Rusty Oranje disappointing

We always approach these analyses from the Dutch perspective, of course, but it is also fair to say that Norway played really really well. But, we are not going to play the victim: Norway was good because we couldn’t find the solutions.

Louis van Gaal must have been free of stress and game jitters. When you only have 1,5 day to prep your first match, well… what to expect. He did have his zoom calls with the players individually, and I also think his video analysts will have sent clips to the players with specifics and instructions, but what do you do when you only have 1,5 days to prep?

You don’t pick players without rhythm. Ergo: Dumfries, Malen and De Roon didn’t start. You also don’t want to mix up the existing core team too much. So you offer a debut to Bijlow and a starting berth to Gakpo, but you don’t want to bring Malacia as well.

You don’t start with 5-3-2 because the ghost of Frank de Boer will be hovering over the team and result, which is something Van Gaal would want to avoid.

The line up was quite logical. I had Dumfries and Malen in my starting eleven ( I simply think Dumfries without rhythm brings a bit more than Timber, more on that later) and I’m a big fan of Malen, who offers depth. Gakpo, Memphis, Berghuis…they all want the ball to feet.

I was excited with the line up though. I like the 4-3-3 (although Oranje started with 4-1-4-1) and I was looking forward to seeing Bijlow play.

Van Gaal wanted Frenkie in the centre of midfield in a holding role, knowing he would have the ball a lot and would be able to dominate the game. Memphis got Klaassen and Wijnaldum as his assistants behind him, as Memphis gets the best results with dynamic players around him.

The first phase of the game, Oranje dominated possession. Norway was hesitant and was keen to play on the counter and Haaland proved to be a threat. We wanted to stop the pass into him but in the first state of the game, we weren’t so good at it. A first attack was a warning for Oranje. Haaland slipped past the offside (Timber played him on) but Bijlow earned his Heineken. The second time Haaland got a sniff, he scored. Gakpo was slow to get back up on the pitch but Timber also kept Haaland onside, the ball was brought back in and Haaland had a sensational tough to push the ball past a helpless goalie. Despite Van Dijk’s lunge.

Oranje lost it for a while and needed a shape/pattern that was practiced during training (and you can see this in the clip I posted in the previous post). A ball via midfield towards the winger (Berghuis), who found the running Wijnaldum in the half space (excellent pass), who pulled the ball back, low and fast. Davy Klaassen as per usual entered the box and had an easy goal to score: 1-1.

The second half saw Oranje start in a 4-2-3-1, with Wijnaldum next to Frenkie. This was needed, as Norway found space on the counter everytime Frenkie was pulled out of position. With Gini covering that space in the De Roon role, Norway had less options to counter (but still did).

The biggest chance in the second half was for Haaland again, after a nice break led by Odegaard. The Arsenal #10 was second-best most of the times vs Frenkie but this particular move was great: the little run by Haaland (towards De Vrij and then suddenly away from De Vrij) was pure class and his shot ended on the post.

We only had some lame attempts. Two headers in the first half (Gakpo), a soft header in the second half (Van Dijk) and a last-second option for Dumfries who couldn’t sort his feet you.

Louis van Gaal was not super disappointed after the match. He too praised Norway. “The opponent played it very well and despite we wanted to win this, we need to be happy with the draw. Considering we had only 1,5 days to prep and not all players at the same level in terms of fitness and rhythm… I think we need to take this. We still have it all in hand and we will need to win the next two matches.”

Asked where Oranje went wrong: “We were sloppy. We had some issues with the flow of the game on this slow and dry pitch, but we let ourselves down. We were not too precise with our passing and we made the wrong decisions at the wrong times. Norway is very good in compact defending, so the space was limited, which means two things: you need to be creative against these opponents and you need to be in good form. We weren’t able to do either. This needs to improve, but I’m confident we will. In order to play them to pieces is by showing courage, by stepping into midfield and creating a man-more situation but we lacked the confidence, I think. Another thing, our set pieces and corners were not good enough. This is all trainable and we will improve on this. See, we can think we are world class, but in all honesty, we are not. We can beat any team, but any team can beat us too.”

Captain Van Dijk was disappointed. Just like all the other players. “It was really depressing how that goal came to be. We all went up the pitch, but Cody was slack. It happens. But we were restless after that. We had enough chances or options to go for the winner but it didn’t happen.” Playing against Haaland was chore for Big Virg: “He’s amazing. He is strong and fast, so you need to be really ready for him. But we had to win here, I think we could have. But hey, we’ll need to do in the next matches now.”

