Tag: Krul

Oranje press conference Poland

Van Gaal’s pressers are usually interesting. He can be funny, over the top or very agitated.

Frenkie de Jong was with Louis, this time.

Frenkie, how did you manage the difficult transfer period, which was pretty intense?

“Well, I knew what I wanted myself. So I didn’t suffer much from all the mayhem. The media were constantly talking about it, but it wasn’t tough for me. Simply, I knew what I wanted. Sometimes the club wants something differently than the player, it’s a fact of life. I can deal with that. But I’m very happy that it went as it went, and I am playing again so, all good.”

Frenkie, what does lack of match rhythm for you?

“It’s more a physical thing, a strength thing I suppose. It’s not like you suddenly can’t play. It’s not a technical thing, but a physical thing. I am pretty fit and I think I have a good match rhythm. Maybe if you don’t play for months on end, you may lose some of the technical skills, but usually it’s not about that.”

What can you tell the defenders about Lewandowski?

“I don’t have to tell them any thing. Our defenders are very experienced and all top notch quality. They know exactly what to do and how to play a striker like Lewandowski. The key is that as a team we defend in such a way that he won’t get too many chances.”

The coach said you haven’t executed his tactical plan too well as yet. What is your opinion?

“I think so too, we have reached a good level in parts of the games, but we can definitely get to a higher level, and we need to work on this. I think the Belgium was good, the second half versus Germany too.”

And with this Frenkie left the presser to go back to the team activities.

Louis was very complimentary about Frenkie and in particular the way he handles interviews and media, in this particular case.

Louis, were you able to do all the things you want to do, in this busy week?

“Yes, of course. Football is key and priority and I made sure I was able to do what I wanted to do. The rest has been planned around it. The lads were very good, they are committed and they take responsibility. And the players understand that all these fringe things are also important. It’s not too distracting, because we mix it up. Only last night was the first night they were able to do something for themselves. And our team manager has been amazing with the planning, when to do the blood tests, when to try the new kit, when to see the dentist, etc etc. The penalty test results are not yet done so I can’t say much about this.”

How do you see this Poland versus the Poland we met in Rotterdam?

“Lewandowski. He is playing from the start and he wasn’t there in Rotterdam and he is the best striker in the world, so that is a true test. We scored enough, but we also conceded too many goals and with Lewandowski in their team, it will be key to work on that. We did an 11 v 11 match on training. We had the A team playing our so-called reserve team who played as Poland. It was a very good practice session, but sadly we didn’t score. But… we didn’t concede either. 0-0. But we should have won. By the way, that Szymanski midfielder, the Feyenoord player, he’s also special. I like him.”

There is a great hierarchy in this team, what does that mean exactly?

“Well, it’s a logical thing right? The older players are the leaders and the younger players follow. We don’t have young players rebelling against the older ones for instance. Players like Taylor and Rensch are youngsters and know their place.”

You said you wanted to work towards a firm starting eleven. How far away from this are you?

“That is not handy to say publicly, because I want to make sure all players will have a drive, a reason to ask 100% of themselves. And obviously, there are key players whom have performed always in Oranje, who are the pillars. I will not name their names, but you will know who they are.”

Louis, did you always believe penalties are trainable?

“Yes, I have always known this and still believe this. Sure, you cannot emulate the pressure of the moment or the sound in the stadium, but you can automate your kick. If you train the kick constantly there is a level of consistency you can work with. And also, we can teach the player how the opponent’s goalie can try and influence him and for them to try and overcome this.”

How do you compare this squad with the 2014 squad?

“I think this squad is better than the 2014 squad. That was more a transition team, with an older trio or quartet of older stars and a number of younger players, less tested. This team is more balanced in age, and in experience. We have players in top teams again and I think the fight in this team is better and the team dynamics are fantastic as well.”

Tim Krul will not be part of the World Cup squad. The Norwich goalie didn’t want to come to the penalty test day in Zeist, for whatever reason, and this decision means Van Gaal will not invite him to Qatar. Van Gaal understands the reasons Krul gave and is a bit disappointed in that, but he respects Krul’s decision. Van Gaal also conceded that interestingly enough, Krul has the best penalty killer stats.

Five Oranje players need to watch themselves for a second yellow card: Virgil van Dijk, Steven Berghuis, Steven Bergwijn, Frenkie de Jong and Teun Koopmeiners. After this group stage, the yellow cards will be scrapped.

With Wijnaldum not part of this squad, we see a huge gap between topscorer Memphis and the #2 goal scorer, Davy Klaassen.  Memphis has 42 goals, Klaassen has 9 goals!

38 year old Pasveer can become the second oldest debutant in Oranje, behind Sander Boschker who was 39 year old. Barry van Galen is then third and Henk Timmer (goalie as well) would be fourth.

Daley Blind will get close to 100 international games. If Oranje reaches the semi finals, we will probably have his 100rd cap. If he is rested one match, he might play the World Cup final in his 100rd cap for Oranje. He’s currently the most experienced Oranje player in the squad.

When LVG speaks of his key players, I think it is fair to say that Virgil van Dijk, Denzel Dumfries, Daley Blind, Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay are clearly in that little group.

I can imagine Jasper Cillesen and Steven Bergwijn will join that group and as he believes Koopmeiners is a bit like Van Gaal, I expect Teun also to be part of that elite circle.

For the Poland match, I think we’ll see:


Rensch – Timber – Van Dijk – Ake – Blind

Taylor – Frenkie – Koopmeiners

Memphis – Bergwijn

I expect us to play 2-2 versus Poland, with Memphis and Koopmeiners scoring.

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Do or Die for Oranje!

It seems Oranje is never able to do things the easy way! We either cruise through a tournament beating big nations only to crash land unexpectedly (1974, 1998, 2021 Euros) against lesser opponents or we find ourselves blocked in a thrilling “play off finals” we end up losing…. Ireland. Belgium. Russia. Sweden…

You will know me to be a positive minded Oranje fan and I like to protect our coaches and players, in particularly if they have had a good record for us all and made us cheer. I find that I can take that really far, at times. Kuyt, Nigel de Jong, Jordy Cruyff, Bogarde, Andre Ooijer, I really like and respect these guys. Now, I clap for Blind, I cheer for Berghuis and I support Koopmeiners.

But…. now the time has come to step up and earn all these credits, all that applause, the fancy cars and paychecks!

Norway is not France, Italy or Spain. Norway with Haaland is a bit like Portugal (with CR7) or Poland (with Lewandowski). Norway without Haaland is a bit like Austria, Ukraine, Ireland and we need to be able to beat them. With or without fans. With or without De Vrij.

