Tenacious Oranje vulnerable

We can thank two dead ball moments, two setpieces, for the victory over Poland. But we again ended up in trouble too often. Stronger opponents will slaughter us.

We did it before, we conceded first and we came back with a vengeance to turn the game around. But it wasn’t enough for a spot in the finals, like we managed in 2019. All four finalists this time around, are new nations.

Despite not qualifying for the finals, Oranje closed off the calendar year with a positive feel, thanks again to the duo Memphis and Wijnaldum.

De Boer wanted fresh legs and he put them in the team, on the wings. Two new full backs and new wingers, with Memphis as central striker.

Oranje started slow, for unclear reasons. The pace was down and when Hateboer got pushed off the ball and Jozwiak could start a sprint match with Klaassen, it was clear really quickly that we miss speed. Daley Blind was pseudo defending by never closing the run down and the Polish wing back was able to almost walk the ball into the goal: 1-0.

See the situation below. Van Aanholt is up high, Klaassen is flatfooted and De Vrij, Blind and Frenkie are the only players capable of stopping the counter. That is not a comfortable situation and after that more things went awry.

Below, the situation from above and demonstrating how it could have been dealt with. Klaassen is still ahead of Jozwiak and Blind is coming across to give De Vrij cover for when he pushes up to Lewandowski.

Below you see mistake #1. Frenkie decides to leave his man Klich to go for the man with the ball. As a result, Klich sprints away and now Blind has to choose. Jozwiak humiliates Klaassen with a sprint match and Blind wants Krul and Klaassen to deal with the ball as he is covering Klich. See below.

So, optically, it seems Klaassen and Blind are the men to blame, but it all starts from a bad organisation, Hateboer not strong enough and Frenkie de Jong making the wrong decision.

One of the troubling things is, that this doesn’t happen just once. Or twice. It happens many times, that Klaassen, Blind and De Vrij are the only three players able to stop the counter. Not ideal.

Below another example, how Poland can break using the wings, with Dumfries (for Hateboer) and Van Aanholt way in front of the ball, forcing Frenkie to help out his less agile team mates.

This immediately demonstrated the changes De Boer has pushed through versus Koeman’s tactics: under Koeman, the team played compact, closer to each other and the box. And as a result, Blind, De Ligt and the full backs never really got outplayed, like the Italians, the Bosnians and the Polish did, at times. De Boer wants to play more expansive, more direct and higher up the pitch, like Bayern Munich and Liverpool do. But does Oranje have the players for this, if the quick full backs (Hateboer and Van Aanholt in this match) push up too far, it comes down to De Vrij, Blind and Klaassen to organise the rest defence: great players, but none of them quick.

It’s not the first time Oranje started weak. Since Ronald Koeman, Oranje played 28 matches. In 19 of them, we conceded a goal. and in 10 times, that goal was conceded within the first 20 minutes! But, in most cases, Oranje was able to rise up and take the game to the opponent and turn the result around.

Poland had one more big opportunity with Placheta firing on goal but other than that, most opportunities were for Oranje. Wijnaldum with a weak shot, Klaassen’s attempt was blocked but Malen missed a sitter heading a ball off target, unmarked. Wijnaldum was stopped once when running in behind by Bednarek who also frustrated Memphis later. Malen shot one over the bar and Hateboer wanted to head a ball back to Memphis but it just failed. Frenkie de Jong’s attempt after a Malen through-ball was blocked by goalie Fabianski.

Poland started strong in the second half and stormed for 15 minutes but Oranje straightened their backs on the hour mark and started to dominate. Man of the Match Memphis with an effort pushed to corner, and with three sets of fresh legs (Wijndal, Van de Beek and Berghuis for Van Aanholt, Klaassen and Stengs), De Boer forced a final offensive. First, Berghuis shot a rocket towards the top corner and missed the goal by a fraction. Not much later, a header attempt by Wijnaldum was thwarted by Bednarek who pushed the Dutch captain with both hands: penalty. Dispatched by Memphis emphatically: 1-1. With only a couple of minutes to go, De Boer took Blind off for Luuk de Jong. Seconds later, Steven Berghuis corner was headed towards the goal by Wijnaldum. It bounched off Piatek into the far corner: 1-2.

