And how. The poor 24 year old Caesar in midfield at Roma had a horrific week. One knee refused action after 24 minutes vs France with Oranje and a couple of days later, poor Strootman was carried of the pitch- crying – with his other knee horrifically injured.

No Strootman for nine months, is the prognosis. No Strootman for Oranje at the World Cup. And most likely, a career in jeopardy. The MRI after the game showed he has damaged his anterior cruciate ligament and most likely his meniscus as well. Strootman has been operated on already and faces a long and frustrating recovery journey.

Van Gaal was devastated: “Kevin must be gutted. He had such a good season with Roma which is very difficult when you make a move from Holland to the Serie A. He was key for us in the qualification and he was one of my firm starters….”

Kevin Strootman will most likely lose a little bit of speed and flexibility, the experts say. The player himself tweeted to the world that he was convinced to come back with a vengeance. “I will focus 100% on my recovery and pledge that I will come back stronger!”.


Louis van Gaal spends his mondays in his office with his staff. Danny Blind, Patrick Kluivert, Ron Spelbos, Frans Hoek and the boss get together to talk about the development of the Oranje players (a group of 5o apparently). One question they always answer is: if Oranje should play a match today, who would start?

Well, this week, Van Gaal’s question is: who will replace the midfielder whom – with Robben and Robin – is the only one with a certain starting berth when fit. The profile description is quite straightforward. Physically strong, good lungs and legs, defensive capabilities, penetrating skills. goal scoring abilities, leadership, tactical smarts. And this particularly lad plays in the top of one of the Serie A.

Do we have a midfielder between 23 and 28 years old playing in one of the top 4 competitions in Europe? Not one. Not a midfielder, not a defender and not an attacker. Hmmmm…

Daley Blind’s name will be mentioned. Great skills. Good tactical smarts. Left footed as well, like Kevin. But lacking the penetrative skills, the lungs and the physical strength. Davey Klaassen? Very young and inexperienced. And he does have the penetration and speed, but lacks the physical skills. Tonny Vilhena might be an option. But the 19 year old hasn’t had a full season in the Eredivisie, so it seems. Stijn Schaars does not have the box-to-box profile either. Jonathan de Guzman has the football skills and the smarts, but lacks the physical power as well.

It seems like no one fits the package and the fact that Strootman also worked incredibly hard for Sneijder might be really bad news for the Galatasaray midfielder….

It seems that Leroy Fer fits the bill best. The tall former Feyenoord man has the legs and lungs to put in a similar shift as Strootman. He might lack leadership skills and tactical smarts of Strootman but at least he compensates this with aerial power and his ability to score goals.

I have to say that this Strootman injury in itself doesn’t inspire me to write the following statement, but it did contribute a lot.

I believe it might be best to abandon the static 4-3-3 LVG loves so much. It could work with a strong midfield. Meaning: a very strong defensive mid (we have that player in De Jong), a strong box-t0-box runner ( Strootman in the Neeskens role) and a strong number 10 (Wes or Raf).

It seems we only have Nigel. Strootman is out and any alternative is less. And none of our number 10s are doing really well. Sneijder impresses with Gala in Turkey, but that is not a strong competition. Sneijder is not as good as in 2010 and will be a player of moments, rather than continuous class. I’m afraid Raf will not be much better this season. While Maher, Siem de Jong, Wijnaldum  and co. are not yet there.

fer stroot

With this, my suggestion is: go 4-5-1.

Use Huntelaar (in great form) as centre striker. Use Van Persie as the man behind the striker with the number 10.

Put Robben on the left flank, Lens on the right – both wide midfield and two strong holders in the centre: Anita and De Jong? Fer and De Jong? De Guzman and Fer? Depends all on the form of the day, I guess.

A compact midfield, with Robben and Lens using the space created as a result of playing compact and tight. Lots of bodies around the ball and simply not trying to dominate the pitch Bayern/Barca style as we simply do not have the quality to do so against the likes of Spain, Chile, Germany and Italy.

We will not dazzle the world, I think, this World Cup. But we do have the option to go far, if LVG can create a team that can play in service of Robben, Van Persie and Huntelaar.

Your thoughts?


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  1. At this moment, I agree that Van Persie to play just behind Huntelaar.
    De Jong is a shoo-on for one of the CM spot.
    The other one for me is Clasie or De Guzman. Or even Van Ginkel.
    I am not for Anita, Fer or Blind.


  3. Yes, Jan, RVP as number 10 seems smart…. we’re a bit frail there with just VDV and Sneijder. Getting both RVP and Huntelaar on the field together this way finally makes real situational sense.

  4. Ja Jan,

    I agree that 4-3-3 is not the way to go with the quality of the players at hand. But I’m afraid that LvG ranks the (‘his’) system first.
    Furthermore I would prefer Robben on the left as well, but his return to the right wing after a short spell on the left makes me think Arjen doesnt want to play there anymore. Maybe the latest developments can make him think again.
    But yea, The Hunter up front, with Persie in a 5-man-midfield behind him. Dont think that Sneijder has what it takes at the world cup anymore, not in the starting eleven at least. Vaart seems to be injured all the time nowadays, so we have a real problem with attacking midfielders as well. Too bad Wijnaldum couldnt continue his development this season.

