Tag: Verhaegh

Preview Holland – Mexico: Nachos time!

Couldn’t resist. Plus, it’s my superstition that I have to do this.

So, a short one!

The biggest topic in the run up to this match is the weather. And it might well be a key topic, as the humidity in the North of Brazil is pretty hectic.

As Andrea Pirlo said, there are two World Cups being played in Brazil, one in the North and one in the South. Sadly, we’ll have to deal with it, versus Mexico.

The good thing is that although Mexicans are used to this weather, that most Mexican players play in Europe and will have to get used to the humidity as well.

Van Gaal hopes that the ref will use his privilege to pause for drink breaks as the game will most likely be influenced by these circumstances.

I believe the quality of the bench will determine the end result. And with players like Depay, Lens and Clasie, we should be in pretty good shape :-). Between you and me, I rather not see Huntelaar, as it would mean that we are behind and need to bring our pinchhitter.

Mexico, to me, is a scary opponent, as they sort of combine all what Spain, Chile and Australia have but then combined. They lack the big names Spain has, for sure, but they can play like Chile (and Spain) and have the physical presence of Australia.

I think though, that position by position we are better. Our four big guns (RVP, Robben, Wes and Nigel) are better than any of their players and the rest of our team is not necessarily weaker. The difference lies in the coach, for me.

They have quite a good coach, we have a brilliant coach ( a twat of a man, but a superb coach!).

And that will make the difference, to me!

That, plus the quality we can bring from the bench. I expect another key role in this game for Depay, but I am also disappointed with Fer’s injury. He could have been key yet again. But with Clasie and Huntelaar present as well, we do have options.


Anyway, a short post this time around. Not much to add.

I hope you all enjoy and may I say thanks here to all the punters here who were able to help me out with my request. I hope I can count on most of you out there to get this blog to the World Cup finals as well :-).

I do believe in a 3-0 win, with an early first half goal by none other than Robben and two late goals in the second half, with Sneijder getting on the score board and Wijnaldum scoring as well!

fer lvg

Funny close of this post: at the press conference, Leroy Fer was asked if he could play in the quarter finals. And dead pan, the former Feyenoord man answered: “I am not sure. I only know the coach wants me fit for the finals. He told me he wants to come onto the pitch in the second half as a sub and score the winner with my head.”

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Oranje starts the new season with a decent draw… (edited)

Oranje broke the deadlock (and the horrific series) against Portugal last night with a draw.

Midfielder Strootman scored the Dutch goal in the first 20 minutes of the game, C Ronaldo was gifted a late equaliser.

Strootman is one of the three players Louis van Gaal considers starters. Before the game, he said “Van Persie, Robben and Strootman have a bit more credit points than the rest. They can consider themselves protected players. The rest? They all have to keep on proving their worth.”

Comments made, after questions on De Vrij and BMI who seem to be on edge after some lesser performances with Young Oranje and Feyenoord. “I too read and hear about De Vrij and Martins Indi lack of form. That might be the case at Feyenoord, but it’s not in Oranje. They haven’t let me down and I do not doubt De Vrij’s qualities. However, I am looking with glee at the development of Bruma and Rekik and in all honesty, if they do better than the Feyenoord couple I might be tempted…”
raf port


The following eleven were used as starters against “angstgegner” Portugal: Vorm, Verhaegh, De Vrij, Martins Indi, Blind, Wijnaldum, Stootman, Van der Vaart, Robben, Van Persie and Lens. It’s a special game for Rafael who joins Gio van Bronckhorst with 106 caps for the Dutch. Only Sar (130) and Frank de Boer (112) played more in orange.

First chance is for Portugal but the header is too weak. Van der Vaart and Van Persie demonstrated some nice build up play in the start of the game but nothing comes of it. Paul Verhaegh has a decent debut and offers Van der Vaart a chance with a good cross but Raf can’t control the ball. The start of the game is lacklustre. Both teams forgot to take the handbrake off.

In the 17th minute, it’s Kevin Strootman who scores for Holland. The midfielder gets the ball on the edge of the box and pulls the trigger. Goalie Beto doesn’t have a chance. In the 28th minute, a mistake by De Vrij allows Micael a sitter but the Portuguese aims badly and misses. Van Gaal acts his role again when Verhaegh fouls a Portuguese player and the whole Portuguese nation starts to complain, whine and provoke. Memories of 2006….