There are no more excuses. Not even Van Gaal’s accident, when he crashed with his bike and hurt his hip severely. When he suggested to leave the camp, the players and staff pleaded with him to finish the job, bringing tears to the eyes of the veteran coach. Ah well… we can add that to the mix. Why not.

Van Loen forgets to mark George Grun

I think it’s sad that Bijlow isn’t fit, but Cillesen, Flekken or even Sergio Padt or Marco Bizot should do the job. Even if we concede goals, we simply need to score one more (or the same number actually).

De Vrij won’t be missed: we have De Ligt.

We simply need to show up. Focused. Fit. With courage, forward thrust and using our brain and common sense in the decision making. Playing simple and effective.

Van Gaal will not play around with systems and he will not change too many names on the team sheet.

Spanje with Malta goalie on their side: 12-1

You can expect two holding mids, this time. I wouldn’t be surprised if De Roon is on the bench or even in the team. Him or Wijnaldum next to Frenkie, allowing the Barca man to wander.

I don’t think Blind will be sacrificed. Van Gaal will trust his experience and his pride. The Ajax man wants to redeem himself. Using Malacia in a game like this might be just a tad too much pressure for the energetic youngster.

Bergwijn might start, although Van Gaal could also pick a player like Lang, provided he impresses Van Gaal on the training pitch.

Kluivert sick of it in 2001 v Ireland

Danjuma will start as left winger and Memphis as #9.

Koopmeiners will not get playing time, I don’t think and neither will Gravenberch.

I can even see Blind next to Frenkie and Nathan Ake as left back. It will depend on how Norway is set up and sadly, that is tough to know.

What will they do? They need to win this, so will they start overwhelmingly attacking? Or will they plan for 1 counter while parking two buses?

I know this blog is being read amongst the Oranje players (and staff) and I hope our message to them is clear enough:

It’s ok to F Up every now and then as long as you fix it!

Should Oranje fail to qualify for the World Cup Qatar, I will accept offers for this blog. I don’t think I can go through another World Cup, blogging without Oranje being part of it.

But, Norway is no Brazil or France. I think we’ll win this match 3-0. Memphis, Danjuma and Klaassen…

This is in Dutch, but you can use the subtitle option to let the bots translate…

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UPDATED: Oranje playing for 6 points

We have seen some lively discussions off late, about Berghuis, Lang and Danjuma. Keep the debate going, as I’m sure things will heat up even more, the closer we get to the World Cup!

This is the second to last international break re: WC qualifications and the only break that offers LVG some time to experiment, somewhat. He has 2 days more than normal and he has two relatively easy opponents to worry about.

We have seen freak results in the past (Faroer Islands!!) but surely we can beat Latvia and Gibraltar. With these six points on top of the current number, we are well positioned for the last series of games. Obviously, if Norway and Turkey drop points in this round themselves, life will be easier even.

In a disappointing press conference, LvG discussed the key talking points. I will mention them briefly as most of these have been debated already on this blog.

Here are some key points:

  • Danjuma – the media started to imply that LvG had been sleeping while Danjuma took the European football world by surprise with his dazzling turn v Man United in the CL.
    • “Really? Do you think we don’t have scouts? Do you think I don’t watch La Liga? Oh… well, I am very aware of him. And he is good player, but he made his transfer late in the window, he needed some time to settle and started on the bench. He now has some good games under his belt, that is excellent. And when he can keep this level up, yes, he will be part of the squad again. But this series of games came to early.”
  • Goal keepers – Flekken is now part of the squad, as the fourth goalie, while Cillesen is ignored. Rumours had it that the squad didn’t want Cillesen. That it’s a personality thing.
    • “I need to find the best keeper. And if my scouts tell me there is a 28 year old goalie in the Bundesliga who is all round, I need to check that out. He is a real Van Gaal goalie. Very good with his feet. So this is my chance to test him out and see him at work. Cillesen is not off the radar. He is a very good goalie and he only started playing again recently. He has had two games. Too early for a re-call.”
  • Berghuis – the Ajax player is impressing currently on the #10 position. Van Gaal won’t use him there.
    • “Berghuis was not a starter at Ajax. He was even benched. I played him in three matches which got him noticed in Ajax and he has me to thank for that. I have other options for the #10, and not a lot for right wing, so Berghuis is a right winger for me.”
  • Quincy Promes – the ex Ajax player who is under investigation due to a knife incident (now playing in Russia).
    • “Yes he can play for Oranje, yes on different spots and yes he did wel recently, but by rule, I will not select players who have these things going on in their private lives. It will be distracting. For him, for us, I get questions about it, and it’s not worth it for me.”

What was disappointing about the presser was Louis’ attitude towards the media.

He did this earlier on when talking about the players and the expectations for these two games.

When confronted with close to euphoric comments about how well the clubs played internationally, Louis used his vinegar tactics to put it all in perspective. You see, in the last international break, Louis was charming, warm and funny. He played the game and got the people behind him. Now, he needs to be careful for a too optimistic vibe and he is now using his bad-cop routine to piss everyone off, including the players.

“I have told Lang not to provoke or do things other than football. What he does at Brugge… he can not do this with me.”

“Do you think Dutch clubs perform well? Come on! Only Ajax plays at top level. PSV choked when they could get into the Champions League and failed. They are now in the Europa League, which is fine. But don’t tell me it’s top. It’s not. And the conference league? Really? Feyenoord, AZ and Vitesse are playing games against Punch and Daisy. Of course they perform well. Half of the clubs’ names I can’t even pronounce!”

He also explained how only Stefan de Vrij (of the players who played versus Turkey) won his match, last weekend. “None of the other players won their games. That goes to show that there is no place for complacency, or for arrogance. We will need to be top, also against Latvia and also against Gibraltar!”

This is typical Louis. Getting everybody sharp and on their toes. Bringing goalie Flekken is could well be part of the strategy to tell all his players: if I can find a better option than you, I’ll bring him in! And doing this to Bijlow is a safe strategy for Louis, as Justin won’t balk at Van Gaal. As opposed to a Van Dijk or Memphis who wouldn’t enjoy being treated this way.

Flekken on his feet

Now, Van Gaal extends his dramatic play acting and theatrics towards the media too and that is always pissing me off.

I mean, the press conferences are there for the media to ask questions ON BEHALF OF THE FOOTBALL FANS. They deserve a normal treatment and normal answers. But Louis uses the pressers to settle petty scores with journalists. The NOS (the main Dutch broadcaster) got his traditional “Are you the NT manager?? Or am I? Or do you make those decisions??”. Valentijn Driessen of De Telegraaf (the biggest daily in the country) “Ah you and your little paper…”….

It is becoming quite pathetic as the NT manager is the figure head of Dutch football, to treat the media – and thus the public – like this condescending way is not on. It’s typical Van Gaal.