    And abroad players in general would do better then eredivisie players because of the competition they face weekly. But I really think we’re screwed now, this Strootman outage is just too much. Maybe the fact that our game against Spain is the first one will give us some slack so we don’t lose it. Otherwise I don’t see how we can pass the group stage, let alone enter the quarters by beating Brazil. Hope I’m wrong ofcourse. Man do I hope I’m wrong.
    Oh well, as said earlier on here, a good player base is cyclical, especially for a small country. We can not do worse then the last tourney, thats for sure 🙂

  5. Yes, to 4-5-1 or 4-2-3-1. Bert and the team was the closest team to defeat Spain (compare WC 2010 final, Euro 2008 and 2012 finals) and asked Spanish players/fans who scared them the most in those 3 finals.
    That team was: Stek-VDW,Heitinga,Mathijsen,Gio-Van Bommel,Nigel De Jong-Robben,Sneijder,Kuyt-RVP.
    Bert was right not to go 4-3-3 vs Spain and hopefully LVG realized this now and perhaps flexible with his tactic (not stick to 4-3-3 100% all the time). Our team need to be able to adapt and change tactics during the game if needed.
    I don’t mind your suggestion of Fer but I like Van Ginkel too. If he can regain his fitness, I’d take him as a backup to Brazil. Together with possibly Rekik, Depay, these 3 can be our surprises. Does anyone has any update on Van Ginkel? In Jan his recovery looked good as he was nears a return to fitness and targeted WC place.
    For those who are interested in ACL injury and football players here is a link (http://the-number-fourteen.blogspot.com/2013/02/football-players-after-acl-tear.html). Ruud Van Nilsterooy played well after his injury but I think his injury was less damage than Stroot’s.

  6. Mohamed you talk about the unability to score that Argentina had against Romania, it’s something important. People always wonder why Holland wins so easily in qualify games, here is the answer : Scoring the first goal in the first 20 minutes against teams like Hungary, Romania etc. obliges them to play, to take risks, and that’s why it can easily ends with 3-4 goals for Holland. That’s also something England and Germany can do, scoring in first 20 minutes. While France, Italy and Portugal struggle more in qualifying games in general because of their unability to score early.

    Here is the stat about last qualifying first goals :

    Turkey home 17th minute (Van Persie) – final result : 2-0
    Hungary away 3rd min (Lens) – final result 1-4
    Andorra home 7th min (Van der Vaart) – final result 3-0
    Romania away 9th min (Lens) – final result 1-4
    Romania home 12th min (Van der Vaart) – final result 4-0
    Estonia home 47th min (Van der Vaart) – final result 3-0
    Estonia away 2nd min (Robben) – final result 2-2
    Andorra away 50th min (Van Persie) – final result 0-2
    Hungary home 16th min (Van Persie) – final result 8-1
    Turkey away 8th min min (Robben) – final result 0-2

    So two exceptions where we didn’t score in first 20 minutes : Estonia home and Andorra away.

    Against Estonia home, remember the poor first half, almost no opportunity, then VDV came and we scored. That ended 3-0.

    Against Andorra away the same, poor first half, had to wait 50 min to see the first goal, and we only scored one more.

    Now if you go to take a look at line-ups, you’ll see that VDV didn’t start any of those games, it was Sneijder in both…

    That’s why I keep and keep saying that VDV is really usefull, his undirect free kicks and corner kicks are a real weapon to score early in a game.

    1. Good stats mate. I did a similar thing with VP and VDV a while back. VP scores more whilst VDV is on the pitch.

      We have to be realistic now. We have to try and get out of the group and play as a team to get any further.

      Hunter for me has to play.

      RVP VDV Robben
      De Jong Fer/Guzman

      Not sure for the back line…

  7. I think Wijnaldum may play a key role as a box-to-box player after Strootman’s injury.
    He has all what it takes imo. Stamina , Physical strength , Football skills , Leadership , good speed and good defensive skills and can score goals. I think he may link up very well with Persie.
    Strootman is tachtically better but Wijnaldum is faster in better technically than Strootman.
    Also think Propper is good , but I doubt his Performance on international level.

  8. Against Spain in the first game, my starting 11 if we go 4-2-3-1:
    Krul-Janmaat,Veltman,Rekik,BMI-Van Ginkel, Nigel De Jong-Robben,VDV,Lens-RVP.
    If we take a lead and need to defend, Janmaat can be replaced with Verhaegh of if VDV runs out of gas, we put Hunterlaar in and move RVP back to replace VDV.

  9. I respectfully disagree with these tactical suggestions.

    Petulant show pony RVP will never play ‘second fiddle’ to village idiot Huntelaar.
    At some point they will be both be drawn to the same ball and a huge gap will open up at the heart of our midfield – exactly where we are already missing over-rated Strootman. Double whammy reverse clown punch to the balls, gentlemen.

    What Van Gaal ‘should’ do is similar to what happened in 1974, and also 1978 (in a different position) – bring a midfielder back into defence position, who then rejoins midfield in possession. At which point the goal keeper also steps up as the sweeper, second central defender.
    But then again I do not think we have the players good enough to force this kind of pressure game, and we do not have the speed at the back to play high. So I am dreaming of old times.

    The point is: there are plenty of ways to fix our problems, some good, some bad, all valid and worthy of discussion, but will anything really make a difference?
    This generation of Oranje blood is one tournament too many, too far. The next would be one tournament too soon, if there was a next generation……. I see nothing on the horizon, for the first time in 40 years. Nothing. No Van Bastens, No Cruyffs, No Bergkamps, No world beaters.
    I don’t even see the next De Boers, Gullits, Van Persies, Rijkaards, Koemans, Stams coming through. Nothing of quality. Welcome to the future. It is NOT Orange.

    I’d love to see us play a youthful, energetic team, but they will be get crushed too.
    This WC will be boring, and hot, and we’ll only get a meaningless result against Australia.
    Then it’s the first plane home.
    Van Gaal will insist on 433, all the same faces, he’ll replace Strootman with De Jong, and sub him after 60-70 minutes with Classie. Sneijder will start, and do nothing. Huntelaar will cut a lonely figure on the bench, and Van Persie will cut a lonelier figure up front, as Robben falls over his own feet and gets booked for diving every 30 seconds because he isn’t nearly as fast as he used to be.