The man who usually gets us the goals, Memphis Depay, was also a bit down after the match. “This is a bummer! We didn’t create enough. We lacked creativity, something we do have. But it didn’t work, we lacked confidence or courage it seemed. And that also applies t me, and the lads in midfield. Frenkie tried to play between the lines, but we need more players to do this. But we worked hard and kept on trying. I can create goals from nothing, I know this, so even when I’m not super good I can have my value for the team. We almost got it even, but we lacked the luck for that last second goal.”

Justin Bijlow is now the new #1 for Oranje. “The coach told me on Monday. I was super happy, and I had some butterflies in my stomach the day before the game, but on match day, it was all focus. I felt good on the pitch, just like other times. I’m sad we didn’t win, but I am proud and happy with by debut.”

My ratings:

Justin Bijlow: 7

He showed confidence, his distribution was good, he saved the first attempt by Haaland and had the much needed luck when he was beaten in the second half.

Daley Blind: 5

Daley played a decent first half and saw the danger of a particular counter, taking a yellow for the team. In the second half, he had a period where nothing worked. Balls slipped under his feet and passes went astray. Uncommon for him.

Stefan de Vrij: 7.5

Best Dutch player. Strong on the ball, always alert and tough in the duels. Once, Haaland beat him in a typical striker’s move which is very hard to defend.

Virgil van Dijk: 5.5

Virgil is still struggling a bit with his rhythm and was too complacent and times. His powerful cross balls also lacked precision. Understandable after his heavy injury.

Justin Timber: 6

He worked like a monster and was focused. He could have done more in possession but that is not why he is in the team. More a central defender though. I prefer Karsdorp.

Gini Wijnaldum: 6

Was in the wars with a tough hit on his ankle. He had the assist for the Oranje goal and had snippets of brilliance but lacked his usual sharpness

Frenkie de Jong: 7

Frenkie ruled the midfield and demoted Odegaard to a supporting role for Norway. Everything started with him but he wasn’t able to find that one opening.

Davy Klaassen: 6,5

The dynamic and hard working Klaassen played strong in the first half and got his goal. Faded a bit in the second half.

Cody Gakpo: 6

Cody had 6 attempts on goal and showed his class. He also made some bad decisions (the attempt after Memphis’ backheel for instance) and couldn’t use his speed and guile. Still, offering some aerial threat as well.

Memphis Depay: 5

Memphis was constantly busy, trying to link up, worked for the team but his set pieces were wanting and he simply didn’t reach his potential.

Steven Berghuis: 5,5

He did what Van Gaal instructed him to do but the dynamics on the right were not as good as on the left. Berghuis did have the pre-assist and tried to put a stamp on the match but couldn’t.

Donyell Malen: 5,5

Always available, always threatening but lacking service and only an attempt missing the goal for all his troubles.

Denzel Dumfries: –

Didn’t play long enough for a rating, but he could have won it for us in the dying seconds.

Louis van Gaal: 6,5

Lots of possession using the 4-3-3, logical line-up, logical tactics but not a lot of chances and no win. It can only get better.

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  1. LVG mentioned team lacks creativity..this is what I mentioned previously. We need a Wesley Sneijder, am thinking the closest being Joey Veerman. Don’t see anyone else..or you guys think of anyone?

    1. The jury isn’t out on Joey Veerman yet. He is ok in a team built around him. On the ball, he’s wonderful but I am not sure if he can play consistently at top level. It remains to be seen. Gravenberch is a way bigger talent and he’s played 1,5 season in Ajax 1 (and CL football) and he is a bench warmer. Van Ginkel will deserve a look in at some point and I think Propper when fit is Oranje worthy. I would like to see our #10 with creativity instead of the “runner” Van Gaal uses now (Klaassen, Til, maybe VD Beek). For that #10 position Gakpo can work. Alternatively De Roon or Wijnaldum or Koopmeiners could play holding mid, pushing Frenkie further up.

  2. Jan, I’ve said it on this blog and I am going to say it again. Ain’t not coach that is going to this Dutch NT. This generation is lacked of too many things. We need to start looking at the next generation. Can you believe that in more than 90 minutes, you can even get a single cross from the either left back or right back. Can event get a decent cross from neither of your wingers. Please tell me why any coach would select Berghuis and even worst he is a starter? This is to show how much we don’t have any players. De Room is still on this team, WHY? Menphis is always sloppy when ever he plays for the NT. As far as this game is concerned I think the kid from Tottenham would of been a better choice on the wing then Berghuis. Lastly I think Gakpo as the potential. We need to start looking at other players. We have this roaster for a while now and so far they have not delivered.