Danjuma showing his number to his opponent

He has been experimenting a bit with Plan B as he called it. He doesn’t call it a new system, he calls it a tweak of the system, in case we need to force a goal. The solution isn’t hard to predict. At the training of yesterday, his booming voice was clear: “And then we bring Wout or we bring Luuk and then it is BOOM BOOM!”

Noa Lang was a popular player amongst the media. The mercurial forward has been seen as a prodigal talent for many years and now he’s part of the nation’s elite, after a really good spell at Brugge. “In all honesty, I expected the call last season already but I guess the coach was focusing on the squad for the Euros and I missed out. I’m so happy that I am part of it now. The coach did speak to me about not being provocative. I get that. But I told him that it is and always will be part of my game. I try to find the limits. And he understood that too.”

Yes Noa Lang is a character alright.

Frenkie de Jong had to deal with a lot of questions about Barca: ” It is not as bad as the media paint it. Really, it’s not. I mean, losing Messi was a blow and he is the kind of guy that always delivers. We will need to make do without him now and we also have at least 5 other first team players out. So it’s normal that we don’t perform at our best. Real and Atletico have only 2 points more than us, if we win our catch up match. And yes, I played right wing in a match, but that was really because we had no other options and there were chances for us on that side. I am convinced it will all come good. Ansu Fati is back and we will have Pedri again and I am also convinced I will improve more as will Memphis. It will end well, trust me.”

We may not see another post before the Latvia game.

But we will see an update :-).

The last presser before the game, Van Gaal confirmed that he is utterly impressed with Mathijs de Ligt who is working hard to restore his form.  “He has risen from the dark. He is so close to a starting spot, but he has to compete with De Vrij who happened to be the Man of the Match in the two previous matches.”

Van Gaal also mentioned Noa Lang and Mark Flekken. “They confirmed what we hoped for. Noa is a very creative player and we need that to break open opponents like Latvia. I can’t tell you if he’ll make minutes but I don’t see why not? Flekken appears to be an open positive lad. He’s good with his feet and he stops many shots. He has to improve off the line though. He needs to be better with crosses, that is what my current opinion is of him.”

And about skipper Virgil: “He is still not 100%. He played four whole matches with Liverpool and he’s on his way to full fitness. He is very close.”

Oranje is currently in Riga and the coach thought it was vital to train at the local stadium. “It’s always key to know where you’ll play. Get a feel for the place. De Kuip, Anfield, Camp Nou… amazing temples but all different. I need the players to experience this.”

Van Gaal watched and analysed some of the previous Latvia games. “We learned a lot and are well prepared. We have been working on our game plan and the dead ball situations. I hope you will be able to spot that.”

About the right wing role, Van Gaal said this: “Steven Bergwijn has told me he doesn’t want to play from the right. I think Berghuis is currently the only one we have, with Lang. And I think Quincy Promes can play there too.”

This is my line up (the one I think LvG would use… I think I would have included Karsdorp in my personal fave line up).




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Oranje needs monster score

Oranje is on the hunt against Gibraltar. It needs goals! “We need to make 5 at least, but if we can: as much as possible” says Frank de Boer. One big potential problem: players trying to force their way into the goal all by themselves. The last time Oranje was ruthless, was against San Marino: 11-0.

That match in 2011 was played exactly like it was supposed to: three goals in 20 minutes. The Oranje players got extra energy, while San Marino lost their last thread of confidence. Bert van Marwijk’s team wrote history that day.

Frank de Boer: “If we can play like we did vs Latvia I am sure we will score way more times than two. We need to score quick goals and we don’t want the opponent to be able to take a breath.”

The team manager used today’s practice session purely for finishing. Big goals and a match 11 v 11 and finishing. Players love that.

Gibraltar is the youngest member of the UEFA football family. They became a member in 2013. Their first international match ended in 0-0 vs Slovakia. They joined FIFA in 2016 and suffered a record loss v Belgium: 0-9. Gibraltar is the 195th nation in the ranking, in between Samoa and Bahamas. It’s the third match for them too after a loss vs Norway (0-3) and Montenegro (4-1). They might well be spent, mentally and physically.

De Boer: “They did rotate. I do expect a fresh team. They will want to show themselves against us, we’re considered a big opponent.”

De Boer will most likely play the same team as against Latvia, with Luuk de Jong as the deepest striker. With enough goals in the team, like Memphis, Wijnaldum, Klaassen and Berghuis. Even Frenkie de Jong is scoring more at Barca than ever. “Ronald Koeman has been working on this with me. Scoring is a mindset. I was never focused on it, I was always trying to find the assist, but now I do get more in front of goal. But in Oranje, it’s different, I’m not in that role. When I chase goals in Oranje, it will not be beneficial for the team,” Frenkie said.

De Jong mentions a potential pitfall. Memphis in particular, like Berghuis can have the tendency to want to score every time he has the ball. “It’s important to find a balance, but I’m not concerned. Attackers want to score. That is natural.”

De Jing was far from pleased with his own performance. “I wasn’t great vs Turkey. It was not good. I wasn’t present, not dominant and sloppy. I don’t think I added anything. But against Latvia it was ok. Maybe not outstanding, but good enough, at least.”

Ruud van Nistelrooy was added to the technical staff in this international break and the former super striker of PSV, Man United and Oranje has his hands full. Frank de Boer: “Ruud is a natural. And he has been working with the lads after Latvia, to go through all these missed opportunities. Ruud has a unique way of approaching things and he sees situations a certain way. He’s enthusiastic and highly committed. He can teach the forwards a lot.”

During the last training session, the Oranje internationals had a lot of fun. Matthijs de Ligt copped a ball right in the crown jewels and amongst footballers, that is reason for a big laugh. Frenkie got the question: “How is Matthijs?”. He first said something like “I don’t know, why?” And then… “Ah, yes yes, he got a ball on the balls, so to speak, hahaha. He will be fine, I’m sure.”

There is a clip where Stekelenburg and Bergwijn are having a lot of fun when the Juve defender is clutching his manhood.

I think the Gibraltar team won’t be a rock and Holland will score 8 times, this match. I can see Luuk get a hat trick, Memphis 2 goals, Berghuis 1, Klaassen 1 and Dumfries one.

Overall, a one-sided match. 3 point, mucho goals and no injuries would be the maximum result!

Young Oranje will beat Hungary and Germany will win their game. Oranje to progress.

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Strong Oranje forgets to score more

The media were all about “De Boer has dreadful record” and “no coach didn’t win one match in his first five” etc etc. I don’t think these stats are really meaningful. You play a lousy friendly in a time when players need rest. You lose one. You draw away vs Bosnia. Not great. You draw away vs Italy with different system and get compliments, but not the 3 points. Can happen. And then you play another friendly vs Spain (top class team) and you draw. That is fine, in my book. We need to judge Frank on his last games (finals? Euros? World Cup???). Not his first.