    It doesn’t matter who is in goal because all our goal keepers are shite. With respect.
    And I will be as unsurprised as they are when perhaps even 3 or 4 balls go past them, as they regularly do week in week out at club level.

    Van Gaal will blame everyone but himself, then go off on holiday and join Spurs a few weeks later, and fail miserably there too.

    Oh, and it will be hot.
    Did i mention that?

    Oh well, at least the shirts will look quite nice.

    1. I like your suggestion “bring a midfielder back into defence position, who then rejoins midfield in possession. At which point the goal keeper also steps up as the sweeper, second central defender.” but this cannot be done with this team.
      Don’t compare to 74 Total football team as it requires the unique type of players and coach. It has not been replicated successfully.
      LVG is not Rinus, the best coach in History of Football according to FIFA.
      Let’s look at 2 players that successfully take this role and succeeded, Haan and Rijkaard. We do not have any quality players like that in the system.
      I still do not see why we want to play attractive football without having the right set of players. How many players in the Dutch NT squad playing 4-3-3 regularly AND having success? The only team that can play 4-3-3 well is Spain because the core of the team (Barca) playing 4-3-3 regularly for years (including the youth Barca). The rest of the teams are simply complimentary. To counter that you look at Mourinho’s Inter, Bayern or Brazil in Confederation Cup, they all play 4-2-3-1. It is not the best of 3 or best of 7. It is one game.

  10. Well said,Jan.I agreed with you that at this present moment and situation of Oranje.Playing 4-3-3 is a suicide becos we just don’t have those qualities.4-5-1 or 4-2-3-1 is logical and a must.

    Please have a look st the France game.They are not extremely strong opponent,but they are able to butchtered us.Why???>>>Our midfields has no soul.They distributed nothing to our attackers.And that caused our hitman into frustration as well.So is our Back 4.Due to our weak midfields,our defends faced alots of pressure…

    To me,our defends is better than the midfields.What do you guys think?You may share me the lights.Yeah…

  11. 4-5-1 is nothing but 4-2-3-1 in disguise. I doubt RvP will be a good number 10. He is slow to get back to defend and I prefer a two-footed number 10. Sneijder and VDV both fit the bill. RvP doesn’t.

    The idiot(s) that keep bring up Van Ginkel and Afellay to the conversation should shut the f*** up. Neither one of them has touched the ball in a competitive match in the past 5 months.

    We have to find a way to fortify the defense – give De Jong the support he needs in front of the defense, play counterattacking football, which means Sneijder becomes a starter on number 10 and RvP would be used as a decoy to occupy and distract defenders.

    We don’t have a worldclass team, what we have is a bunch of new and unproven mediocre talent. We should not be playing possession football against the likes of Spain. We shouldn’t even attempt to do so… because if we do, mistakes will be done at the back and we would be embarrassed infront of Spain and Chile.

  12. There is a lot of talk about Gudelj from AZ (formerly NAC) to replace Strootman. I have always been impressed with him but is he really ready to step up? The one thing we know for sure is that he is eligible to play for Holland.

    1. With 3 months left, I doubt LVG will test any new player that he has not called or any player that has not played regularly (no Douglas, Van Dijk, Van Ginkel, Afellay, Emmanuelson). He mentioned one surprise so maybe there is one player that he has not called, but I doubt it will be Gudelj. My guess will be Klassen or Kishna instead of Gudelj. Again he shows potential but not yet proven at international or outside of Eredivisie.
      I also doubt that LVG will switch 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1 with just 3 months left although the latter (and playing counter attack) football will give us the best chance to upset Spain. I think LVG will stick to 4-3-3 and hence his reasons to keep picking Ajax, PSV, Feyenoord players over other leagues’ players in many positions because he likes players fitting his system and he can mold them.
      All I hope for now is this team can show positive results/performance in those last friendlies before WC. Show us some positive for us to believe please!

    2. He is quite good but he has just said few weeks ago that he prefers to play with Serbia even if they won’t play WC rather than Bosnia.

      Now will he choose Holland just for one WC and take the risk to be ignored coming years ?

  13. I don’t care at all. Don’t shoot the messenger. All I said is that the Dutch media and Advocaat are mentioning him, VI, AD, Telegraaf. He also said he would want to play for Holland. He was born there.

  14. He played the last friendly for Serbia I think, but that wouldnt stop him from playing for Netherlands because it was not a competitive game.

    He should chose to play for us because he has potential. He is not ready for NT as yet, but it would be good to keep him just in case he turns out to be good.

  15. Not 4-5-1, I ll go one further, as I already posted on the last thread.
    5-3-2 or even could be 5-4(diamond)-1 the good ol’ Italian way.
    We’re the perenial underachievers, it’s about time we smartened up and overachieved for a change. You need to do that when everything negative is thrown your way (constantly tough draws, injuries Strootman, vGinkel, Affelay, Wijnaldum and I bet you more are on the way)
    Traditionally the only overachieving teams are the negative approachers, the Itas, Greeks, Uruguays etc, looking to keep it safe and then take one or two chances. Except Danish Dynamite.

    That is why go with three center backs (Veltman for distribution and two bullies) two attacking wing backs (we have extra) two DFs one patrolling in front of defence and one free to roam ONLY when the chance is given (N de Jong or Fer or Anita or Clasie or Klaassen) one attacking/creative midfield (Sneider or vdVaart or Proper or even one of the injured if back on form by June) and RobRob up front, or could drop vPersie and throw in another rocket alongside The Diver.
    Could be Narsingh or Depay or Promes.