C Ronaldo does find the net after half an hour of play but the winger is given off side. His chip was nice but won’t be allowed.

c ron port

Van Gaal keeps on playing his part, when the frustrated Portuguese make more and more bad fouls, like Coentrao who can’t control himself.

In the first half, Oranje played with a three man midfield with the center player in an offensive role (“the point up front”). In the second half, Van Gaal switches tactics and plays the center player as holding mid (“the point back”). It’s Van der Vaart who is rested and Van Ginkel coming in. Van Rhijn comes for debutant Verhaegh. In the first 5 minutes, it’s Vorm with a good save on a Coentrao attempt. After one hour of play, RVP is subbed for Huntelaar. Robben gets the captain band.

Robben offers Lens a decent chance but the winger mishits the ball completely. Robben gets a nice chance from the right, later, but curls the ball just over the goal.

The game starts to open up and C Ronaldo tests Vorm who won’t be beaten tonight.

In th 70st minute, skipper Robben has a good action with Wijnaldum, but is tackled on the edge of the box. Free kick. Wijnaldum, Robben….they can all do it, but it’s Huntelaar who hits the ball weakly in the wall.

The Portuguese are not happy with the score line and put more pressure on the Dutch. Machado hits the cross bar. With 10 minutes to go, Lens is taken off for Schaken. And five minutes later, it is C Ronaldo scoring for Portugal after a corner kick. De Vrij didn’t look too good there, but he wasn’t the only one. Ball watching (De Vrij), not alert enough in the marking (BMI) and more silliness (Van Rhijn)….

robben port

C Ronaldo gets a free kick in the dying seconds of the game but hits straight at Vorm, who stops the ball.

And thus it remains 1-1.

All in all, not a great game, but Oranje didn’t do too shabby. Paul Verhaegh can look back on a decent debut, as the defenders were under the microscope this particular game. They all faired well. Verhaegh set up the attack resulting in Stroot’s goal and bar one costly mistake (De Vrij), the defensive four did alright.

Louis van Gaa had difficulties naming positive points, although he did see “a fantastic Verhaegh”. Mostly he saw things that went wrong. “In the first half we did create chances and we scored a goal, so I can’t be too critical, but in the second half we made a lot of mistakes in possession. We were very poor. And with some lads, you could see the tank was empty. We haven’t lost against Germany, Italy and Portugal now, so we haven’t do too badly, but this was the poorest game.”

About Verhaegh: “I think he did very well. He played with maturity and smarts. He could leave C Ronaldo to De Vrij regularly, we knew he would try and come into the center a lot.” Van Gaal also emphasized that the door is open for Sneijder. “Listen, Wes knows what he needs to do. If he is fit and in form, I can’t ignore him. We all know how good he can be. But it will also depend on how players like Van der Vaart, Maher, Van Ginkel and Wijnaldum develop.”

orane port scoresRobben was vice captain and took his job seriously in front of the microphones. “I’m disappointed. When you lead 70 minutes, you want to win it. You don’t want to concede so late. And it’s a bit sour grapes for us. A deflected ball and our friend happens to be on the right spot. It’s shit. But all in all, a good lesson. These types of opponents will be at the World Cup and you will need to learn to beat them. We did well in the first half, I think but in the second half we sort of forgot to play football.”

Van Gaal repeated his words, that he is not really happy as team manager. His passion is club coaching. “I have trouble working in this role. I am not only dependent on the players but also on their coaches. How do they prepare them? Do they get playing time, etc…. As a club coach, you have more control. Now, I only see them 7 or 8 times a year. But….in the coming months it will become more fun, I guess.”

Paul Verhaegh ended the night on a high, with his first Oranje jersey in his bag. “No way I would have exchanged it, not even with C Ronaldo. This is a boyhood dream for me. If you would have told me two years ago this was to happen I would have had you locked up. But this now does give me a taste for more…. But I can’t count on anything. I will keep on doing my best at my club and then we’ll see.”

“The lads told me that C Ronaldo basically floats everywhere and doesn’t really get bothered with defending. This did allow me to attack and support the build up. He is very strong and athletic, that bloke but I still got to play my own game. ” Verhaegh was one of the better players in his passing and positioning and he started the play that resulted in the 0-1 by Strootman. But at the end of the first half, he felt his hamstring. “At my age, you know your body well. Probably the result of the tension. My hamstring tensed up and I felt I had to make way.”

