Tag: Siem de Jong

Van Gaal irritated and impressed….

Louis van Gaal has announced his squad for the Portugal friendly. Schwarzenegger, Willis, Statham, Stallone, Jet Li…. Oops.. wrong list.

Louis has come up with some surprises… We miss Clasie (not in great form yet), no Nigel de Jong (long injury period), no Siem de Jong (LVG chooses others), Ricardo van Rhijn ( some lad from Augsburg gets the nod) and Adam Maher (because Wijnaldum was more impressive).

And other surprises: Schaars and Wijnaldum are in. The latter had a good spell with Jong Oranje in Israel and started well (as skipper) for PSV. Schaars was always a Van Gaal fave (AZ days) and has always been close to the Oranje squad. Schaars will go for the defensive midfielder spot ( with De Guzman).

Another big name not present is Wesley Sneijder. De former CL winner and Oranje skipper has not done himself many favours. When he wasn’t picked for the prelim selection, the Galatasaray midfielder couldn’t stop himself and was critical about his coach. “He will need to get fit first. Then regain his form. And only then can I compare him with the other players I have….”. Van Gaal was annoyed that Sneijder made comments in the media. “He should not have said that. Experienced players know what will happen with that. I don’t like that, as I constantly have to respond to questions from the media. Sneijder needs to vent internally, not via the media.”

“Players need to talk about their club when they’re at the club and the should talk about Oranje when they are with Oranje. That is the manifest.” Van Gaal also wanted to make it clear that Sneijder was wrong: “I have talked to him many times. In Turkey, Hoenderlo, Indonesia and China. If he still doesn’t get, than I don’t know what to do next with him.”

wijnaldum oranje

Van Gaal has not yet written Sneijder off. “No, he is still on the radar, but he will have to show it. It’s not an automatic situation that he will be part of the Oranje squad.”

Gio Wijnaldum is a fresh face in the Oranje squad. Criticised last season at PSV but a central part in Cocu’s vision for the new PSV team. And one of the best players at the Israel EC with Young Oranje. Louis van Gaal is clear about his choices. “PSV has played three official games. Those players are easiest to assess. Clasie, with Feyenoord, only played one official game and Feyenoord lost that game. Schaars and Wijnaldum were very impressive. Wijnaldum is a real surprise. I know what Schaars can do, but Wijnaldum has made a big step, in his maturity and the way he dominates the game.”

Oranje does not have a great record against Portugal. And Van Gaal is partly to blame, as he played two qualification games against them for the World Cup 2002.

We played them 12 times and we won only once! It was 1991, in the EC qualification game for the Sweden EC. We won 1-0 in Rotterdam, thanks to a Richard Witschge goal, under management of Dick Advocaat. Oranje played couple of remarkable games against Portugal. The home game in the 2002 qualifications, in which a fan blew a whistle and Davids stopped playing, gifting the ball to Portugal, who scored the 0-1. Reiziger played left back and led in the second goal with a horrific back pass.

In the away game, Oranje needed the win and was 0-2 up. With 10 minutes to go, Van Gaal took off two midfielders and put two extra strikers in, to go for the jugular. Davids was red carded however and Portugal pulled two back: 2-2.

The most infamous game was the 2006 World Cup knock out game. Referee Ivanov lost control and handed out 16 yellows and 4 reds (he gave one player 3 yellow cards if I am not mistaken). Maniche decided that game for Portugal, with horrific misses by Cocu, Van Persie and Kuyt.

Richard Witschge scoring

The Festival of Mistakes

The Hitchcock Thriller

Bookmark and Share

Dutch Transfers…

Here is my update on transfers. I will not even try to be “complete” in my analysis as I am a bit far removed from the actions and people like DRB and Alex and others will have much more insights than me.

So, I will start this thread and you guys can add to it, ok?

In general, the transfer market is a bit timid at the moment. It’s still early days, as the actions will go onto September 1 and some clubs will pounce late in the process.