    1. Hi Jean, I agree with you on somethings, but not everything. I think Berghuis was fin in the first half. He is not the problem. If you watch the highlights of the first half, every move that is in the highlight reel has Berghuis involved. He’s not a winger, he’s a playmaker. This is what LVG got wrong. Look at his best actions for Feyenoord or Oranje in the past (or now Ajax): he won’t dribble or run at full speed towards the byline. He likes to come inside on his left foot. He created the goal we scored. So how can you say he was shite? I think LVG made some mistakes in his line up: only play Berghuis with a player like Karsdorp or Dumfries behind him who play like wingbacks. In this way Berghuis can move inside and create. Now, LVG used Timber (a centre back really) who also had to deputise for Frenkie in midfield. That was LVG’s error #2: don’t use Frenkie as holding mid, because his strength is to wander to where the danger can be created. The two counters by Norway were the result of Frenkie not in position (and then losing possession). Yes Bergwijn (Spurs) has depth and yes, Gakpo will become a big player. But the hate on Berghuis is a bit embarrassing even for you :-).

  3. If we make it to the WC it will be pure luck. This team is simply mediocre. Boring players with no energy or stamina, no fighting spirit. Depay is bad and has been so for a while, in fact it was him that helped Norway’s goal by trying to be flashy like he always does and losing the ball, Malen seems shot, Gakpo meh. Berghuis wouldn’t be a starter for any team in England. We have nothing special in attack. I wish a coach would just experiment with a different group upfront. We’re not going anywhere and I wouldn’t be shocked if we have a hard time against Montenegro. This is a weak group and we may not be able to make it to WC.
    That Dumfries miss in the last second was comical.

    1. Nonsens. Really emotional drivel from a typical fan. Memphis’s stats in the NT are amazing. He was involved in 70% or more of our goals. Berghuis doesn’t need to start in the EPL. Who cares? Malen only has 1 match for Dortmund in his legs.

  4. Van Gaal did a poor job. I don’t buy into the 1.5 days prep time. He knew he walk into this situation when he chose the job. Sure, he did not have time to prepare tactic but his selection was so poor.

    Let start with the right wing, it is dead. Berghuis can never dribble past his opponent, Timber is not a RB. Bergwijn who started for Spurs last 3 matches should be preferred over a Premier League flop, don’t you think? And Timber as RB is insane, with 1.5 days prep time, let choose a makeshift RB, what could go wrong right? If Dumfries is not match fit, pick Karsdorp or Frimpong, who both played regularly in Serie A/Bundesliga last few weeks. Is that too much to ask for someone who picked selection pool every week?

    Left wing, another dead lane. At this time, Blind’s contribution is just a myth. His passing skill is so important to this team, right? Because last 7 years, with his passing skill, our attacking flow is so good, right? Try someone else already and if there is noone who is good at attacking, put Ake in and shut down the lane. At least, with that solution, you do not need to worry about opponent outrun our LB. Gakpo is not ready, he might be an impact sub though. In this game, if Van Gaal play Malacia + Depay/Danjuma on the left wing, that is so much better already.

    The middle is somewhat working but not optimized, FDJ is playing so deep against a weak opponent. Do we have problem with their pressing? Not at all.

    Ideally, it should like this against Norway:

    Danjuma/Depay Depay/Weghorst Bergwijn
    FDJ Wijnaldum
    Malacia – VVD – De Vrij – Karsdorp

    Just stop the nonsense picks and play the best players in the favorite positions, is that too hard? And the best players should be picked based on league performance, not based on Dutch criteria, which does not exist anymore, get over it, it is 10 years later, when was the last time we played total football? When Bergkamp was still playing, we lack that quality now, stop picking someone pretend that they have enough technical talent like Blind and Berghuis.

    1. You are hitting the nail on the head (see my earlier comments on LVG and Berghuis). I agree with you. The PL flop label is not fair. Would you call Thierry Henry a Serie A flop? Or Bergkamp? Or Depay? That is wrong in my eyes. Berghuis took a chance, ended up in Watford (relegation football) and didn’t have the physicality to shine in that team. Not something you can blame him for. Blame his agent, maybe. I like your line up though. With Weghorst, you need Berghuis. The only player with a cross. Bergwijn, Danjuma, Malen, they’re all forwards who can play in a 4-4-2 (speed, depth, directness). If you want Weghorst, you need to have service for him.