Ricardo van Rhijn came in, while normally Daryl Janmaat and Greg van der Wiel are also in the picture. “Yeah I know there is competition, but that is good. I won’t say that I am better than they are. How can I?”.

robben cr


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Oranje – Portugal preparation

The Deer in the Headlight look of Paul Verhaegh

The first international game in the new season. After that breezy Asian tour, important wins over Indonesia and China, we are now facing our menace Portugal. 2002, 2004, 2006, 2012… Just some random numbers for you.

And in the lead up to this friendly (…) there is some unsettling news:

– There is LVG’s criticism on our former skipper Wes Sneijder… Is it justified? Is LVG motivating the little playmaker?

– There is everyone’s criticism on De Vrij (and Martins Indi). Can the Rotterdam man face the pressure?

– There is the generic criticism on our young and somewhat naive back four ( Janmaat? Blind? De Vrij? BMI? All untested)

dirk oranje

On top of that, LVG has demonstrated his fickleness in his selections. No Nigel and Siem, for instance. Although Siem would have had to thank for the invite anyway (as Schaars and Janmaat had to do). Schaars is injured. Janmaat has the flu. But Siem de Jong is in hospital with a collapsed lung? He is out for weeks.

The media can’t help themselves. When Dirk Kuyt came to the Dutch trainingscamp, most journalists wanted to hear what Dirkie thought of Wesley’s fitness. The two recently played the Turkish Super Cup against each other and Sneijder (and Drogba) won.

Kuyt: “I see Wesley a lot in Turkey. And we talk about football of course and about our families… Wes is really disappointed about the whole thing but he is committed to fight his way back. That is how he is. He really wants to be part of Oranje of course.”

Asked about Sneijder’s game, Dirk said: “He is fit alright. He trained all summer and he played really well against us.”

The largest Dutch newspaper was quite critical on Van Gaal and his selection criteria. As per usual, Van Gaal loves players he can mould to his own liking. Players like Maher, Wijnaldum, Van Ginkel (the ideal sons-in-law) and doesn’t like player with a mind of their own ( Sneijder, Robben, Van Bommel). With a number of key players lacking the form and rhythm it will be interesting to see how things will develop.

gio wijn

Paul Verhaegh is the player most media jumped on, as he is the big unknown in the squad. And the Augsburg player has just gotten the chance to get used to the idea being part of Oranje, or the next surprise came in: Daryl Janmaat can’t make it. So there is a fair chance that Louis van Gaal will let the former PSV prospect start against one C Ronaldo….

Verhaegh: “I will see what happens. I heard Janmaat is not here so who knows. All I can do is do my stinking best and hopefully I get the chance to show myself. And sure people are surprised hearing my name. I was surprised! I will turn 30 soon and this coach is known to go for youth, so….”

Paul Verhaegh was with one Klaasjan Huntelaar at the PSV youth system and like Hunter, Verhaegh was moved to AGOVV which played first division back then. He moved to FC Den Bosch and after a year he was signed by Vitesse. He somehow made a move to Augsburg in Germany, which has since moved up to the Bundesliga. “I took a long and winding road, haha. Many of my team mates from back then play for big clubs now. Augsburg is not a big name. Most people think of Schalke, Bayern or Dortmund when you talk Bundesliga.”

raf oranje

As Verhaegh is somewhat older and not playing top drawer football, people wonder why Van Rhijn and Van der Wiel are not above the debutant in the Oranje squad hierarchy. “I don’t think I am above them at all. I would not even state I am better than them. How can I? I think Van Gaal wants to see me up close. I am not even considering the World Cup. That is so far away still. I will take this one step at a time.”

Although the Portugal game is “but” a friendly, Holland does need a good result. A win – and maybe a draw, will keep Holland as number 5 on the FIFA ranking. The first seven nations will have a protected spot in the draw of the World Cup. Holland is well on its way of qualifying of course but the differences in the Top 10 are small. Portugal is now number 7 while Belgium is on the rise, as the number 10. If the draw was today, the following nations would be group leader: Spain, Germany, Columbia, Argentina, Holland, Italy, Portugal and Brazil.


Jeremain Lens and his dad, former PSV winger Sigi Lens

lens oranje

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