New coaches usually bring new names. We have seen some action already by some high profile coaches, like Mourinho, Moyes, Cocu and Blanc. Cavani’s move to PSG and Neymar’s move to Barca are the biggest headlines. Barca is eager to sign Brazilian PSG defender Silva, but the PSG chairman said that if Barca approaches the player, they (PSG) will make an offer for Lionel Messi… And pay the 250 Mio euros which is in the contract.

The economic downturn will most likely have its impact. Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Man City, Man United, Liverpool…they are all doing some business but major signings have not yet been done. ManU might sign Fabregas and Chelsea might sign Rooney, and once these things start to happen, the co-called caroussel will really kick into gear.

It always starts at the top. Napoli is spending their money and PSV is another big spender, what with the exit of Strootman, Mertens, Lens, Pieters and Toivonen.

The actions is limited in Holland though. PSV is changing tactics and is an exception to the rule. Most of you know I don’t have anything with PSV, but I have always been a big fan of Cocu and I think he might well be the real deal as a coach, like Frank de Boer. PSV got it wrong a number of times in the past and their sterile and elitist profile has always put me off. But their current actions on the transfer market are inspired (by Cocu no doubt). Signing Advocaat as coach last year was a coward’s act. Placing Cocu at the helm is more like it.


rekik psvKarim Rekik gets playing time as a loanie at PSV

And as PSV will allow young talents to shine (most likely) and support the Dutch cause, I am happy to give them the benefit of the doubt. Players like Wijnaldum, Depay, Jozefzoon, Narsignh, Maher and Schaars are always good value to watch.

PSV is also keen to score Jens Toornstra of Utrecht. The dynamic midfielder recently got his first Oranje cap in Asia. But Jan Wouters does not want to sell the midfielder so PSV will have to wait a bit.

Ajax is remarkably silent on the transfer market. Both in selling and in signing. Marc Overmars said it early on in this transfer period: we will not join in this madness (referring to the Maher option). Frank de Boer agrees: as long as no one leaves, we will not buy new names.
Siem de Jong gave a huge signal when he announced to want to stay in Amsterdam. His chances for the Oranje Brazil squad are obviously a factor. Frank de Boer hopes this will motivate Eriksen and Alderweireld to stay to. When Babel left, De Boer opted for Krkic and De Boer picked up Utrecht defender van Hoorn to cover for Alderweireld’s potential move. But as it stands, Alderweireld and Eriksen remain in Amsterdam. Eriksen could sign a massive deal with Leverkusen, but he aims high. And if the Barcelona’s or Man Uniteds do not bite, he will stay in Amsterdam. Should Eriksen leave Ajax, it seems Duarte will be his successor. De Boer and co popped the champagne when expensive Sulejmani left for Benfica, creating some space in the salary-budget.

Ajax does need to fear for Liverpool, as the Reds have followed both Eriksen and Alderweireld extensively. Brendan Rogers is only allowed to spend money when Suarez is sold, though, who is on the list of Real Madrid and Arsenal. De Boer wants to go for an internal option if Eriksen goes. Victor Fischer, Davy Klaassen or Lasse Schone can play in that role. Lerin Duarte of Heracles is an option too, although Ajax has some competition here from PSV.

SIEM stays

The Ajax skipper stays in Amsterdam

AC Milan is another club to follow Eriksen. They have offered the Dane 2mio Euros nett per season and are preparing a 16 mio Euro deal for Ajax.

The Oranje Selection for Brazil is also what keeps the Feyenoord talent in Rotterdam. Martins Indi and Clasie were both rumoured to move to London (Arsenal) but it appears that interest was not solid. Both players (and add Janmaat and de Vrij to that list) can count on a role in Brazil provided they will keep their starting berth. Italian striker Graziano Pelle might well leave. Italian, English and Russian clubs are on the prowl and if a good offer comes, I’m sure Feyenoord will let him go. One John Guidetti might well be his successor. Feyenoord does not have the funds to go berserk and Koeman will have to wait until a player leaves before he can move in. With Boetius, the left winger injured, Koeman does want to add Assaidi (not longer needed in Liverpool) to his squad and for now, that’s about it.