      1. Jan, it is not a fair analogy, Henry, Bergkamp and Depay redeemed themselves, Depay took several years to prove his worth. I don’t think Berghuis is there, he can prove me wrong in CL but until then, it is unfair that he is ahead of other players in the pecking order. I do think that he has his place in the squad, the last few times he played, he has some impact, but he is not starting material.

        As for Berghuis cross for Weghorst, that might work. And I do not criticize Berghuis alone by the way. He is just one example. Other example is like why Timber got picked to play out of position where we have players perform at better league. If the coach has a plan and exclude some players because they do not fit the plan, that is fine with me. But I don’t think it is the case here, right now what happen is some players get picked because they fit the Dutch profile, does not matter what level they are playing.

  5. Oh, and to comment on Balkan’s comment re: Luck. History tells us a lot. Denmark went to the 1992 Sweden Euros with luck (Yugoslavia was ruled out) and they won it. Holland in 1974 went to the World Cup with luck (Belgium earned it, but their onside goal was seen as offside). In 2014, no one believed Holland should even go to Brazil. We beat Spain 5-1 and got bronze. France didn’t do too well this round of games, neither did Spain. You have to see the bigger picture: not all players are fit (Malen, Dumfries, De Roon, Van Dijk), short prep times and lesser teams see these games as massive while the big nations tend to see these games as tedious. Qualification matches are ALWAYS Like this. Keep the faith. If Greece can win the Euros (2004) why wouldn’t we be able to go to the World Cup? Do a like-for-like comparison of our team and that Greek team and tell me who has more quality.

  6. I have long said the things being said above and finally it has come to that stage where its just cannot be sustained and the curtain has been lifted. I must highlight though on what orangutan said in his previous post . I was long trying too find the right words but couldn’t but he really nailed it with this “Stubbornness will be the death of NT”. Now you take this is and put it into context with what what Jan has said about Joey Veerman ” The jury isn’t out on Joey Veerman yet” so the jury decided on berghuis, who was a flop from Day 1, what happened. all this time has gone to waste, under Koeman, under FDB and now under Van Gaal. its just pity that the JURRRRRRY, cant distinguish who is a diamond and who is not. you look at the perception or the mental picture here, Berghuis even with his deficiencies playing at NT level can be tolerated while the same cant be tolerated for somebody who maybe technically and individually more competent than him but don’t get the recognition again by the “JURY” because they haven’t played at top level/ where they play. this is the root cause of the current status of NT coming up to last 7 years and needs to change for good.

    you can again relate this to Karsdorp’s omission as well but in a slightly different context. how the “Jury” weighed him to others who were selected. Van Gaal opted for make shift Timber at RB. How this can can justified is beyond my thinking.

    1. I think the problem is your thinking. Van Gaal has explained it all very well. Timber was part of the Euros squad. Karsdorp was not. To bring a new lad in, in a group that has 1,5 day to play a game is not smart. You may have done it, but most coaches tend to eliminate risk. On top of that Timber can play on 4 positions in the team, Karsdorp only one. This is how coaches think. You think as a fan. That is fine. I also prefer Karsdorp and I hope he will make his way into the squad, but no coach would have picked him now. As for the Jury and Veerman vs Berghuis… Where would Veerman play, according to you? He would have to play on Frenkie’s spot. Which means in that he won’t be playing, because Frenkie is world class and Joey is good, sometimes, at Heerenveen. Do you get the difference? Berghuis has played some good games in the NT and seasons on end for Feyenoord. When Dick Advocaat, Louis van Gaal, Rene van der Gijp, Rafael van der Vaart, Pierre van Hooijdonk and Willem van Hanegem think that Berghuis is the best player in the Eredivisie (last seasons), I tend to consider them a proper jury. You seem to be completely alone on the other end of the debate. Which teams did you coach again? And where did you play your football :-)? You keep on harping on on your pet topics (I sometimes think you and Emanuel are actually the same person), and you seem to shove all the football legends who have eaten, slept, drank and lived football from the table, thinking you see it better?? Bwaahahahahahaaaaa

  7. @Jan

    the history is another problem for NT as they want to cling onto like a girl holding on to a teddy bear close to her heart. history wont repeat itself. change is evitable, Most Teams have come from behind and caught up to NT while NT is still stagnant. how did they do this. changes, changes and changes. NT will not progress without a major overhaul. the door to the past needs to be slammed shut and the door to the future has to open.

