Tag: Dzeko

Disappointing Oranje

As Oranje fans we had our fair share of defeats and disappointments. And our fair share of criticism for the coach. A new coach usually results in a little oomph, a motivational injection to give players the impetus to show themselves, to prove themselves.

At the same time, you’d expect the coach to take logical decisions. We missed that at times under Hiddink, Blind and Advocaat. Koeman brought common sense and realism back, both in tactics and in organisational aspects around the team.

Frank de Boer was supposed to follow the course Koeman set sail in. This is what the players requested. But in the first friendly vs Mexico it seems Frank likes to tinker to experience things for himself. The most useful friendly ever was an opportunity for Frank to test partnerships and see youngsters at work.

It showed us a couple of things: Wijndal is defensively not ready for the big games. Hateboer is great, in a 3-4-3 (or 5-3-2) system. Not as a defender in a back 4. Koopmeiners has everything to become a top international. Berghuis is the man in form.

Against Bosnia, it was a certainty that Blind and Dumfries would return into the team, but there was some hope that De Boer would use the more dynamic Van de Beek in his line up, instead of De Roon. And everyone expected Berghuis to start.

Sadly, De Boer decided to use De Roon as holding mid against a team that was known to sit back and play compact. De Roon had the most touches of the whole team (105+ or so) and you know you’re in trouble when that is the case.

Even more sadly, for some reason De Boer used Malen as a right winger (!) instead of Berghuis. Malen never played right on the wing at top level (maybe in his youth) while Berghuis is one of the few players in top form (with Luuk de Jong and Stefan de Vrij). Van Dijk is not 100%, Cillesen doesn’t play, Promes is terribly lacking confidence and form… the list goes on.

With Luuk de Jong up front you want to see crosses. It took 70 minutes for Frank de Boer to bring Steven Berghuis and with the Feyenoord captain in the team, Holland started to become more threatening.

Frank de Boer admitted after the game that he regretted not starting with Berghuis, which probably means the former Watford winger will start vs Italy.

De Boer rued the open chances we got. Bosnia wasn’t great either and did get a couple of opportunities (in particular when Dzeko came in in the second half) but Holland had a number of chances that really needed to be converted at this level. If you want to be top, you gotta score them. A free header for Stefan de Vrij. A shooting opp for Frenkie from an acute angle, Luuk de Jong’s header, the Frenkie opportunity after a probing run by Berghuis and a open chance for Babel after a great Frenkie move on the left.

Babel didn’t hit the target, and probably broke the corner flag in two.

At least one of those needed to be converted to get us the three points and the lead in the group (as Italy drew in Poland).

There were a lot of things we can pinpoint here. Low passing speed. Lack of creativity in build up. Lack of forward passing from the back. Lack of understanding between the players in the ax (Wijnaldum?) and highly disappointing performance by Quincy Promes.

But overall, I do blame Frank de Boer for this draw. It is not in my nature to blame the coach for one bad game, but I don’t understand why he played De Roon and not Van de Beek nor do I understand why Malen didn’t play from the left, with Berghuis on the right.

Against Italy, De Roon would have been needed (but he is suspended for that match). Now Frank needs to bring Donny (I suppose) and I can’t see him ignore Berghuis again.

Depending on fitness, I think we’ll see the same team, with Memphis for Luuk. I hope Malen will keep his place and Berghuis for Promes. Van de Beek for De Roon (with Wijnaldum next to Frenkie and Donny on #10).

But, it doesn’t matter who starts, if we don’t learn to read the game and spot the danger (like when Oranje played Italy at home and their left back thought he was having his birthday and Xmas on the same day!) versus Italy we will get hammered.

I hope Frank has learned from his screw up and gets this team to play to their potential. I think 1-3 again. Own goal De Vrij, and upfront Berghuis, Memphis and Van de Beek scoring.

And then, we lead the group again. As we like it.

Your thoughts??

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Frenkie: We are not top!