Darryl Janmaat frequents many lists in Europe, with Inter being keen to make a move. Feyenoord hopes that his Oranje ambitions will keep him for one more year in Rotterdam, and Feyenoord is preparing a new deal for the right full back, to extort a higher transfer fee, in case the player has a great World Cup campaign.

AZ and Heerenveen are the most active on the market, of the sub top. AZ has lost quite some good players over the last years and this summer prolific goal scorer Altidore (Sunderland) left, while playmaker Maher wears the colours of PSV. Verbeek is known to be a good picker of talent and with Jeffrey Gouweleeuw in Alkmaar and Nemanja Gudelj from NAC and Wuytens from Utrecht, Verbeek is creating his new team nicely.

At FC Twente, they refuse to play along in the game of expensive transfers. Top players Chadli and Tadic are still in Enschede, although the French media report that the Belgian winger might join his fellow countrymen Vertonghen and Dembele at Spurs. Central defender Douglas left for Russia, while Fer got his EPL transfer. The biggest signing is ex Feyenoord talent Ebicilio, who came on a free transfer from Arsenal.

kyle twente

Another young Dutch talent to be watched in the Eredivisie

Some remarkable news… With Royston Drenthe in the Championship to help Reading return to the EPL, we also see Quincy resurfacing after a Russian and Greek adverture. The former Arsenal youngster was one of the hot players in the Under20 Oranje squad in 2005.

Anderlecht is seriously eyeing Hedwiges Maduro. The former Ajax and Valencia player knows Anderlecht coach John van den Brom from his Ajax days.

The biggest “deals” till now is Kevin Strootman’s move to Italy and Van Ginkel to Chelsea.

His name was linked to Man United and Tottenham Hotspur for a while, but there was no offer coming from Albion so Roma picked him up.

Strootman: “I was always keen to move to England and I simply don’t know the Italian competition that well. But Mark van Bommel had a wonderful time in Milan and he told me a lot about the serie A and life and work in Italy. I kinda like the passion in Italian football and I think the lifestyle and playing style suits me.”

The midfielder doesn’t fear his spot in Oranje with this move. “Roma is a very strong team and the Serie A is a strong competition. I was really ready to move and I discussed it with Mr Van Gaal.”

Man City full back Maicon, deadly unhappy in England, will become Strootman’s colleague. Strootman was heralded as the new hero when he arrived at Roma Airport and if he ever returns to Sparta, he will be given a similar welcome as his transfer will add some much needed euros to the war chest of Sparta as well.

Marco van Ginkel to Chelsea is also a transfer that got people’s interest up. Who the hell is Van Ginkel and who the hell is Vitesse? In England, it’s only Ajax, PSV and maybe Feyenoord that have solid names. Although Twente and AZ have done well to establish their names. But Vitesse is like a branch or subsidiary of Chelsea these days. Vitesse puts players not longer wanted by Chelsea in the shopwindow and allows young talents to play regular games. So it’s quite simple for Chelsea to “scout” in Arnhem.


Marco van Ginkel clearly still in shock

Bony, the prolific striker, apparently wasn’t interesting enough for Chelsea (who have Lukaku already) but box-to-box midfielder Van Ginkel was high up on the Blues’ wishlist.

And why not? A diamond in the raw, the young midfielder. Tremendous athlete, in the Michael Ballack / Steve Gerrard mould. Good mentality, all round in skills. The only thing Van Ginkel needs to learn is tactics. He can be a bit rambunctious. Picking the right moment is key. Knowing when to take the pace out. Knowing when to go and when to stay (he should listen to the Clash).

With this season leading up to the World Cup in Brazil (excited already???), it’s key for our lads to have a solid spot in their teams. I prefer Sneijder to be a starter at Gala, than a benchwarmer at Chelsea, for instance. I believe Wes will have a cracker of a season, as will Rafa at Hamburg.

Van Persie, Robben, Vorm, Krul, De Guzman… I can’t see any problems there. Just as De Vrij, Maher, Janmaat, BMI, Blind, Vermeer, Huntelaar will have secured their spots at their respective clubs.

It will be less certain for Lens, Strootman, Elia, Fer and Van Ginkel, to name a few, but Lens and Strootman should be doing well.