    Comparing Berhguis, to Henry and Bergkmp is joke. Memphis is Memphis. he hasn’t proved anything at the highest level.

    agree with Kevin as well about how Van Gaal walked into knowing what was to expect. I have said this several times as well, argument that usually pops during international that coaches don’t get enough time for prep is bogus. when the team is doing good nobody complains, when the team is on the receiving end the umbrella is out.

    1. I read your sentences as they all make grammatical sense, but I don’t understand your point. How is this NT stagnant? We started in 1974 with 4-3-3 which was actually 4-4-2 as JC was a false 9. Probably one of the first. In 1988 Michels switched to 4-4-2. In 2010 we played 4-2-3-1 and the world was too small as everybody wanted Van Marwijk’s head. In 2014 we got bronze with a mix of 5-3-2 and 4-3-3. The only thing we never did in the past 41 years, is appoint a foreign coach. Which I personally support. Any coach working in the Eredivisie would be an option for me (Wormuth of Heracles? Why not?) but I do believe in the power of communication and Bielsa – as an example – would not work in my view. What overhaul are you talking about? Malen, Gakpo, Weghorst, Bergwijn, Gravenberch, Koopmeiners… these guys need to be sent home already? We need even younger players? Koeman did an overhaul too, changing the system and reaching the finals of the Nations League. You cannot perform better with a team that has Kevin Diks, Joey Veerman, Zivkovic, Ramselaar and Wijndal… :-).

  8. Mindset is All. For better or worse. And in the case of the Dutch national team and a throng of deluded fans living in a world where the road travelled by a football before it ends at the back of the net is just as important as the goal itself, it has always been all or nothing. Absolutism. This concept that every generation that followed after the great teams of the ’70s have to play like gods frolicking in the clouds and led by a maestro like Cruyff who serenades and influence their motion is fool-hardy and frankly unattainable. That playing decent, dogged defence is somehow anathema and every minute of every second of a game has to be controlled, even if it is as sterile a possession as you will. An attitude, if I may add, that made a player of Van dijk’s defensive calibre been initially largely ignored for international duty. Not silky enough. Lord knows how many have suffered similar fates.

    So here we are. Stuck between the past and a deficit of personnel to execute the only future that the Dutch psyche can conjure: the Past. And this has been going on for decades. The best team never to have won a world cup. Also the best team that have missed the most major tournaments. That may I remind you is not a coincidence. NT has been stuck for years in what some might call analysis paralysis. This fear of change. Some would excuse that as preservation of an identity. But that’s foolish. You can’t try to slot square pegs in round holes when the alternative is better and stares you right in the face. All in the name of being true to a system. Which is all it is. A system.

    Seedorf, a generational talent was shunted back and forth in NT to the point where he provoked the ire of a certain Van Basten who remarked that he is not going to be bothered with someone who others have failed to accommodate. He opted for de Zeuuw(remember him?). If a team cannot find a place for Seedorf at the peak of his powers because the system says otherwise, you are in trouble.

    NT needs a complete overhaul and a new way of thinking. Too many ways to skin a cat or however the saying goes. The failures of the great Brazil teams of the 80’s and 1990 convinced the Samba boys that a balance of grit and decent defending is somewhat needed to compensate for the drawbacks associated with flair and showmanship. The 1994 World Cup triumph soon followed. Germany lost their way a bit in the late 90s and early 2000s. A national programme was initiated and the beneficiaries were Ozil and co who managed to harvest another world cup.

    For NT making it to Qatar ’22 the jury is still out

    1. Hi mate, thanks for your contribution. You do bring up some interesting points, although I am not totally certain I can follow all you are trying to say.

      I will try to break it down.

      Mindset is all. I agree with this and your next sentence too.

      Absolutism, I am not sure what you mean. Yes, we like attractive football but we were very happy with the Euros win in 1988: 4-4-2 and more reactive play. USSR was better in the finals, the matches v England and West Germany were super tight. We didn’t dazzle in 1988, but we won it and the fans were happy.

      Van Dijk wasn’t omitted due to not being silky? Where did you get that info from? He was unlucky that the big 3 in Holland didn’t sign him: Ajax made another (bad) choice, Feyenoord had their CBs and didn’t have money, PSV didn’t need him. He was never a high flyer in the youth, so he never got into rep teams.