Frank de Boer was satisfied with what he saw: “Well, for starters, we had a lot of moments that didn’t go well and that was good to see, in a way. We started so slow, and I have no idea why that was. This is something we need to discuss and analyse and improve. But I am very proud how the team fought back. The spirit was excellent and the quality of our play on the ball was top. And the impact of the subs was good in the second half too and I always felt we would get the result.” Asked about the reputation he has of “Play the Ball Square”, De Boer said: “It’s all about the material you have to work with. I was an offensive player myself. I love attacking play. I would always try and play the forward pass. But that is me. Today, we play with players like Frenkie de Jong, Daley Blind and Stefan de Vrij and you, with these guys, the ball will be played forward. Because that is how they play.”

When Memphis was asked about why Oranje starts so slow at times: “I don’t know, it probably is mental. And the pitch didn’t help. We also needed some time to get used to it. It’s frustrating, also for us. You want to be sharp, and then you concede after 5 minutes, it becomes even harder. But we fought back and we created chances. I think we should have scored in the first half already. But at the end of the day, we missed the finals and I’m really disappointed in that.”

Steven Berghuis hasn’t scored for Oranje yet, still he is making his mark. The 28 year old had another assist, for Wijnaldum’s winning goal. Stengs was given the preference, as De Boer wanted fresh legs. “I would have rather player myself, actually, ” Berghuis quipped. “But, it’s Oranje. We have many great players. ” Still, he didn’t have a negative feeling about it. “Of course not, it’s not a drama. But I would have played if the coach needed me. I feel fit and fresh. But I am happy I could show myself to the new coach and there will be more opportunities, I hope. I know Bergwijn is usually a choice for the right wing, but I think the coach will have made notice of what I can offer the team. That is all I can ask.”

Another element that got us into trouble, is the space between the lines. Frank de Boer wants to play more attacking, and Malen, Stengs, Memphis or whoever plays up front, love that. But with a slow defence, what you get is that the insecure defenders tend to go back a bit. As a result. A huge midfield for our players to deal with and gaps so big you can drive the players’ bus through. See below. De Vrij and Blind aren’t even on the pic. They are all the way to the left. Which means that the three forwards from Poland can play in behind Van Aanholt, and can pass their way past that line of 4 players (Van Aanholt, Frenkie, Klaassen, Hateboer) leaving De Vrij and Blind exposed against three opponents.

This 1-2 victory is a welcome warning. Oranje has a lot of urgency to attack, which is great, but this gutsy play comes with a wide open backdoor. The next international break, this will have to be dealt with, or else we won’t be playing for any trophies in the coming Euros.

Some early conclusions:

  • Blind and De Vrij as a central defender pairing won’t work
  • We need more coordination between full back thundering forward
  • Tim Krul is the new #1 goal keeper for Oranje
  • Berghuis is currently better than Stengs and should be on corner kick duty
  • Babel and Strootman are superfluous
  • Dumfries is the preferred right back

Next up, a big post on “What chance do we have at the Euros?”

Thanks to Pieter Zwart

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  1. Excellent recap and analysis. Thank you.

    Re: Some early conclusions:

    Blind and De Vrij as a central defender pairing won’t work

    Agreed. But Blind was always going to be a stopgap, being inserted there because of multiple injuries. Van Dijk, De Ligt, De Vrij, and Ake, range from Superb to very good, and behind those 4, Schurrs and Botman look like they are developing well. This is NT’s strongest group.

    We need more coordination between full back thundering forward

    I think you’ll get that with Dumfries and Blind/Wijndal.

    Tim Krul is the new #1 goal keeper for Oranje

    Time will tell.

    Berghuis is currently better than Stengs and should be on corner kick duty

    Agree that Berghuis is better at corner kicks than Depay. And he was a plus overall against Poland. Not quite ready to say he brings more than Stengs, who played well against Spain.