    Feyenoord did it and won away for the first time since 1656 or something. If we go 4 at the back with one DF, that leaves huge spaces to the other team since we have really slow players both in defence and in transition.

    I am extra dissapointed as I’ve been following Strootman since he was at Sparta and always believed that he would captain the elftal to the WK one day, but as this day is getting farther and farther away, I get more negative but at the same time loose all the enthuse that blinds my realism. We have BIIIIIG issues let’s face it and go conservative.

    Louis did it once in Zurich v. Grasshoppers back in 1996-97 when his sons of Gods were in decline and needed to win away to the mighty jumping insects from the Alps. He played all in defence except Jari (I think) who scored the winner, all back defending, Franck de Boer MoM, qualified.

    Let’s try it again, go Bossa Nova in the land of Samba.

    1. yeah I have to 5-3-2 a la Juventus can be great. using a libero in the back line can do wonders , especially with the slow defenders and the average defending fullbacks we have.
      Vlaar can play the Libero role very good. He is very tall , a leader and he will not need too much speed.
      Veltman and Rekik on the right and left.
      I think Sneijder can play the role of Pirlo , we can use de jong as a DMF , but we still need a box-to-box player like Pogba or Vidal. Strootman would have been great , but I think Wijnaldum may be perfect.
      Janmaat and Emanuelson or Willems will be very suitable as they are very good going forward.
      Robben and Persie upfront.

      Really looks good.

      1. 4-4-2 is the way to go, IMO. It’s a formation that LVG apparently used when he was with AZ, and it would give support to the back 4 while also getting our two best weapons (RVP, Klaas) on the field at the same time.

        Urby—-Rekik—-Vlaar—-van der Wiel
        VdV—-de Jong—-de Guzman—-Robben
        van Persie—-Huntelaar

        @onzie and @DRB300 what do you guys think?

        1. IMO….. Both Hunter and RVP will clash as who to be the central. De Jong contribution to the attacking midfield build up will be minimal in that formation making that particular positional area void for free movement especially when we loose possession in the midfield coz De Jong never plays high enough. he is more useful in 4-1-3-2, 4-2-3-1, 4-1-3-1-1.




          Senijder———Wijnaldum/Van Ginkle (fit)—-Lens

          ———————De Jong——————–



          Robben———Wijnaldum/Van Ginkle (fit)——-Lens

          —————-Sneijder——De Jong————-

          4 CBs – Rekik, Douglas, Van Dijik, Vlaar

          4 Backs – Janmaat,Weil, BMI, Pieters

          GK- Steke, Krul, Cillessen/ Vorm)

  16. SamNY……The idiot(s) that keep bring up Van Ginkel and Afellay to the conversation should shut the f*** up. Neither one of them has touched the ball in a competitive match in the past 5 months.

    Afellay has already played for Barcelona





  17. I think we should focus on strategy how to escape group stage, reasonable goal should be draw Spain, winning OZ, and draw Chile, and let’s hope Spain or Chile fail to win vs OZ, and beating each other, which sending us qualify as 2nd against Brazil in QF.

    Netherlands Route: second in group, we draw Spain and beat Australia, draw Chile, Chile top the group by beating Spain, while Spain fail to score against Australia and finish 3rd.
    Tough R16 against the host, but the next journeys are manageable, we can only meet Portugal/Italy in the final if they manage to beat Argentina.

    Round of 16
    Match 49 Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte Brazil Netherlands
    Match 57 Estádio Castelão, Fortaleza Netherlands Uruguay/Colombia/ England
    Match 61 Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte Netherlands Germany
    Match 64 Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro Netherlands Argentina/Portugal/Italy

    However those Spain and Chile are teams who capable to dominate a team like Germany, moreover Netherlands.
    IMO, we should not try to dominate when it will create big gaps between 3 lines of defences-mids-forwards. We need more athletes with determination to keep the team from scoring than technical players.
    – 1 GK who capable making tons of saves
    – 3 central defenders who have stamina to defend 90mnts
    – 1 destroyer
    – 2 all-around midfielders who can play wide, box to box and run 90mnts
    – 2 fast wingers who not afraid to dribble pass players and shoot (Robben-Depay)
    – 1 false no9 (or10) who can attract defenders and distribute
    – 1 goal predator

    No lightweight midfielders like clasie/ anita/ Blind/ emmanuelson
    No midfielders lacking defensive duty like deguzman
    No aging midfielders like vaart/ sneijder


    vGinkel – Veltmans – Rekik – vDijk – Fer
    Robben – NDJ – RVP – Depay



    Veltmans – Rekik – vDijk
    Robben – vGinkel – NDJ – Fer –– Depay

    1. Against lesser team (e.g. OZ)
      We can feed our more technical players


      Jaanmat/gvdWiel-Veltmans – Rekik – Blind
      vGinkel – deGuzman– Vaart
      Robben–Hunter ––RVP

      1. If win the group, easy in R16, but they will meet Italy in QF and Portugal in SF, not sure if it will be easier for us considering our history with both.

        1. I agree that Italy and Portugal are very much Netherlands’ nemesis but I prefer to win the group. Playing Brazil in Brazil at the WC has a tremendous amount of pressure plus they have a big motivation to revenge for 2010. I’d rather we have easy round of 16 and take our chance in QF like in 2010. There is a better chance that other teams (Italy, Portugal) may not be there in the later round than Brazil not winning their group.
          Easier round of 16. QF possibly the same as you predicted, perhaps Argentine in SF, then on to the Final.

    1. This was a part of my reply in the last post in case you didn’t read it Alaa 🙂 .

      ” As a trial to give you guys some hope , I checked Oranje results before EC 2008.