And now we have the win, vs Bosnia Herzegovina and we scored 3 goals and we played pretty good (with the ball) while there are still things to fix without the ball. And with the fact that Van Dijk and De Ligt were missing in the center of defence, I think it’s not strange that we allowed them to cut through our last line.

De Boer came into the mix when Koeman left unexpectedly. The Federation took its time to find a replacement, and when they did Frank had 1) limited time to find his way, 2) was told to “follow the Koeman line” and 3) wasn’t able to bring his own assistant in.

These last two clauses would normally be reasons for a guy like him (or Ten Cate or Van Gaal) to say: forget about it!

But Frank is not in a position to be selective, with jobs, so he went for it.

And he didn’t stick to the Koeman line for long, and he shouldn’t. Koeman left. Bye Koeman. And now it’s the De Boer line.

And he impressed me already and against Bosnia Herzegovina I think the players demonstrated that they like his approach.

Memphis “lost” his spot as leader of the forward line and the media gambled on a potential clash between the former star and the current star. But no! Memphis is happy to play anywhere. He is able to play from the left with Luuk de Jong as striker, as they did for a while together at PSV.

Against Bosnia, Memphis ruled the show. He was the Man of the Match and constantly threatening, capping it off with a good goal. Memphis is simply not a guy to use in a friendly.

Skipper Wijnaldum rose the occasion to with two goals and an almost hatttrick. Luuk de Jong should have had his goal too, if the linesman would have done his job, which would also have meant: 2 assists for Berghuis.

Dumfries played again and he got his assists too, and demonstrated again that 1) he’s not the best right back ever, but 2) he’s definitely better than Hateboer.

Frenkie de Jong enjoyed his game as well and Owen Wijndal again showed that we mist likely won’t have a lot of issues on the left full back spot. Van Aanholt has a couple of years in him still, Haps and Malacia at Feyenoord are knocking on the door and if need be Blind or Ake can play there as well.

Frank de Boer was relieved after the game and had high praise for his team. He also saw some elements that needed attention: “We played in a high pace and we moved a lot. They had issues with this. Usually, we start too slow and have to fight our way into the match. We were adamant, as staff, that the team started at full throttle. And we did. 20 to 25 minutes of sixth gear football, resulting in 2 goals.”

De Boer also stressed that playing opportunistic is not considered dirty. “We want to play neat football, with passes from behind, but at times, you need to play the long ball. We have speed up front in Memphis or Berghuis or even Wijndal and Dumfries! Use it, I said. I was happy to see this on the pitch. We do have to do better in certain areas though: I think we should have scored at least 3 more. We had the opportunities and were a tad too complacent at times. We also gave away space. At one point, Frenkie made a pirouette and was fouled. He started to talk to the ref, while the Bosnians sprinted away from him and Dumfries got into trouble. That can’t happen.”

A last word on Memphis: “There was some talk that he wouldn’t be happy playing from the left wing, well… you saw him play. I think he did ok. That little flick with the outside of his left, that shows you that Memphis is feeling good in this system. He is multi functional. Memphis can play anywhere, really.”

De Boer is right. Memphis starts as left winger on the team sheet, but has a free role. Luuk de Jong’s disallowed goal is a perfect example. Memphis is all the way on the right, allowing Berghuis to vacate his spot and make a dart in behind. Memphis pass is perfect and the Feyenoord winger only needs to square the ball to the Seville striker…

Steven Berghuis played another solid match, with one assist officially (and two for real). The Feyenoord winger had 8 shots on goal, the most, but hasn’t been able to register a goal in this 19 international games. For a player like him, club topscorer for the third season in a row, that is not much. “I was quite angry, actually. I had two major opportunities to score and didn’t. And I am not specifically looking to score but when I end up in the one on one with the goalie, it has to count. We do a lot of things well and I do get into the dangerous positions, all it takes now, is to pull the trigger and score!”

Expect an analysis on Berghuis, who seems to be competing for the right winger spot with Steven Berghuis and Frank de Boer’s son-in-law (yep, another one of those) Calvin Stengs.

So now, we are playing with two full backs who push up high, four creative players in attack and an offensive mid midfielder in Frenkie… This gives us a lot of creativity, but makes us also vulnerable as the photo below shows. Blind will never reach the ball. Dumfries will be too late. De Vrij is exposed and Wijndal is completely out of position… This will not end well when we play against a better opponent.

Ex Oranje legend Willem van Hanegem did have some sobering words to offer… Willem believes our team is doing ok against opponents like Bosnia who didn’t really come to make it hard on us. Once we play vs stronger opponents, the full backs need to be way more disciplined. Van Hanegem also felt that the praise for Wijndal (and Dumfries) is a bit presumptuous. Yes, Dumfries had two assists, but was vulnerable at the back, like Wijndal. On top of that, Wijndal’s crosses were poor. Vs Spain, he hit more opponents than team mates and vs Bosnia it wasn’t much better. Lastly, Willem agrees with me, that Luuk de Jong should be used as pinch hitter against the stronger clubs as he is too limited to play against the big boys. Like Willem, I too like to see more of Donyell Malen and Mo Ihattaren, who are two potential world class prospects. Luuk de Jong is not that. Neither is Babel or even Promes.

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Oranje fans: e-unite!

Hi all, this is our safe space. This is where we can hang out all of us, safely, without fear of contamination. I mean, COVID19 contamination of course. Because we do have some other viruses going around here, which hopefully are not contagious… The Kuyt-is-bad-virus. The Daley-Blind-Is-In-Oranje-because-his-dad-used-to-be-virus. More dangerous than Corona, of course.

Enough jokes! I hope everyone is well? Safe? At home with family? And taking care of business!

I read that this virus has the most dramatic impact on men!! No more football, no more pub crawls, no more music events or partying, while women can still do what they do: cooking, ironing, vacuum cleaning, laundry… It’s not fair!


Let me know how you are all going, below in the comments. There is still a lot of fun for us Oranje fans. Youtube is filled with super dooper clips. And we have this blog of course…

The news will come to you faster via other channels, so I won’t even try to be bringing you scoops.

But we do need to talk Euro tournament and the impact of the virus.

So I think common sense prevailed, we will not have the Euros this summer. A big bummer for most, but the Dutch will probably count their chickens… Memphis, Malen, Bergwijn… And more time for Zirkzee and Karsdorp and Wijndal and Boadu… It’s not that bad.

I do hope the competitions will be finalised properly and I hope this particularly for Liverpool!

I’m not going to go into conspiracy theories here or what this whole panic pandemonium means, there are heaps of comments and posts on social media and tweets and what not to deal with this.