      And yes, in the KNVB system, it helps if you play for the Top 3 and/or a Rep Team. Virgil was one of those that slipped through. A late blossomer. It happens. See Jaap Stam. or Arnold Muhren. Virgil van Dijk never complained about it and admitted he simply wasn’t so good when he was 18 years old. A bit complacent and – dare I say it – lazy…

      Seedorf wasn’t ignored by Van Basten because he didn’t fit the system. Seedorf wasn’t coachable. There was a conflict of personalities. And yes, Van Basten was partly to blame (he had it with Ruud and Van Bommel too). But Seedorf was indeed not very disciplined tactically and also kept on demanding penalty kick duties while not being the best spot kick taker.

      Coaches sometimes have a falling out with players. There are numerous examples. Seedorf still played 87 matches for the NT. Do you remember 3 games where he was absolutely magnificent? I dare you.

      The Germany example is fun: they decided to adopt the Dutch way in 2000. Sammer and others came to Zeist to adopt our youth academy philosophy. So this argument now implodes on itself as your basic thesis doesn’t hold. The Germans got good BECAUSE they did what we did.

      The impact of Dutch football can be seen in Barcelona (and therefore Spanish NT), Bayern (via Pep among other people), Man City, Arsenal (Wenger), Atalanta, Sacchi’s Milan, so many coaches who claim to be inspired by JC and the Dutch football philosophy.

      Your point of “best NT never to win a World Cup” is true, but it’s not like we failed to perform. We didn’t lose the finals vs West Germany in 1974 because Seedorf didn’t play. We didn’t lose the Argentina finals because we defended lousy. You mix up historical facts with made up things to prove your point…

  9. @ Jan

    Im reading your asessment on berghuis, first of all its shocking and secondly bullshit.

    Few things to note though. At feyenoord Dick made him the focal point playing around less comptent players and thats where he thrived big time vs average to low eredivisie team . You look at him now at Ajax, he is starting to fade.why? Because he is playing around more comptent players and he aint no more a focal point like at feyenoord and has to dig deep. This is why I have said over and over again, he is not a big game player and he will not survive in high tempo game. This is clear cut and this was also a feature when Feyenoord was active in EL. Its on record and also for your intrest, if you want to go back and watch Berghuis performance vs played PSV and Ajax and as recently again in the JC Shield in Ajax colours. he never manages to pull out his best performances against the big guns. Also given he was regular penalty kicker at feyenoord, his goals tally looked impressive giving him the false status of clinical finisher which he is not. Some stats to back it up. Out of 18 goals he scored, 8 was from Pks. If you minus that he falls badly behind in pecking order. Again you dont want look at the true picture here and want sweep his defeincies under the carpet. This is the aspect that matters and what should be looked at. Impact, how much of a impact does he makes in the team, has made in the team, has he improved over the years, has he the ability to step up to another level. Is he worth investing in. this is what you should be asked

    I suspect you are trying to weigh him to players like Mahrez, Bernando Silva,Ziyech who are similar esque players and have stronghold in cutting inside from the right and are very decisive at their respective clubs. Unfortunately Berghuis, aint no in the same boat and simply doesnt have that cutting egde to reach that level.

    If you recall Depay at Man United then he had the same syndrome when he first arrived there. He managed to pull it through at Lyon because he had the raw qualities in him. Berghuis never had it. Only Vs teams like Lativa and Gibraltar you can expect him to become a tiger which is just not good enough.

    Playmarker playing in wingers position and formation. From where the hell did you come up with this.If Berghuis as you are saying was fine in the first half,then why was he subbed at HT.

    1. I’m gonna be honest with you Wilson, you’re being critical of Berghuis for scoring 10 goals from open play in the Eredivisie (as a winger), but then you turn around and talk about Zivkovic, who flopped in China’s 2nd division and can’t even get a team to sign him. Zivkovic as a striker has never scored more than 9 goals in a season in top tier football.


  10. This blog is becoming so frustrating to be a part of. Every day it’s just the same people writing the same negative comments, starting them with things like “I’ve been saying this for years.” There’s nothing constructive, it’s just a bunch of people trying to prove they were right about certain topics.

    The fact of the matter is that this team is not a strong one, it happens. We get golden generations, and weaker ones. In 2010 we had Huntelaar, Van Persie and van Nistelrooij fighting for the 9, now we have Boadu, Depay and Weghorst.