We will be following the lads as per usual in the coming months but before the season starts, we will look just one more time at the 1988 Victory. After that, an indepth analysis of Oranje TODAY is in the planning and after that, we’ll see what pops up…

largestAssaidiDespite some promising performances it didn’t work out for Assaidi at Liverpool. Feyenoord wants the former Heerenveen winger








Anyway, I am really excited for next season.

And I am grateful to PSV and Twente among others for being able to keep or attract talent back to the home soil or keep them in Holland. Really keen to see Rekik, Ebecilio, Krkic, Maher and hopefully Assaidi perform….

Bookmark and Share

Oranje ends season with 2-0 win over China

And thus ends Oranje post-season trip to Asia. With 5 goals, two disappointing performances, a couple of new hares (Cillisen, Tiendalli, Toornstra, Nelom), a new skipper, a warned playmaker and lots and lots of happy Chinese and Indonesian fans.

And 1 million euros for the KNVB.

Louis van Gaal was not unhappy. “The game vs China was actually quite agricultural. I expected a better game as the climate and the pitch were so much better, but it didn’t happen. We missed a lot of chances and somehow couldn’t get our rhythm.”

The Dutch team manager clearly didn’t mind too much. This was partly a holiday trip. Bonding.

The main thing was his ability to deal with Wesley. “This is the last time we meet before we play next season against Portugal and I don’t want to deal with this captaincy issue right before a serious match. Now, I had the chance to explain to Wes.”

sneijder rvp china

Wes wants to attack LVG for taking his band. RVP and Robben spur him on…

Sneijder took it hard, the message that not only the band would go to RVP but also that LVG would not take Maher AND Sneijder both to the World Cup…. Sneijder apparently left the meeting emotionally to go back to his room… Later that evening he came out and joined the group and accepted LVG’s decision.


I have to say, the statement that Maher and Sneijder can’t both go to the World Cup is silly. I think LVG says it to motivate Sneijder to the max. But why wouldn’t you to take them both if both are in glorious form?? Maher can play on all midfield positions, so it would be foolish to not take him anyway.

Van Persie basked in the sun with his captain band. “As a kid I watched Krol and Koeman as skipper of Oranje and Johan wore the band too of course… I am extremely proud.”

And he remembered his first training under Van Gaal. He came home totally enthusiastic. His wive asked him… How was it? Robin said he was extremely happy. Mr van Gaal has very exciting practice forms. A joy to work under him. But… “You won’t start” is what she said. Correct, was Robin’s answer. He picked Klaas Jan over me. But my chance will come.

And one glorious season for ManU (and a title) later, and Robin is Oranje’s main man.

Van Gaal commented that some players really pleased him and some other disappointed him but he didn’t want to go into which player was in which category.

RVP scored China

RVP is level with Ruud van Nistelrooy and Faas Wilkes on the top scorers list

Holland played without too much inspiration against a very agressive China. I asked our Asia Football expert Carlos and he believes that this is a matter of “not wanting to lose face” for the Chinese. They approach this as a serious game and the Chinese players also know there are Western scouts watching, so they did all they could to stop Holland. When one of them was red carded for a charge on De Guzman, already in the first 20 minutes, the game sort of died out.

By then RVP had already scored from the spot as a result of a foul on Robben. Sneijder came onto the pitch to replace Toornstra in the second half and scored a beauty after a nice build up involving RVP and Robben too. The commentator quiped “why do it easy, when you can do something like that”….


We see RVP and Robben hit the woodwork and Lens, RVP, Robben and co all misses glorious chances.

During the trip, the Dutch players acted as real tourists too of course, visiting some touristy spots and taking photo opps. Ron Vlaar was amazed “It’s quite remarkable, they actually know who I am here…”

And thus ends the Oranje season. With all players told to watch their fitness. With a new Main Man in charge in the dressing room. And with a number of wannabees having had a taste of the Orange…

vlaar en chinezen

Vlaar, Cillisen and De Jong photo-bomb at a Chinese wedding

Bookmark and Share

Meanwhile, in the Eredivisie

The Eredivisie is exciting again!