So, we’ll keep our eye on the ball here, as far as I am concerned.

There is stuff to read, this blog to get with and start interacting more often, there are amazing youtube clips and classic games to enjoy too.

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 19: A general view (GV) of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as Davinson Sanchez of Tottenham and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris clear up toilet paper thrown on the pitch by the Leipzig fans during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and RB Leipzig at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on February 19, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Tell me below how you guys get through all this.

I’ll start:

I’m working from home, in a remote little beach town in Australia. Life is going as per usual, with the exception of the availability of toilet paper!

I spend more time watching movies, as opposed to watching football and I probably hit the sack earlier. I can freely check the sports sites without the risk of seeing a final score of a game I have yet to watch.

I’m intrigued by this whole global shit show and focus – as an amateur anthropologist – on that, on American politics and other geo-political stuff.

We are not stocking food and supplies but take it all as it comes.

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Oranje’s future…

What a year we had… With Ajax in last CL season and with Oranje… first in the Nations League and of course in our Euro qualification matches… We have seen Frenkie and Mathijs go to the big leagues, we saw Chong and Zirkzee making waves, the likes of Tete and El Ghazi making good on their promise and AZ impressing domestically and internationally… But we also saw Ajax being shafted by the VAR this last half year, Mathijs sidelined at Juve, we saw Daley Blind going to grass and Memphis and Malen with serious injuries…

Lets look at what this all means.

Memphis and Malen

I think we need to be realistic. We shouldn’t count on them for the Euros. Donyell Malen, maybe. He might be back in April or May and right in time to make a Marco-Van-Basten-style return… Memphis is probably sidelined until next season and it might be best for him – and therefore, for Oranje – when he focuses on 2022, in Qatar. The question is not: can they be fit in time, but: would it be wise for them to even try….

Memphis working hard

Donyell Malen in Florida

Daley Blind

It’s really vague what’s going on. Ajax doesn’t tell us a lot. “Insurance policy and privacy of the player”. Daley himself is optimistic on his Insta-feed but he didn’t travel to Qatar and we haven’t had any serious updates. His loss will be felt, should he not be able to get back to his old level, both at Ajax and at Oranje. His leadership, his passing, his sense of positioning… I don’t think we can find a player in the squad who can offer what he has to give. Let’s wait and see.

Mathijs de Ligt

I don’t think him not playing for a spell would be a serious problem. We’ve seen that his Turkish rival also got injured. It would sense if Sarri will sign another centre back in this transfer window but despite that: Mathijs will get his minutes. He is still highly regarded and he had a pretty amazing late block in the match vs Roma. He and his team mates cheered the interception as if he had scored. He’ll be fine.

So when we take into account the incredible development of the likes of Boadu, Stengs, Wijndal, Koopmeiners, Ihattaren, Gakpo and the fact that we have Ake, De Vrij, Vincent Janssen, Jetro Willems, Tete, Weghorst, Wijnaldum, De Roon, Propper, Van de Beek and many others in the wings, I don’t think we need to worry too much.

Willems staying longer at Newcastle

However… replacing Memphis, who was so important for us, will not be easy. His work rate, his showmanship, his leadership and personality, his free kicks, corners and crosses, his important goals (even when he plays like shite all day, he’ll score you the winner)… I can see several players doing what he can do, partially. Babel can work his arse off. Stengs can score goals and dribble. Promes or Berghuis can hit a free kick, Weghorst can hassle, but there is not one player who has it all. Like Memphis.

So what are the options for Ronald Koeman?

Like I said, he can opt to replace Memphis for another player. Some say Babel. Others want to see Weghorst. Another group yells Boadu. Promes also played centre striker at Spartak…they’re all good options. But I want to propose a different one. Also taking into account that we might miss Blind as well.

Memphis: “I’ll tell Koeman that you should replace me!”

I would opt for a 3-4-3.

Playing three at the back:

De Ligt – De Vrij – Van Dijk

With a four man midfield, with Blind on the left (when fit). Or alternatively, Van Aanholt or Wijndal.

On the right hand side, I really hope for Tete or Rick Karsdorp. But Hateboer or Dumfries are decent alternatives. Not great. But decent.

Frenkie on the left inside, with Van de Beek next to Frenkie.

Then three players up top. Promes with Wijnaldum as false striker and Bergwijn or Stengs on the right.

Obviously Cillesen or Krul as the goal keeper (depending on the rhythm of Cillesen, who lost his spot briefly).

With this tactics, I don’t think we’ll have to worry too much defensively. When the opponent plays with three forwards, Daley can drop back and help the back three. But most opponents will play with one striker or two strikers, these days. The centre backs are all good build up passers, and De Ligt can easily move into midfield when the opportunity is there.

Blind can act as a playmaking midfielder alongside Frenkie, allowing Frenkie to roam while static Blind keeps his position. When Frenkie stays put, Donny van de Beek can make penetrating runs, with De Ligt covering. Obviously, the communication between Van de Beek, Tete and De Ligt needs to be top.

Tete, Karsdorp or Dumfries can make marauding runs on the right, allowing for Bergwijn/Stengs to dart inside to support Wijnaldum or even take the #9 role when Gini drops off. This also allows Van de Beek to penetrate into the box as well, and like with Ajax, Oranje will become a Total Football team with players constantly moving in and out of position.

We’ll have length enough with set-pieces. Wijnaldum is a good header of the ball, as are De Ligt, De Vrij and Van Dijk.

We’ll have more than enough legs and penetration, with Donny, Gini, Bergwijn and Tete/Karsdorp/Dumfries.

We’ll have enough football guile and intelligence, with Frenkie, Blind, Promes and Wijnaldum.

And we have goals! Bergwijn, Promes, Wijnaldum, Van de Beek…all good goal scorers.

And should Daley- God Forbid- not make it, I think Wijndal or Willems will offer the footballing skills we need on the left, although Koeman could also opt for the legs and the opportunistic play of Van Aanholt… Even Tonnie Vilhena is an option for that role, should Wijndal or Willems not cut it, for whatever reason.

This would be my line up.

With Ihattaren as the first sub from the bench, being able to play playmaker (even in Frenkie’s role) or as false striker in the Wijnaldum role.

And Weghorst for if we need a pinch hitter.

Boadu would also be in my squad.

My 23

Cillesen – Krul – Bizot

Tete – Karsdorp – De Ligt – De Vrij – Van Dijk – Blind – Ake – Wijndal

Propper – Van de Beek – Frenkie de Jong – Wijnaldum – Ihattaren – Marten de Roon

Stengs – Boadu – Weghorst – Bergwijn – Promes – Babel

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Oranje 2016 in six stories….