      EC 2008 Qualifications :

      Away Draw with Bulgaria 1-1.
      Home Draw with Romania 0-0.
      Away loss to Romania 1-0.
      Away loss to Belarus 2-1 .

      We qualified 2nd after Romania , with 26 points out of 12 games , Scoring “only” 15 goals in these 12 games ” against Bulgaria , Romania , Belarus , Luxemburg , Slovenia and Albania” and conceding 5 goals from these teams.

      Friendlies :
      we lost an away game to Switzerland 2-1.
      won Austeria in a very intersting game that ended with a 3-4 away win to Oranje. Jan venegoor of Hesselink and KJH scored two goals in the last 5 minutes as the result was Austeria 3-2 Oranje .
      We also tied to Denmark 10 days before the Italy game.

      looking at these results now , I just wasn’t able to believe my eyes .
      Before the Euros we also lost our yongster back then , Ryan Babel due to injury. Also both of Robben and RvP didn’t play against Italy due to injury. Seedorf almost refused to join the squad and Bommel wasn’t even considered by San Marco. Engelaar was 🙂 .

      Well , I will stay positive and stick to my theory for now , ” The Oranje perform great when they are the underdog ” . “

  18. Thanks Mohammed:) I like ur optimism I hope Oranje surprises us in a positive way, what else can i say!!! This strootman story is killing me, the guy was supposed to be our star and the core of the team!! Why do our big names always get injured!!
    To be honest with u mohammed this situation reminds me a lot of euro1996, that’s before u fell in love with Oranje, because I know u said once u became Oranje in 1998:) so going back to 1996 we had so many injuries, overmars and frank de boer were out of the euros, Davids was out after a fight with hiddink, and kluivert was there but he couldn’t play till the last game in the first round where played the last few minutes against England when we were losing 4-0 and he scored a goal that qualified us ahead of Scotland on a goal difference! Then we lost to France on penalties in the second round, but overall it was a very ugly tournament for us, this coming one in June kind of reminds me of that one in 1996! I have been a fan since 1988 and for me so far 1996 team was the ugliest eventhough if we had overmars Davids frank de boer and kluivert available we would’ve been great! But now I think this is going to be the worst team quality wise!!

  19. jK………I think we should focus on strategy how to escape group stage, reasonable goal should be draw Spain, winning OZ, and draw Chile, and let’s hope Spain or Chile fail to win vs OZ, and beating each other, which sending us qualify as 2nd against Brazil in QF…….

    The strategy that you are talking about escaping is simply a total disgrace. That will never happen and I think we should take all three games as final and stamp our mark in the pool stage in case if we fail…. aleast we will bow out with our heads held high rather then what you are suggesting which is a namby pamby act.

    1. wilson,
      I understand your pride concern, Im talking about strategy against 3 best teams with possesion football, unfortunately two have been drawed in our group. Have you looked at how chile dictating Germany’s midfield? Im afraid we have no depths and 90 mnts endurance to impose midfield against those teams in particular after we just missed our best midfielder. Once we through group stage, we meet Brazil, the you can advise LVG how to play proper Dutch’s School football, we might have better chance to win.

    2. I agree… if anything, the objective here is to show the world how the Dutch play. I distinctly remember LVG saying in one interview that this was the mission given to him by the KNVB

  20. Do you think our Huntelaar can play box to box midfield against Spain/ Germany/ Chile?
    We need him to score goals, but we cannot afford to take away false nine from RVP because he is best used in that position.
    We just need him (Huntelaar) to hustle & put pressure from midfield and run to box to score when opportunity comes.

  21. I think the main reason why we’ve been underperforming in recent times is that stupid 4-3-3 system that Van Gaal is so stubborn on. We should’ve admitted it long ago. We don’t have the wingers or fullbacks for it.

    And now even more so. The unfortunate injury to Strootman should hopefully put the team back in a formation they can play well in. A formation the players are already used to as opposed to a formation the players have to get used to.

    4-5-1 is a good solution. With van Persie as no.10, Huntelaar as striker, Sneijder on the left like in Gala, Robben on the right. De Jong/Blind/De Guzman/Clasie in the Centre.

  22. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWKxiZ_Uyww

    Good video about Leroy Fer. Watch from 00:46 if you want to see how good he can penetrate when there are spaces, unfortunetaly his last choice is often the wrong one, but it’s already good he can make a team progressing on the field like that. He could have rivalized better against Pogba and Matuidi than Clasie for sure.

    When I read that Klaassen has good penetration while I’ve never seen him running 15 meters with the ball in his feet…Don’t know if we have the same notions.

    Fer should be in the final squad, not necessarly a starter but we can’t go without such a weapon.

    1. good video, laurent. i agree he should be in the squad

      BTW seems like we are similar in that you like to pull for the underdog. Now that Holland is a big underdog in the WC, you seem to be more optimistic about our team whereas when we were strong and healthy you seemed to dismiss Holland’s chances overall

      Maybe the team should have this underdog mentality too, lower their expectations and then succeed

  23. in wc mentality is going to be a big factor,especialy u need more grit than technical ability to beat brazil in brazil.match vs brazil would show us total grit of the team.
    even this dutch team has enough talents to win it,but they must belive that they can and at the most they need to sacarifice their personal needs before team interest.suceess of WC lies there.

  24. Want to call this out to all..
    Is there any team (NT or club) who played 4-4-2 in this modern days and is successful?
    Is 4-4-2 going to work well as Chile, Spain and Australia or our opponents beyond (if we get out of the group)

    My big worry about this formation is that our midfield be overrun.
    Unless the pivot (Van Persie?) can drop back to help out. Question is whether he has the lungs..

