I noticed I didn’t have a good feeling about the Poland win… Was it because I have that innate fear, that if you are too positive, you may jinx stuff? Is it to protect myself from more disappointments? Am I starting to think like some of the vinegar pissers here ;-)?
I think there is nothing wrong with Louis’ football vision but I simply don’t like the school teacher / uncle style he shows when working with his players… His condescending style of dealing with them? Like how he praised Frenkie de Jong at the presser after Poland, how Frenkie was able to make whole sentences? Or how he explained that Virgil doesn’t always do what the manager wants? The manager knows best, but Virgil is a human being who sometimes wants to do his own thing?
Or his disgusting way of talking down to the press, while the press are basically representing us, the fans, and our questions.
I do not buy into conspiracy theories, how Danny Blind has damaging photos of Louis van Gaal and his sexploits with Frans Hoek and how Danny blackmails the coach to put Daley in the team.
But I do believe Louis is creating this bubble of confidence, telling everyone how amazing the group is, how strong Van Dijk’s leadership is, and how innovative the penalty science will be and more of those amateur psychology moves, to build a better and stronger team than we actually are.
The Poland win was nice. We had some great moves. But we should have done way better! We owned the ball, we owned the pitch and we created two wonderful moves (goals) and that is it.
Everyone was happy, we will go to the Final Four, we might get a chance at the World Cup title, there will be room for Memphis and Frenkie and more of these positive soundbites.
I believe we will be beaten by Belgium and if all goes to shite, we might lose 0-4. The southerners are hellbent on revenge. They were humiliated and want to do this to us. They’ll come to Holland with knives between their teeth.
At te same time, we lose our two most influential players (sorry Virgil) and we will go into this match thinking we’re top notch. Which we simply aren’t.
Our keeper situation is messy. Which goalie feels the support of his coach? At the presser, yesterday, Louis said he was jealous of Belgium, with their goalie Courtois. Nice one Louis!
Our full backs are mediocre. Blind: top with the ball, weak without and not getting better. Dumfries: top when launched in space, weak when having to participate in the big rondo and weak in defending.
Our midfield only consists of one sure thing: Frenkie (who will not play of course). The other midfielders are all question marks. Koopmeiners (also absent) is top at Atalanta, still need to prove himself in the orange jersey. Berghuis? Hot and cold. Klaassen? Important in moments, invisible in most of the matches. De Roon? Invisible for most, tend to stop the flow of the moves. They are all fine squad players, but none of them jumps out as players you cannot omit.
We do have quality upfront, but the quality is injured (Lang, Danjuma, Malen) or were injured. Memphis and Bergwijn are currently the only two top class forwards. Janssen would not be the striker in Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Germany. Neither would Weghorst be. Brobbey would be the most likely candidate, but sadly, he lost his spot at Ajax. Gakpo might be a mainstay, he did well for Oranje versus Poland but I’ve also seen him disappointing in the orange jersey. Still a question mark…
It seems we’re always waiting for the next big thing. It used to be Ihattaren, now it’s Xavi Simons. He might well be our dark horse in Qatar, but I doubt it.
We don’t have a good record of following up good wins, with a good result in the following match. Now, I have not checked the stats, one of you might, but it feels to me that everytime we have a good game or a series of good games, we start to believe in ourselves a bit too much, and the next opponent needs to put us in our place.
Which means the players will go home with a defeat as their last match before the World Cup. In a way, this is the so-called “see them off” match (uitzwaai wedstrijd) and that will be a defeat. Not great to go into the World Cup with a loss behind your name.
Van Gaal will play up with his antics in the presser after the game. Probably blaming the press. Or Ronald Koeman. Or the absence of Frenkie and Memphis.
The players will play it down and blame the referee/pitch/aggressive Belgiums.
And it might be a good thing. It might be exactly what Louis and his boys need: a bit of a humiliation. A reality check.
To do well at the World Cup, it means doing well against a couple of these opponents: Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany, France – just to name a few. The Poland game is by no means a benchmark for these upcoming battles.
I think we’ll lose this 0-3. There will be finger pointing and chagrin after the match. Just the ingredients needed for this Dutch team to be to have to go out of their comfort zone and really battle to come back.