March 2016: Oranje built on quicksand

This was supposed to be the year of Oranje’s renovation. France was the first opponent. The media was devastating after the 3-2 loss in the friendly against the Euro’s hosts: “In the first half, team manager Blind opted for the 5-3-2 and everything that could go wrong went wrong. Whenever Oranje lost possession the spaces between the lines were so huge that pressure on the ball was failing all the time. In the turn around, Oranje was constantly second best, while in possession Oranje seemed clueless. In the break, Blind returned to 4-3-3 and got Oranje some honour back and we even created a couple of decent attacks.”

This inconsistency in tactics resulted in the conclusion that Oranje was devoid of ideas even after 6 international games under Danny Blind. “This international week was supposed to be the symbol of a new phase of hope and opportunity, but this game versus France demonstrated our weaknesses to the max. The framework is gone, mediocrity rules and we will be confronted with this for weeks if not months to come.”
Typerend beeld voor de oefenwedstrijd van het Nederlands elftal tegen Frankrijk.

Typical shot from the France friendly

The final conclusion was that Oranje hadn’t learned a thing from the friendly vs France. And the media asked questions. “In the recent months, the 5-3-2 system was declared holy for the future. Is that still the case if the players aren’t able to execute it? Are we playing with 4 or 5 at the back? No player can answer it and clearly the team manager doesn’t know either. Cruyff’s motto – stick to what you know and improve on your own identity – offers some handles for the future. If not, than using terms as building is a courageous and ambitious thing, but know you are building on quicksand.”

On the day the media presented this analysis, Blind decided to forget the 5-3-2. In a 4-3-3 Oranje got a strong victory over England on Wembley, which gave new hope. Striker Vincent Janssen became the new symbol. As Van Persie was still absent, the AZ striker became the new leader of the line.

May 2016: ‘I will never say no to Oranje’

At the end of the season, Oranje continues the new look with three friendlies against Euro participants. A draw away against Ireland (1-1), a win in Poland (1-2) and a win in Austria (0-2) are the result and Klaas Jan Huntelaar watches the game from his sofa in the living room. The 33 year old Schalke striker gives an interview. One of the topics: his refusal to come on as a sub against England. “I always want to play and I don’t mind coming on as a sub, but I couldn’t do it for two minutes. I was sitting on the bench all the time and hadn’t had a warm up. Other lads were doing their warm up. Danny needed a player to help out in the last minutes and disturb England’s flow. The risk was simply too big for me to come on cold. I’m 33 years old now, I’m not 21 anymore. I couldn’t take the risk for myself and for Schalke. So I said: “Use one of them. It’s fun for them, so they can add a cap to their name.”

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar traint met Oranje op Wembley. Tot een invalbeurt in het legendarische stadion komt het niet, op zijn eigen verzoek.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar training on Wembley. He won’t play that night. At his own request.

People feared Huntelaar had enough of his cameo role and might even close the door on Oranje. “Ha! People who say this don’t know me. I will never close the door. Sure, I had my tough time in Orange but I’d never walk away. I am not bigger than the National Team. No player is. It’s always a joy to be there. The feel, the national anthem, the fans, that is what drives me. My sharpness is a result of this. I am really touched, every time I play for Oranje.”

But those three friendlies in May/June were too much for Huntelaar. “We are now sparring partner for nations that did make it to the Euros. No player enjoys those games. You are not the focal point. You are not playing for anything. That is tough. It’s an open wound for me, not qualifying. I’ll watch some of it, sure, but I’ll be happy when the Euros are over.”

July 2016:  Dick Advocaat supports Danny Blind 

Oranje’s good results in May and June coincide with Dick Advocaat’s role as new assistant. The veteran coach will take the role of Ruud van Nistelrooy for the WC campaign. “Danny called me and it didn’t take a lot for me to say yes!”.

Advocaat speaks highly of Blind: “His approach, his tactical talks, the way he informs the players about the opponent, that is truly professional. He’s strong verbally and has a natural dominance of the team. As an assistant, you always hear what players think or feel about the coach or the vibe in the team and the players didn’t complain or had anything negative to say. It’s a motivated group, ready for a new start. I played with Blind (at Sparta) but never experienced him as a coach. Some people are really negative about him… I don’t get that at all.”

Wil de échte bondscoach opstaan? Dick Advocaat neemt de coaching op zich in de oefenwedstrijd tegen Ierland.

Assistant coach Advocaat the most animated. Friendly vs Ireland

But the alert reader knew this might not be for the long haul. “I do have a clause in my contract. I want to help Oranje, but if a dream club comes I want to be able to go. If a club wants to sign me, I can go just like that. There’s always offers from Russia, Belgium could be an option.”

In September, Dick got a call and decided on the spot. Fenerbahce called and he packed his bags. Additional mayhem for Oranje, as Marco van Basten left for a cushion job at FIFA.

July 2016: ‘One of our best is ridiculed as a clown” 

The continuing troubles re: Oranje’s technical staff results in a lot of criticism for the new technical director Hans van Breukelen. Former PSV and Oranje goalie Ronald Waterreus gets more and more agitated and supports De Breuk in an article: “I read that Advocaat has a clause in his contract, allowing him to jump a passing train, should this happen. That is something Hans would never do. He commets, with passion, and wants to do his job. And I am convinced he will.”
Hans van Breukelen krijgt veel kritiek als technisch directeur van de KNVB, maar VI-columnist Ronald Waterreus vindt dat onterecht.

Waterreus is angry about a column by satire writer Dijkshoorn, who ridiculed Van Breukelen. “Criticism is fine, but focus on someone’s plans or actions or results. But no, Dijkshoorn tries to make a fool of one our greatest goalies ever. Without any foundation. Turning him into some clown. Dijkshoorn probably never even met Hans. He usually speaks in his columns about scared deers, but I think he is one himself. He is able to be really funny and critical sitting behind his typewriter (sic), but whenever he is on TV in the studio, he is always showering people with compliments. I have 1000 times more respect for Van Breukelen. If he doesn’t let the people around him get under his skin, Hans will lead us to the World Cup.”

 September 2016: ‘Oranje is your annoying friend’

The Dutch team starts the new season with a friendly against Greece. Another nation that didn’t make it to the Euros. And loses at home 1-2. The media: “I think we all had a friend like this. One who would tell you that they hadn’t even start studying yet, the day before the exams. Or who would tell you after the exam that they failed miserable, only to have scored straight As. And you actually didn’t do well at all, because you actually started studying too late. That is exactly what Oranje is doing now. I feel it. It has to be. Holland is the annoying friend. Because how else can a nation who finished third of the world in 2014 suddenly be number 26?? We don’t make it to the Euros and then we lose against Fucking Greece!! It has to be this.”

Griekenland juicht, het Nederlands elftal treurt.

