The title young Oranje will confuse a bit, so I decided to leave the “young’ out of the title but despite my criticism on LVG, one has to admit that less than 12 months after the Euro 2012 debacle, we have a renewed, rejuvenated and exciting Oranje!
Against Estonia, we didn’t play great for a long spell but didn’t give anything away and scored three goals in an improved second half.
Against Romania, Oranje had flashes of brilliance again and Oranje clearly had its gloss back. Oranje’s best performance under Van Gaal.
Four goals and nothing conceded, nothing given away.
And one has to say: with a new young goalie (with Krul and Vorm and Stekelenburg all available as well) and a new, young but highly talented back four.
Blind, Janmaat, De Vrij and Martins Indi. Add Van Aanholt, Willems, Pieters, Buttner, Bruma, Van Rhijn and Van der Wiel to the mix and we have quite a nice little group to work with for defence.
And with Janmaat and Blind, we also have two players (like Willems, Van Aanholt, Buttner by the way) who can contribute massively in offence.
Janmaat was essential against Estonia and pretty impressive against Romania again. Playing with the confidence of a veteran.
Our midfield is improving too. The mediocre De Guzman and Strootman played a good match against Romania and it must be sweet for Van Gaal to know that whenever he brings Clasie, Maher or Fer, this team will not lose any quality.
Van der Vaart showed enough class to warrant a spot in the squad and his ability to score when we need a goal is something to cherish.
Van Persie and Robben are all class (when in top form or even when they’re not) while Lens is truly an asset whenever he decides to work hard and be focused.
Against Romania, we got the early goal and kept dominating. The 4-0 win was not a surprise, taking the run of play into account. Although we could have had 7 goals if Van Persie and Robben were a tad more sharp in the box and if the linesman wasn’t that eager to use his flag.
And I keep saying: Romania is certainly not a bad side.
So we struggle against teams that park the bus. We know this. Every team does. But we have shown a number of times now, that we can break open their defences if we are patient.
And against teams that leave more space and open up the game, we can play good football and outplay them.
Louis van Gaal must be really pleased.
The team was spirited, worked hard, there was great understanding between most of the lads and they looked like…well….a team.
Raf seems to enjoy his football, as does Robin van Persie. This is another RVP altogether. This is what playing with a number 10 in his back does for him. With Robben, it’s hard to say. His body language and facial expression are hard to read at times, but you read it here first: This team has a shot at the gold in 2014.
This squad, plus Sneijder, Afellay, Huntelaar, Narsingh, Pieters… Pretty strong!
Oranje took the second spot in the world record ranking of national teams without a loss. Mexico (1949-1957) has been overtaken.
Only West Germany is left. They won 16 games in a row in World Cup qualifications from 1969 to 1985. We can equal this record when we win the away game at Estonia and Andorra.
We play Hungary at home still and lastly Turkey away.
Start saving for the 2014 jersey people!!