Ajax is still in the race for a spot in the CL after the winter. The Sons of Gods play Borussia Dortmund this coming CL matchday and it could go anywhere. Ajax could end up last (when they lose against the Germans and Man City beats Madrid). And with a last game at the Bernabeu, it might mean Ajax finishes empty handed. But Ajax could also end this match day in the second spot.

Exciting stuff. Ryan Babel is the big absentee this time around. The Ajax striker played a great game in Dortmund (and missing a huge chance to score, like Eriksen) but will be missing. Alderweireld and Ken Vermeer however, are back from being absent and Frank de Boer can use his full squad.

PSV is the ultimate fave for the title this season. Dick Advocaat, Mark van Bommel, Kevin Strootman, Jeremain Lens, Dries Mertens… The Eindhoven team does show their class regularly but lacks consistency. Wijnaldum, Matavz, Mertens, they all felt the thorn of Advocaat already. If they can overcome their lacklustreness for a spell they should be able to win this.

FC Twente is doing well and collects the points, but seems to lack the width to make it to the end. With Leroy Fer sidelined for a bit, it was clear Twente does not have players to replace him. When Chadli, Tadic and/or Douglas go AWOL for whatever reason, Twente is too vulnerable.

Ajax, like Feyenoord, seems a bit too young, playfull and inconsistent this season and lacks real top quality. Whenever players like Siem de Jong, Eriksen or Van Rhijn are not performing, Ajax becomes mediocre. Same with Feyenoord, with Jordy Clasie, Daryl Janmaat and Graziano Pelle at Feyenoord.

The contenders might have a shot this year. AZ has serious difficulties replacing Martens (injured), Moisander (sold), Rasmus Elm (sold) and Aussie Brett Holman ( sold). FC Utrecht does very well this season under Jan Wouters but will most likely lack stamina. Vitesse might be the club most likely to challenge PSV.
With Fred Rutten at the helm, Theo Janssen and Marco van Ginkel in midfield and Bony scoring the goals, they keep on winning.

With Daryl Janmaat, one of the relevations of this season is mentioned. Last season an anonymous right back at Heerenveen, this season one of the most impressive Oranje players against Germany.

This is actually his second term at Feyenoord. The young back played in Feyenoord’s youth academy until the C youth group. He had a great time in the youth system. ” I never was a great talent. Was a defender or midfielder in those days, but probably one of the least “exciting” players.”

He actually started as a often scoring striker in the F youth. He was topscorer of his first season and scored from literally all angles and positions.

But, he had to go back a line every season. “I stopped scoring at a certain age. There probably were better defenders and also better strikers than me. So I ended up in the position that naturally fits me best: right full back.”

“I do believe not being the biggest talents helped me. I developed a strong mentality. Physically I wasn’t the best either, so I had to train really hard and leave a lot of fun out of my life, to make sure I would make it. It sort of came naturally.”

Janmaat is very confident in his first season in De Kuip. “I know some players are a bit overwhelmed with the atmosphere here. I love it. Totally. We all feel indestructable.”

Feyenoord isn’t beaten at home for a year. The last time Feyenoord had a series like this was in 1996.”In De Kuip, we are invincible,” Janmaat says. “It’s the venue, the pitch and most importantly, the fans!”

The support from the Legion works like dope. The right back, who came transfer free from Heerenveen, gets wings from the buzz from the stands.”

The gung ho defender feels like he is in seventh heaven anyway. His position in the team is without question and now he is also becoming a stayer in the Oranje squad. And not just him, Bruno Martins Indi, Stefan de Vrij, Joris Mathijsen, Ruben Schaken, Jordy Clasie are all on LVG’s list.

The discussion re: De Kuip and the planned demolition (and building of a “New Kuip”) is fueled by statements like the ones made by Janmaat…. The team feels powerful at home. The fans adore the venue. And the ex players lament the destruction of the historic grounds.

But, De Kuip is no longer a model venue in Europe, like it was in the 1950s all the way to the 1980s… Slowly but surely, other venues got renovated or clubs built totally new, modern stadiums. The Amsterdam Arena is often criticised for being like a theatre but from personal experience, I can say that visiting the toilet in the Arena is like going to the loo in the Sydney Opera House while trying to go to the toilet in De Kuip is like visiting a slaughterhouse.