    The worst is everyone is treating this like club football, where if someone is underperfoming you can just buy a replacement. If our best RW is underperforming, the replacement is a step down.

    And it’s almost like personal vendettas against the players. Tiju has something against Dumfries so he disappeared for 2 weeks when Dumfries was our best player in the Euros because the only comments he ever makes is how bad Dumfries is.

    It’s just terribly depressing reading this blog nowadays (not the content, Jan, that’s always great), but the comments are awful.

    1. @Derek…the touches of dumfries gives me a real laugh,the first touch,his aweful crossses and aweful passes…Only good thing about him is athlectiscm and he is runner has speed,can defend if he wnats to..can contain an attacket better than many..We must improve as team and We need wingbacks who can cross and gets involved with possession at final third…Dumfries cannot keep ball in his feet..and he is like forward with no duty to defend…while blind is better attacker and he stays at back…that i dont understand…why you dont allow Blind to be up in the feild??who has better quality than dumfries..i look for karsdorp,Frimpong and Rensch…..they would really gel with thid team… and worst part is when dumfries combines with berghuis you have zero creativity from that vS@##ks…we su#$$k…
      Having said that i know its not Just dumfries, its combination of De roon,Dumfriews,Slow blind,Sloppy Depay (at times)…and annholt ,winjdal etc…

    2. Thanks man. you have no idea how I appreciate this. It strikes me too that some people have nothing positive to say about the current players (they always want to find messiahs in lower teams or players who have not proven anything or have failed everywhere (Zivkovic, Diks). They never think to acknowledge a blog post. Most people don’t even comment on the posts I write, they go straight into their hate drivel (Kuyt, Berghuis, there is always someone they pick on) and they never really support the blog. They take take take and hardly ever give any “love”.

      The times I have considered burning the blog, because I do wonder: why do I do this?? I don’t use ads or silly things to make money out of this, it’s for the other fans, but there are more haters than fans… Thanks Derek…

  11. First off, thank you Wilson for acknowledging what you and I know have always been a problem with our beloved Oranje. In fantasy football, one can afford to live and play in the world of the fantastic. Not in real life though. And definitely not in the way a national football team programme is run.

    Oranje have to learn to accept and manage the different levels of talents and abilities of various generations as they pass through. There has to be a standard policy of recognition and honest assessment of players at hand in regards to calibre. Not in how best they can fit a system but how good they can make this system work. And this is where I feel oranje have failed for decades.

    The opinionated Van gaal would try to convince you that with the right sort of mindset and strict adherence to instructions he would get any set of players playing like the team of the mid ’90s Ajax. Yes and No. Yes because they might play a variation of that system(to the best of their abilities) and no because that team probably won’t have a young Seedorf, Davids and the inimitable Rijkaard to form a midfield core that could rank against any in the world.

    The task that oranje has been grappling with for decades is making an assessment of how good is good enough. And that’s where the delusion have been allowed to fester. You have to be able to recognize that de Roon would NEVER be the way forward and move on. And same goes for Berghuis, Promes and even just this year Babbel.

    To rebuild or not to rebuild? KNVB are stuck in a rut of indecision. They want to hold on to the universal accolades of a team that plays good football at all times even if the required logistics is not available. Thus the number of hits and misses along the way and lack of continuity.

    Oranje needs a shakeup, an overhaul of some sort. Focus on a core group of players, have a long term plan, suffer the growing pains, miss some tournaments here and there(we are doing that anyway) and repeat. The band-aid solutions have been going on for long enough. Just have a long term plan(any plan) and stick to it.

  12. i wish Boasdu stayed at AZ and We should have called Danjuma,Frimpong,karsdorp,Boadu,Stengs…
    What about benching Depay???i think our most threatening forwards are Danjuma and Malen…Not even Depay…i would wait for propper to come back as noumber 10…Propper means goals,He is goal creator and gaol scorere in tough times..

      1. If that is the case, it would be good for Dutch football. But I think this is not the case, Barca management was just incompetent and run their club into almost bankruptcy. They are handing out contracts that have too high wages and now they cannot even sign new players or move the current dead wood out.

  13. @ Derekvdberg

    Just curious Whats your take on NT for the last 7 years 2014 -2021.