  25. My biggest worry, what do we do after we surprise everyone, beat spain and australia, lose to chile, but still win the group and have to face mexico/croatia in the 2 round??

    Then What?? What formation will we use THEN????

  26. Goal.com reported that Robin van Persie has a clause in his contract allowing him to speak to other clubs should Manchester United miss out out on a top-four Premier League finish. I did not know player can have such clause. I wonder where RVP wants to go next year if MU fails to make top 4.

        1. Totti won’t manage to play all the games Calcio + CL (if they qualify).

          I go for As Roma cause I don’t see any other big clubs in europe that needs a striker.

          I think Real will go for a big deal this summer if they fail in la Liga and CL, Benzema is no top striker, they all know it. But they’ll probably go more for a younger player than VP.

    1. You can have anything in a contract. It’s an agreement between two entities. Robin could have in it that he can leave if Davis Moyes wears white socks or when the traffic jam between his house and Old Trafford result in him spending more than 30 mins in the car.

      1. Not good enough. All of them. We have to see in 1 or 2 cycles if they ever will. Maybe Gouweleeuw or Viergever can move up one level to then become interesting for the Dutch NT.

        If you look for a player that might be interesting even for WC 2014, while having lack of experience, it is Kongolo for me. I even think that BMI’s experience card can barely be played out anymore for the different kind of quality that Kongolo brings to the table, especially on LB, where I think BMI has made plenty pf mistakes for Feyenoord.

        * Faster than BMI
        * Better on ball than BMI
        * Better defender than BMI
        * Maybe a better header than BMI, but not sure as of now.
        * More versatile than BMI (can also play DM, on top of defense)

        The problem is experience. Not only in Europe, but even in Eredivisie. That’s probably too big of a hurdle. I consider it a big failure of Koeman to have given him the modest time in the first team that he got, though maybe there was something of an injury playing a role as well. I am not sure.


      2. Wow az beating anzhi and on their way to the quarters where as red bull Salzburg struggles to a 0-0 draw with Basel…time to swap some of those Ajax players for some alkamaar players in the national team

        1. Anzhi is last in the russian league, they are really weak since they lost all their players, they’re here cause they beat Tromso and Genk…

          AZ isn’t so much better, they’re here cause they beat Maccabi Haifa and Slovan Liberec…

          The level of EL this year is really poor, Betis is one of the worst spanish team this year, Lyon isn’t impressive at all, Valencia is less strong than previous years, same for Benfica and Porto…

          I hope the finale to be Juventus-Napoli/Salzburg

          And I don’t know what alkmaar player you wanna see with NT ? Beerens ? Already tested, not NT level. Gouweleeuw is weak, even tonight made many mistakes, never rated him high, Viergever is average/good sometimes, but not really NT material neither.

          Don’t wanna defend Ajax but they beat 4-0 Alkmaar three weeks ago, AZ has luck in EL this year, their team doesn’t impress me at all, they were much better few years ago.

      3. Nah.Viergever BIG maybe. Marcellis too slow. Gouweleeuw, to light. Berghuis, too light. Three months before a World Cup…. You don’t want to do this.

  27. Great job by AZ. I am really proud of them. They are the only Dutch team keeping the Eredivisie flag flying in Europe still. They haven’t had the hardest of opponents but unlike Ajax, PSV and other who recklessly and disgracefully dropped out of this competition from early, they are still staying strong and dealing with each opponent as they come.

    It is great to see a Dutch team with a little bit of pride and self-respect. Ajax, PSV, Feyenoord and they others should learn a thing or two from AZ and start to take the this competition seriously. Winning is a habit for great teams and teams that want to always grow and win any/all tropies (big or small) are those that force their players to always go the extra mile. Digging deep, pushing yourself to win every game and every competition (or least to go as far as one’s will can take) will develop an inherent “will to win”, a tuff mentality and an attitude of determination in players. Players invariably develop a strong and enduring mentality in this situation.

    I say “BIG UP” AZ..Mi love di AZ vibz

    1. You will see how playing in three competition will drown them especially for an Eredivisie Team. They are on a schedule playing 5 games in 15 days including traveling all the way two Russia. Now after only two games they lost Berguis and Boulsen. Gouweleeuw is suspended for next EL game as well. They probably will miss out europeans soccer next year.

  28. Chelsea, Athletico Madrid, Porto, Shaktar, Zenit and Sevilla are all teams who won the most recent Europa League cups..But some of our Dutch clubs seem to look down on this cup…I guess we are bigger and better than those teams!! right? maybe we have just been doing so dam great going to the quarter and semis of the CL over recent yrs that we have no need for the Europa.

      1. And its a reason like that why Ajax players have such weak mentailty these days. 4 consecutive seasons falling at the group stage of the CL is disgraceful and totally unacceptable for the king of Dutch football.

  29. Yes DRB300 I remember somebody did brought this matter to light sometime back. Kongolo was frozen under Koeman due to transfer speculation. I think this is where we are losing out. idiot coaches…..

  30. In year to come I hope Buttner will raise to the occasion and grab that LB spot. Only his accuracy and timing of crosses needs rendering other wise he is definitely a real back/winger compilation package.. its pity that he is frozen under Moyes. I hope after Robben him and depay will continue his legacy. Intesting how we gonna look under Hiddink and with new generation kids on the block in 2016-2018. Lets see.

    Van Dijik
    Van Ginkle

    the future looks really bright and hopefully the development of these players goes in accordance and we wont loose them as we have in the past.