The security protocols can’t be met in De Kuip. It’s becoming a dangerous venue.

One can only hope that the powers that be in Rotterdam make the right decision when moving to a new venue. So Janmaat and Co can feel invincible for many a season…

Bookmark and Share

Wonderful week for Ajax with balls! ( Pt 1?)

On the day before the biggest Classic in the country (Feyenoord-Ajax), we can look back at a great week for Ajax.

And typically for Ajax, it has everything to do with balls. Big balls.

The difference between Ajax and Feyenoord, PSV, Twente and all the other teams in Holland is basically that. Bravado. Balls. Arrogance. Self-consciousness. This is what made/makes Ajax extraordinary.

Yes, good football. Yes, results. Yes, a good venue. Yes a good jersey. Yes, a strong supporters following. All of that. But it’s Ajax gogme ( jiddish word for street smartness) that sets them apart.

And it was demonstrated by Frank de Boer ( and his staff) in the tactics against Manchester City.

The Oranje1974/Barca style of playing with a loose striker ( ™ Carlos) worked wonders. Roberto Mancini didn’t get it. Lescot and Kompany didn’t have a clue. Ajax ruled the game.

And it was demonstrated by Cristian Eriksen, Siem de Jong, Ricardo van Rhijn, Daley Blind and even Paulsen. On the pitch. In amongst big name players like Toure, Nasri, Aguero, Barry, Milner.

Ajax deserved the lead in the first half already, but over enthusiasm by the team (and Van Rhijn) allowed Nasri to score (was Vermeer indeed pulling his hand?). But Man of the Match Siem de Jong set up the equaliser in brilliant style, after a one-two combination with Van Rhijn.

In the second half, Ajax put the foot firmer on the pedal and won the game highly justified with 3-1.

Dennis having a good time while Roberto is not happy….

And sadly, one wonders…what would have happened if the lot would have found their cojones earlier on in the competition? Sure, they played well against Dortmund in Germany, but forgot to kill the game. The home game against Real Madrid (with yours truly in the stands) gave us another Ajax, however. Frank de Boer said “It was as if I was watching Martin Jol’s Ajax…”…

But he got them to play exciting, adventurous and ballsy again. According to the Dutch school, but arguably in a 4-4-2 formation. So what?

So, there are many different scenarios out there, but in my book, Ajax needs to win away against City (Boerrigter and Babel up front, no Sana and 4 men in midfield) and at home against Dortmund and Real will do the rest :-). If Ajax goes up to the second spot, Dortmund and Man City will go after spot 3 and Man City will definitely win a game (after they get their arse whooped by Ajax again 🙂 ).

Former Ajax chair and FFP advocate Michael van Praag

So, there you go people: Ajax to go through.

Also, on another level, in the board room, former Ajax executives Michael van Praag and Maarten Fonteijn have pushed for (and received) agreements on Financial Fair Play. To be introduced next season ( 2013-2014)!

Like Frank de Boer on the bench, Michael van Praag does not take prisoners. Asked if he would have the cojones to have a go at Manchester City and Real Madrid, he said (with a smile): “You betcha!”.

So clubs like Ajax will have a real chance to win the CL again.

Van Praag: “If Real Madrid doesn’t want to play according to the new rules, they are out. Simple as that.”

Any club competing in a European competition will have to have his financial household in order by running the operation break even. Making a loss is not on.

“The revenue streams will have to come from ticket sale, sponsoring, tv rights and merchandising. It is not longer an option for the owner of Man City to say “what do we need to balance the books? 100 million? Here you go…”.”

Debt needs to be repaid in three years. In the first year, 45 mio is allowed, but in year three only 5 mio. After that, it is zero! The only investments that are allowed is the youth academy. The only option left for them is to sell shares in the clubs. But they won’t…”

Fascinating developments in Amsterdam.

Sadly for them, they’re now on their way to Rotterdam where Feyenoord will put their feet firmly back onto the ground :-).

Man of the Match

Bookmark and Share