    Zivkovic didnt flop in china, he scored goals at Chungchun yatai amd they actually got promoted to Super league which is the their main competition. He was also loaned to Sheffield United when Covid distrupted the competition there. He never got much playing time this season because is contract was expirying and given his big salary scale it was not going to be renewed with ongoing Covid recession which hit Chinese football.

    When I look at a players, the first thing I look is at is their technically abilities because thats what makes them or breaks them. This tops my list on why NT are not evolving. Creativity is the problem in midfield, no cohesion up front in the forwards and no high intensity on the flanks. Now if you come with the arguement, was there better options. There has been, always but then there is the Jury.

    The other thing you said about was Berghuis scoring 10 goals from open play. Just to let you know Zian Flemming also scored 10 goals from open play playing out of PEC Zwolle. You can be the judge here

    @ orangutanan

    You welcome mate. Some of the things you have written within the short time, I have been wanting to say for ages but couldnt find the right words. I s Either way like it has been brought forward, the string in the hands of the Jury and only they can bring about changes.

  14. Not really sure about Montenegro team. I dont see any household name in there.If they turn out to be another nothern Macedonia. Can expect a hattrick from berghuis and off course if they park the bus. If this happens, as usually the umbrella will be gone and trumphet will be out

    But I guess whats important is that they dont drop any points from here on words. The next qialifers has to be one to inject news players.

  15. I don’t think things are as bad as some are making it out to be. From a qualifying standpoint, Wednesday was a missed opportunity because a win would have put the Dutch in control the group, but, still, their two main rivals both lost points at home, giving the NT the opportunity to control the group with wins at home Saturday and Tuesday.

    From a team standpoint, I think its a matter of finding the right combination. There was an unbroken line of world class—really generational talents from Gullitt/Van Basten to Bergkamp to Kluivert/RVN to Robben/Sneijder/Van Persie. That ended in 2014. They don’t have those types of players right now. But there is still enough material from to build a very good team. Koeman didn’t have super star offensive players, but his teams scored alot of goals and had some impressive wins. His team had a couple of top tier players—FDJ and VVD—and others with enough talent and attributes so that playing with cohesion, intensity and spirit, they were formed a good team; one that could (and did) beat anybody on their night.

    No reason to think this team can’t get to that point. Its just hard to know what is the right combination, for any national team. I’m hoping Saturday is the day they find it.

    Finally, two comments about Van Gaal. When the Norway coach came to shake his hand at the end of the game, he was doing a slow burn. I can’t imagine that he hasn’t let the players know that they didn’t meet his expectations. Second, I agree that that there is a myth of Dutch Football that doesn’t match the reality of the way the ’74, ’78, ’88 and ’98 teams actually played. They were ruthless. But I am not concerned that he is bound to that myth. His coaching in 2014 can’t be described as anything but pragmatic.

    Anyway, game is coming up, and I am looking forward to it.

  16. Hi Jan. Thanks for your response and also assembling this band of oranje brothers in one place. As mentioned, I guess that you haven’t fully understood my points as proven by pieces of your opinions.

    Changing a formation or style of play for a tournament or two out of dire necessity doesn’t constitute or make up the footballing tradition of a nation. The Italians have always possessed a hard-nosed defensive culture around which every team have been built. The Germans, a mix of defensive duty and sustained, efficient attacks. This is what their teams have always been built around.

    Total Football or the striving of such variation has been the backbone of Dutch football culture. Problem is, the standard of players needed for a system of such intricacy to thrive is quite high. Thus the constant adjustments and seemingly lack of continuity as the search for a right balance could sometimes be generational. Thus the missed competitions and heady highs and embarrassing lows.

    The Germans and Italians have won competitions just on the virtue of their defence and thorough organization. I have never seen a Dutch team in any kind of sustained pressure that haven’t conceded. Because defending is not what they do. They tried their hand at that in 2010 and reached a final. But that seemed to be only out of necessity.

    I’m not here to diminish the impact Dutch football has made the world over. I am here to say that integrating the importance of defence in youth football is probably more important than finding the next JC or van Basten. And the Germans I may add, have always played a direct, fuss-free football compared to the Dutch. So it’s hard for me to see what they copied from our youth system.

    Seedorf not been coachable is a myth. Dutch coaches and personnel are notorious for their vendettas. Seedorf the lynchpin in so many champions League winning team did not lack discipline. He was rather constantly played out of position.

    And I still maintain that van dijk would have been in an Italian team years earlier if he had such nationality. Game is a few hours away. Huup oranje

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