Greece celebrates, Holland in despair

“So, at the start of this WC campaign, we are the Loser Nation of the Football World. And that is the plan, the whole set up. Sweden and France already book tickets for Russia and relax. And they will pay for it.”

But the flying WC campaign start doesn’t happen. Holland is stuck on a draw (1-1) in Sweden. We do win 4-1 versus Belarus but France is again too strong in Amsterdam (0-1). These results mean we’ll have to focus on becoming second in the group.

November 2016: ‘I would have gone crazy’

The year of re-emergence of Dutch football ended with a 1-1 draw vs Belgium and a 3-1 win over Luxembourg. This last win was not a really smooth one. Pierre van Hooijdonk: “It was quite clear what kind of circumstances we’d face, but somehow Danny Blind took the toughest road to victory.”

The way Bas Dost, the Oranje striker, was used annoyed Van Hooijdonk to the hilt. “Dost has had one decent ball to his head. One! From Bruma, in the second half. As a striker, I would explode with anger. With this tactic, Blind could have put Ramselaar in the striker role or any other player who can pass and move.”

Tot ergernis van Pierre van Hooijdonk werd Bas Dost tegen Luxemburg nauwelijks op maat bediend.

Bas Dost vs Luxembourg, never a decent cross

The conclusion of the former Uefa Cup winner was that Oranje is still getting used to this new reality. “The 1-1 in Sweden was unnecessary. Unlucky. But upfront, a draw would have been logical. And to lose against France, based on the differences of quality was also not a surprise. I have gotten used to the fact we are currently not world class. The number of top players is getting lower and lower but also the quality depth is going down fast. Despite that, we’re still in it. We’re second in the goup after a period of injuries (Robben, Strootman, Vlaar, Van Persie, De Vrij) and changes in the staff. If they are able to remain second in the group, it would actually be a top result.”

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Derby of Lowlands insignificant: Oranje weakened…

The ones who have been with me and the blog for years know my stance on friendlies. I don’t like them.

I have told you many times why. Won’t go into too much detail. But this Belgium derby appears to be horrible in timing. We are lacking many players, probably will play a starting eleven (vs Luxembourg, the game that counts) that never played together before.

A coach would want to be able to use the days prior to the big game (Luxembourg!!) to practice. Get the players working together, bond, discuss tactics and roles. Instead of taking on a much stronger Belgium in a friendly. We all know what can happen. Belgium could tear us apart. They are better. As a team, most likely. Individually, surely. And as per usual, they have that inferiority complex and will want to beat us.

So in that scenario, say we lose 0-4, we need to shrug that off before the Luxembourg game. Media will hassle us, fans will ask questions and players might lose more confidence.

It’s also likely that Belgium will turn it into a real match. Which might lead to injuries.

All in all, not great. Or, our players might feel compelled to take the game to Belgium. Which might result in an ok result (0-0) or a great result – a win – but it doesn’t mean shit and we might end up with fatigue in the Luxembourg match.

line ups

And all of this, only for commercial reasons. For the KNVB to make money. As if they need it.

Danny Blind will not say it publically, but he will not be amused with the timing of this prestigious friendly.

Playing Luxembourg in a tough phase in the season is not so bad. Even if the first 22 are injured and we’d need to play Fosu Mensah, Nouri, El Ghazi, Toornstra, Denswil, Babel and Pieters, we’d still win it. Or we still should win it.

This Belgium game can be disruptive though.

Against Belgium, I don’t care who Blind uses. It will be for him to decide which player he wants to see (Zegelaar? Schaars? Lens?) and which to rest (Sneijder? Van Dijk?). We do have a number of players who are rested nicely. Daley, Wijnaldum, Janssen, Clasie…they all have had games off in the last month, so that’s not that bad.

Most will play with something to prove, but again: it might work against us.

Danny Blind remains the master strategist, who can always see positives. “The game does count for me. Winning vs Belgium means we improve our ranking. This might be key in the World Cup draw. So we will take the game seriously.”

vdijk bruma

Arjen Robben is keen to come (and play) but Bayern will only allow Arjen to sit on the stands for the Belgium game. I’m good with that. We need one moment of magic from him vs Luxembourg. Should we lead 2-0, I think Danny needs to sub him. No risk. Although, goal difference might become important in our group, so maybe he needs to keep him on.

The meeting with Belgium four years ago was Louis van Gaal’s first as Oranje coach in his second term, Oranje lost 4-2. Belgium is ranked #4 in the world, a whopping 16 spots higher than the Netherlands…

Maarten Stekelenburg will be on the team sheet, I’m sure. Cillesen lacks rhythm and so does Vorm. Stekelenburg had a screamer of a game vs Man City but made mistakes vs Chelsea and France, but overall he’s still a top goalie.

The match vs Belgium back then was Maarten’s last in Oranje, as Van Gaal picked Krul after the game. Due to the current Ajax’ goalie’s injury, Stekelenburg was offered two more games between the sticks and then it was all over. “I never watched Oranje at the WC2014. Too hard for me to watch. I should have been there.”

Back then, Van Gaal allowed De Vrij and Martins Indi their debut, while it was the last game of Sneijder and Van der Vaart together in midfield.

stekel pen

Stekelenburg came back from a dark phase in his career. “I can still have a bad day, like vs Chelsea… I had to do better on 2 goals. And yes France… I know. But I don’t panick anymore after a bad day. I spit in my hands and go on. The worst period I had was under Magath at Fulham. I didn’t even get a jersey number… Now, I can focus on my next game coming weekend and that is the best thing to do to shrug off mistakes.”

Stekelenburg knows he is not yet the Oranje #1. “Danny hasn’t said it to me or any of the other goalies. The situation is a bit fuzzy now with the injuries (Zoet, Krul, Vermeer) and Jasper’s position at Barca. But, I’m 35 years old at the WC2018, which is a good age for a goalie. The team is getting younger so an experienced goalie might be a plus.”

In 1999, Frank Rijkaard managed a Dutch side in a friendly vs Belgium which ended in a famous 5-5. Saw some amazing goals in that game….

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Oranje getting ready for World Cup 2018!

The first two games in the Eredivisie are behind us and the EPL has commenced while the more Southern nations will start their competitions shortly.

Too early to tell where we are, but that is international football these days. Some teams have been playing CL qualification games already and the national teams are gearing up to start their World Cup qualification games.

First, a friendly. And then Sweden awaits. Sans Zlatan of course.

Rafael van der Vaart of the Netherlands, center, is challenged by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ola Toivonen, and Pontus Wernbloom of Sweden during their Euro 2012 Group E qualifying soccer match at ArenA stadium in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Tuesday Oct. 12, 2010. The Dutch won the match with a 4-1 score. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Rafael van der Vaart, center, is challenged by Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The transfer window is still open and as long as that’s the case, all is still in flux. What’s going to happen with Janmaat? Memphis? Siem de Jong? To name a few. And Sneijder? Van Persie, how are these guys doing?