In the international break, there is simply not a lot of football news on the day of the match. So the biggest news was the footage of a 13 year old Shaqueel van Persie, scoring against Ajax with a wonderful bicycle kick. The game ended 8-3 for Feyenoord Under 15. Dad must be proud! His goal is below, at 2.55 it all starts for him.

Oranje needs to get a result tonight vs Bosnia Herzegovina to keep the place in the finals alive. Bosnia kept Italy at bay and will be a tough opponent for the Dutch. After two defeats in a row (Italy, Mexico), it seems Oranje may have lost it’s magic? Frenkie de Jong disagrees.

“The magic isn’t gone. But we are not the top in Europe. We are not the best at the moment, so much is clear. We can’t play dominant against every nation in every game and can win them all. But I see a difference between the defeats against Italy and the one against Mexico. Italy was a tough game, but you’re talking about a top football nation. The Mexico game was a friendly, with lots of changes and some debutants… That is simply different. We want to show the world the magic hasn’t left us when we play Bosnia.”

Memphis will not be playing due to suspension. Frank de Boer didn’t want to say who will replace him but did admit that playing Luuk de Jong was very likely. Bosnia has Edin Dzeko up front. The experienced AS Roma striker was part of the team that got beat by Northern Irland, kicking them out of the qualifications for the Euros.

“That can go two ways,” Frank said. “It could have been a blow they are still dealing with when playing us, or alternatively, it could be a huge motivation to make something out of the Nations League for them. They played well actually, with Dzeko the target man, playing well in terms of hold up play. They got the 1-0 and chances for 2-0 but they couldn’t play the long ball to Dzeko in the second half and their game suffered as a result.”

De Boer didn’t want to say who will be the goal keeper tomorrow, but did say that Cillesen was doing “amazingly well” at training. The coach worked with Cillesen before and considering that the back four will be used to working with the Valencia shot stopper, odds are in favour of Cillesen.

De Boer also said they have been able to train tactics for a spell. “As a coach you are working on all the scenarios in your head. That is a constant thing, I even do it when I’m in bed, about to sleep… We learned from the Mexico game, but even more so, we will have the fixed formation, more or less, so I am quite confident, we can find our flow.”

“Babel as goalie? Are you nuts??”

The question: who takes Memphis’ role is not just a question of “what name do we pick”. The replacement of Memphis points towards something deeper. In the past decades, Oranje used to have a multiple of players who would frighten the opponent. In 1974, we had Swart, Keizer, Cruyff, Rep, Rensenbrink, Theo de Jong, Willy van der Kuylen… In the 1980s, we had Kieft, Bosman, Van Basten, Gullit, Gillhaus, Vanenburg, Houtman… In the 1990s we had Bergkamp, Van Hooijdonk, Makaay, Kluivert, Hasselbaink and more recently Van Persie, Huntelaar, Robben, Van Nistelrooy, Van der Vaart… Goals galore!

Memphis had 11 goals and 11 assists under Koeman. He had twice as many shots on goal (91) as #2 and twice as many (61) created chances than #2, in 2,5 years.

We simply don’t have enough players that generate fear and terror in the opponent. Waking up and realising you’re playing against Robin van Persie or Klaas Jan Huntelaar will have scared any defender. I don’t think Luuk De Jong, Boadu or Malen have that effect.

The options: Luuk de Jong and Donyell Malen. Malen resembles Memphis more. He’s quick, tricked and he is explosive, with runs in behind. Downside: he was injured for a while and has been treated with velvet gloves by PSV. Luuk de Jong is a different type. Static. Good in hold up play, but needing support and options. And service! Berghuis and Stengs both have the skills to offer that service. By the way, at PSV Malen and Luuk did play together as well… Luuk as target man and Malen as a #10 circling him in a 4-4-1-1 set up. 60% of the Dutch people (who voted) voted for Luuk in the 9 position. 35% picked Malen and 5% said “someone else”… (?).

Holland is able to break a bleak record tonight. The last time Holland lost 3 matches in a row without scoring, was in 1950!

Let me know what you think will happen?

I think 1-3 for Oranje. Dzeko will get his goal, but Luuk de Jong, Van de Beek and Dumfries score for the Dutch.

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