    1. Great news..
      IMHO however, he shouldn’t be rushed back into action!!
      As much as it hurts me to say this, he should be rested for this WC. He’ll be an extremely valuable asset for us in the next 10 years or so and I see him as a potential leader for the NT (along with Strootman of course)..
      I want to see Ake/Bazoer playing the no.6 ,one of Ginkel/Strootman taking up the runner role and Maher/Nouri/Paal orchestrating as the no.10 in the near future..
      Against quality sides, we can just go for a defensive 4-3-3 and deploy both Ginkel and Strootman as defensive blockers..(if and only if the defence is still fragile). However, if our CB duo develop a solid chemistry and partnership between them (keeping high hopes on the likes of Rekik,Kongolo, Veltman and Van Dijk), I’d prefer an attacking 4-3-3 with a single DM anchoring the midfield..
      What do you reckon DRB300??
      Will this suffice for the free flowing, attacking brand of football we’re famous for???

      1. I think Stroot and Ginkel have a gold mentality that will make it hard for future coaches to leave them out. They are both coach favorite players as they never let you down and give their all, game after game. Coaches love that and is a reason why Dirk Kuyt was so popular. So what I am saying is that both player might force a future coach to use them both, which will not translate in spectacular football. We saw that against Portugal second half and against Russia at the U21 Euro.

        It also depends on the coach if they will play together. Frank de Boer loves his midfiled runners. I can see him playing Stroot and Ginkel as midfield half players with a DM behind them in case he takes over from Guus.

        It also depends on the system if things get boring with them. City have two midfielder in Toure and Fernandinhio making penetrating runs into the box and have like 3 more creative players on top of them plus a striker. I think City can play quite exciting. So it does not have to be rigid and mostly grinta when both are on the field if they are deployed and used in a similar way as City plays their BtoB players.

        To really get back to a free flowing attacking brand of football we need midfielders that can turn away from their marker. That have technique in abundance. That posses speed. Creativity. That can beat a man on their own and create man more situation creating constant overload situations that force the opponent to make difficult choices and eventually mess up. Vanenburg players of the past. What Japan did against the Netherlands in the second half in the recent friendly. Paal and Slabbekoorn from generation 1997 are maybe such players. Nouri lacks enough speed already (more a pass master like Sneijder). So there might be some ingredients on their way to get back to that kind of football, but the cook (coach) is very important as well and still has to play in such a way that these players get a chance to shine.

        On top of that it would help greatly if a club team plays that way and purchases such players. Frank de Boer might look like a coach that does that, but he loves his runners. The stat he checks right after the game is the amount of runs per player that reach a speed level above 17.5 km/h (intensive runs). Very much focused on workrate. He did not go for Maher in the summer. He wanted to break the bank for van Ginkel. He goes rather for the perfect son in laws, than street footballers. Cocu reverted back to workers on midfield with Park, Schaars and Hiljemark. It’s not that easy apparently.

        Much more is needed for imaginative attacking football than silky 6 players like Ake. For one, I place question marks around his creative pass forward. Bazoer, Ayoub. Good players, but we need more quality in the next line. At Roma they played Nainggolan and Strootman together with Rossi under them. Was way too dry. Pjanic was needed for me. Making things happen.

        Finally I think what you say concerning van Ginkel makes sense and is probably the responsible thing to do. He would be perfect to replace Strootman, but we might risk too much long term. It is impossible for me to comment on this as it is a medical matter. The Chelsea medical staff and the Dutch NT medical staff must go talk with each other and make the decision. They are payed quite well to make these kind of calls.


  31. Very poor decision by Rodney Kongolo to leave..but many of us here have said more than enough on the topic of guys leaving to top leagues too early. Even if he is not comfortable with his circumstance at Feyenoord, he should have tried to work out or even move to another team in the Eredivisie.

    When willl then learn?

    1. Wilson I guess this is one of the few point of view we share. Huntelaar is for me a better striker than RVP for sure. He never stop to score goals, despite all the critics and bad luck (Real, Milan)

    2. one more goal and he’s tied with Robben, 1 more after that and he’s tied with vPersie, in almost half the number of games they needed.

      People who say our team is mostly dependent on Robben and vPersie alone (or it used to be Robben, vPersie and Strootman) are too easily influenced by the media.

      Not that it will matter if vGaal refuses to use Krul, Hunter or Klaassen (and perhaps even Promes in case Robben gets an injury, instead of doing something silly such as playing Kuyt, Lens or Schaken on the rightwing then).

    1. He was captain of Ajax youth teams. Was seen as a top talent for a long time but didn’t make the Ajax 1 cut. Left Ajax and is now back in the Eredivisie top with Vitesse

  32. van der Heijden is a good CB. He is a natural midfielder who has been converted to CB by Vitesse over the last 2 seasons, however, from his Ajax days I remember him being kind of multi-functional/multi-positional player.

    He was shipped out along with the generation of Mitchell Donald and Robert Schilder etc. If guys like De Vrij is getting runs for NT, this guy should have also been given an opportunity. Clearly we don’t have great defenders at the moment so it would have been understandable to give this boy a chance because he has been performing well alongside Kashia this season.

    Also, a quick “Big up” to the Hunter for his two goals..the man is on fire!

  33. *deep sigh…didn’t need this*

    Been a while since I posted but thought it was time to speak up.

    Can we not have Hunter and RVP play striker together like Kluivert and Bergkamp did in ’98? That team played in more of a 4-4-2 with 2 strikers, Bergkamp (RVP) slightly withdrawn from Kluivert (Hunter).

    Nigel plays destroyer as Davids did. Robben can play wide left as Overmars did. Lens can play wide right like Ronald de Boer. Final MF would be a creator, Sneijder and Vaart splitting time as probably neither can go 90 min…but splitting time knowing they only need to play at full pace for 60 min may be what they need.

    At the back, Vlaar is solid if unspectacular. van der Weil has been there before and we may need that experience. LB and LCB is up for grabs, whoever is in best form at the time (you guys would know better than I)

    Krul in goal with cover from Vorm.