It is very positive to see some moves made by the young and up & coming. Vincent Janssen impressing on his EPL debut, almost scoring even. If not for man of the match Stelelenburg. Wijnaldum had a good second half versus Arsenal and an assist. But at the same time, no minutes for Clasie and an annoying hamstring injury for De Roon…

The news from the Eredivisie is not too depressing though. Feyenoord started well, with Vilhena, Elia and Berghuis impressing, while young left back Woudenberg presents himself as a potential mainstay for the club from Rotterdam.

Davy Propper is still making steps and might well be too good for Holland very soon. The move of Ramselaar to PSV is a good one, of course just like Siem de Jong reuniting with brother Luuk will make the Dutch competition more interesting.

de roon injured

De Roon injured in his first EPL match

At Ajax, Riedewald is back at full fitness and playing well, while Klaassen and Bazoer can be seen as surefire Dutch internationals. Even Daley Sinkgraven, hugely talented but underwhelming in his first period at Ajax made the headlines.

As it stands, against Sweden – not too difficult one might say – I think we should be able to get the result we need, even without Sneijder and Robben.

I won’t go into systems so much, but if we actually want to play to our strengths, I think we need to field Promes and Janssen up front. Elia might have been a sure bet but he’s out with a shoulder injury, while Memphis is most likely not match fit (and lacking form).

Both Janssen and Promes like to drift and Promes should play from the right, as you right back options (Tete, Veltman) are not the natural channel runners. Dijks is an option of course but he hasn’t really played a string of games at his new club so this game might be a tad too early for him.

elia finger

Elia, here with his broken finger, out with shoulder injury

In midfield, Strootman is a fixed starter on the left, with Bazoer sitting deep in the holding role. I’d play Propper on the right with Wijnaldum in the #10 position behind Janssen. Their link up play should be enough for us to transform the 4-4-2 into a 3-4-3.

As I would field Willems any day, he can use the open left flank for his rushes forward. Bruma, Bazoer (as holding mid) and Tete can cover defense while center back Blind can move into midfield Danny-style to support the build up play. Bruma and Tete and Willems have the speed to cover the space behind us and with players like Blind, Bazoer, Propper and Strootman our passing capabilities should be more than enough. I have faith in Janssen and Wijnaldum and Promes to be on the receiving end of those balls, to put a couple away. That’s how I would do it. 3-0 win over Sweden. Thank you. Next.

I do believe there will be a place for Sneijder and most certainly Robben in the team, given that they do become fit. Robben for Promes of course. Sneijder might have to get used to a bench role, with a more prominent part for him in games where we will have to sit a bit deeper and play more compact. His legs won’t allow him to play in our new modern style but versus France or strong opponents at the WC2018, he might still have a role to play.

riedewald ajax

Impressive center back Riedewald

Huntelaar, for me, is a good option on the bench (if he can handle it).

Vilhena is a good understudy for Strootman. Good duellng power, great legs and magic in that left foot. Klaassen can play in the Wijnaldum role, Ramselaar can play in the Bazoer role (as can Clasie of course) and Berghuis can also sub Propper in midfield or Promes on the flank.

Not bad. De Vrij will make his comeback at some stage and even Vlaar will be in the picture with me. As is Van Dijk and even Feyenoord’s Van Beek and Ajax’ Riedewald.

propper scores

Propper, only scoring beauties

With players like Hendrix, Karsdorp, De Roon, El Ghazi, Sinkgraven, Kongolo, Toornstra, Van Ginkel in the mix, the future looks bright, even if we don’t seem to have world class players right now. But like I said before: many people didn’t see it in Strootman, in Nigel de Jong or even Robben when they were younger… Time will tell.

Leicester and Atletico Madrid have shown us that you don’t need a team full of big name players. Spain disappointed at the Euros and so did England. While Wales won hearts and they basically had three great players, with 8 mediocre ones. But they had a team! As did Leicester City. Vardy, Mahrez and Kante being top notch, the rest all decent but not special.


Ramselaar off to PSV (with club legend Willy van der Kuylen)

I can see Robben, Propper, Strootman and Blind as our big name players, with the rest simply doing their job. And who knows, the likes of Memphis and Berghuis might still end up becoming world class. Stranger things have happened. Vardy demonstrated that one is never too old to make it to the big stage.

In terms of goal keepers, we’re still spoiled. Cillesen (on his way to Barca?), Stekelenburg, Vermeer (now injured), Zoet and Krul (still injured) are top goalies. Hahn of Feyenoord is on his way too.

There is no reason to get depressed.

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN - JULY 30: Jan Olde Riekerink, head coach of Galatasaray and Wesley Sneijder of Galatasaray during the pre-season Friendly between Manchester United and Galatasaray at Ullevi on July 30, 2016 in Gothenburg, Sweden. (Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello via Getty Images)
Jan Olde Riekerink, head coach of Galatasaray and Wesley Sneijder of Galatasaray 

What did get me depressed though, was the treason of Dick Advocaat. Who now wants to be called Dirk (when abroad) as he realises Dick is not a nice name to have. But his recent actions prove to me he is actually DICK. What was he thinking? He has a habit of abandoning teams he’s committed to, for a bigger pay-check. Dick is all about the money. Ask the Australian federation, the Belgium Federation and Sunderland. And now Oranje.

Three months ago, he told Blind he was ready to serve Dutch football and he wanted to get out of the limelight. He was presented to the media, he did his thing, the players loved to have him on board and guess what: the first club from some second rate football nation – where human rights are even less valuable than Dick’s signature under a contract – wiggles a bag of euros and The Dick runs to the exit. Shame on DICK!

Danny Blind and Marco van Basten do need a third coach to complement them. Someone with energy, with passion, warmth and experience.

Dick dick

Rene Meulensteen would have been a top option, but he decided to sign for a club (he was available three months ago). I would not know any other option to be honest….

Danny Blind responded hurt and annoyed when asked about Advo’s antics and KNVB technical director Hans van Breukelen was gobsmacked.

Anyway, the team managers have picked a decent prelim squad. The names you’d expect.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: Daley Blind of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Manchester United at Vitality Stadium on August 14, 2016 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Daley Blind of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Manchester United 

I just hope that prior to September 1, we’ll see some movement in the transfers still. I particularly would like to see Daryl Janmaat make a move, while Bruno Martins Indi has also been put into a blind alley at Porto. Not that I believe we’ll need BMI in the future.

Good to see we keep on producing talent. Up to Danny and Marco to make them all play nicely as a team.

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