  34. Fulham finally picks up their first win vs. Newcastle.

    Controversial moment at the end when Tim Krul got a shot at net(!) that apparently hit Heitinga’s hand

  35. How is Vlaar doing against Chelsea?

    I like De Guzman although I don’t see him play too often. Do you guys think he can be a starter for the NT? he is a very creative player, mature, has a good shot from distance.

  36. Depay has scored again, i haven’t seen the goal but he seems to be playing at a total different level compared to his u17 winning team mates by taking the games by the scruff of the neck.

  37. PSV are really on the up, maybe if they have a cl spot that the team has had to work hard to earn it may be useful when they play in europe.

    I still don’t really rate locadia and at the same time what will psv do when rekik leaves he has to cover up for brume so often

  38. Nice PSV. awesome PSV, when Hiddink join Psv team, they win all last 7 games, it is awful, i don’t care hiddink coz it or not, i think psv grow up, beating vitesse is not easy for eredevise team.

    Hup PSV Hup

  39. Bruma Rekik defended really well today. Willems was great going forward, but got into a lot of trouble when defending. His concentration is a problem. Locadia always worked hard and so did Depay. Depay should have made the penalty, the quality of that penatly was bad.

  40. Ron Vlaar
    An assured performance at the back, he was solid in the tackle and more than comfortable on the ball when in possession. A brave performance at the back.

    Leandro Bacuna
    Interesting match-up against Azpilicueta today, with both full-backs intent on going all out attack. Provided some good width for his side and hit some fine crosses into the box.

    Michel Vorm
    Beaten from range twice and should have done better for both really. Other than the goals, he had little to do and he’s been a real disappointment this season after a good start to life in the Premier League.

    Jonathan De Guzmán
    Was great going forward and although he should have finished one of his chances, it was his eagerness to make things happen that will have impressed most. Really productive with the ball.

    Erik Pieters
    Was replaced before the 15-minute mark due to injury, with Muniesa stepping on in his place.

    John Heitinga Top of the Match
    Dealt well with his fellow countryman De Jong, while contributing well at times in attack. Fractions away from scoring early in the second half.

    Tim Krul
    His blunder on Dejagah’s goal was a blemish on an otherwise great performance. Still cost his team a point.

    Vurnon Anita
    Contributed well in attack. Liability defensively.

    Luuk de Jong
    Excellent movement off the ball, but poor decision making cost him at times. Wasn’t provided the best service, often had to work to create his own chances.

    Ricky van Wolfswinkel
    Came on as Hughton looked for a better focal point up top. His shot, which Boruc failed to hold, led to Snodgrass’ goal.

    1. quoting You are a joke in response to me posting some goal.com rating reviews about Fer (from the last article):”What a joke! Only Amateur looks at Goal.com’s stupid comments…”

      Perhaps that only counts when I’m copy-pasting (and perhaps only when it’s negative about Fer), cause I haven’t seen him respond to your regular copy-pastes in that manner, perhaps I missed that (I do pretty much agree with the rest of that comment about bias on goal.com and of course you didn’t mention that it came from goal.com).

      1. big deal it came from goal.com, no one is trying to hide it..its a casual forum, i take my time n effort to copy paste from different articles and post it here, so other onlookers who are curious and browsing thru this comprehensive site of dutch discussion can also be aware of whats happening around the world..u seem to be sore..but dont lash out at others…i never criticizes ur work 😀

        1. I’ve got no problem with it.

          Wasn’t criticizing. I enjoy reading the opinions of the writers at goal.com about our Dutch players without having to look them all up individually.

          Just found the reaction of “You are a joke” slightly ironic and somewhat telling.

          Sometimes it’s who says it that matters more than what is being said to the audience. Which I find an interesting phenomenon, especially when observed in world politics and social issues (movements, philosophies, beliefs and opinions, especially opinions about individuals).

  41. historical lineup for the netherlands vs romania

    boulahrouz—————————–de cler
    ———-engelaar———de zeeuw———–
    afellay————-van persie————robben

  42. Guys,
    If today we play against portugal, who will be the best RB to contain world best left forward Ronaldo? And as Ronaldo tend to drift inside and score with his right foot, who will be the best Right Midfield who most likely have to double – Mark with RB?
    Vaerhaegh looks like more mature defensively, but most likely lack quality to contain Ronaldo, or van der wiel who once declare that impossible to prevent ronaldo from scoring (2012), even though his overall game play has improved since then, he tends to play high off the field leaving his defensive duties, or jaanmat who never tested against top teams, who also never known as defensively smart.
    I think those 3 are the best we can get now , most likely we need a midfielder to man-mark him Once He move inside, and I dont see anyone can do the job, except we deploy van ginkel, who us Close to ronaldo’s phisical attribute and speed.

        1. I WAS joking mate…i was fed up with the quality of many players.so i was looking further down,i mean went for more yonuger generation,as a team they play well,but i dont know their names also,sorry mate if it confused you.

      1. Hi DRB ;
        I think Lens can fit perfectly as a wingback in a 3-5-2 , 5-3-2 or diamond 4-4-2 , not sure if he can be a wingback in a 4-3-3 ? Waht do you think ?

    1. Yeah normally he plays the full game bUt he came of around the 70th min and I can’t ready Dutch so I don’t know what it says online about him

      1. He receive a hit from an elbow in the eye, but nothing more,he will get surgery, but is not a bad injury I guess. Maybe he will play next week.
        We will se.

        1. oh right i read a translation and it said fracture or something, hopefully not damage to his actual eye though.

          Hopefully we can see him dressed with a dost / kjh mask

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