    Babel and Strootman are superfluous

    Based on recent comments, FDB seems to like what Babel brings to the training ground and the team set up; so not sure we’ve seen the last of him in the squad.

    Dumfries is the preferred right back


    Final note, to me, the the biggest question right now is who plays next to Frenkie De Jong in the MF. I don’t know that Van de Beek has been convincing enough to move Wijnaldum back a line; Klassen is probably not the answer. I’m sorry that Koopmeiner wasn’t able to be involved more to see how he might fit in.

    1. Good point. I am a big Davy Propper fan. A fine player and in the EPL learned how to play in the engine room.

      Koopmeiners might work.

      Klaassen is not a bad one to have, but not super fast. Van de Beek can work too, I believe.

      Gravenberch might be an option soon.

        1. Really? I don’t get the point. So players with experience (Luuk de Jong, Wijnaldum, Klaassen, De Vrij) is useless?

          Matusiwa has had 1 season in the Eredivisie. Propper about 7 and now 3 in the EPL. You would pick the guy from Groningen?

          1. Propper is more an attacking midfielder. It no use selecting when you already have wijnaldum and VDBeek there and Ihattarren who is on the fringes of making his debut. Plus koopmeiners as well. What the midfeld needs is someone who is stubborn, add muscle and quick at the same time. Matusiwa ticks all this boxes.

            Propper has no

          2. Propper is not a big game player, and he has never made his mark at Brighton when playing top 6 in epl.

            If propper gets the nod then EL ghazi should as well as he is techincally etter than berghuis even while he sitting on the bench for villa.

          1. @Wilson, I think you’ll have to explain a little more about how you seeing the rotation policy working for the NT. I know you’ve thought about it alot, but I have no comment until I understand how you see it working.

            During this Fall period of Nations League and Friendly matches, Koopmeiner, Wijndal, Mallen, Van Aanholt,, Hateboer, Bizot, Stengs, Krul were all given opportunities to play extensive minutes. Van de Beek was given a long look, as was Berghuis.

            Are there players that you think should have been on the field who weren’t in the squad? I know you keep an eye out.

            @Jan, yes, absolutely, Ihaterren and Bergweijn have to be in the conversation for the third forward. (I think Mallen should have a starting position, so there is one slot left.) IMO. Gravenberch will be the one who takes the spot next to Frenkie De Jong. Hope he has a breakout season and it happens sooner rather than later.

          2. Oh no no my friend. You have gone on another track. Well looks like you have forgotten about the debate we had some time back on this regard and with Jan as well. I think the argument you guys put up was the population to talent ratio, coaches not having enough time for prep using different players during internationals and few others which would be a waste of time digging it up. The main focus of the debate was how other countries are suceeding with player rotation compared to NT.

            Now the reason why I posted that article was to show how the rotation has worked out for the italians compared to NT who only rotate players when they are forced to. 32 debutants in 2 years.this is how the Italians have gone on to build the great depth they have in the team now and also the reason why they managed to make 7 changes and win vs NT.

            You compare this to NT,how many debutants in the last two years and whats the depth like in the team. Instead of game changers or impact players, they have pinch hitters to come on and look for Luck goals. How will this build depth in the team.

            Please for gods shake dont tell me here berghuis and babel are impact players.even Van der beek for that matter because they have already shown with big guns they caoabilities down grades somehow.

  2. I get people’s frustration with seeing Babel et al in the team, but this idea that change is always best is also wrong. “Oh we lost a game, better switch up all the players.” That is a cycle for failure.

      1. The comment is more about someone having a bad game and needs to be removed from the team. After Hateboer’s international debut everyone on here was crying for a new RB.

  3. I see Gravenberch and Koopmeiners in midfield. And with Propper, we will get better in the middle.
    I also hope to see Hoever playing more at Wolves. I see him a good fit for RB. just too bad he is competing for spot with Nelson Semedo, a seasoned player..can also wish he gets a chance..🙏

      1. @Wilson, Understood; I see what you are saying now. Apologies for misreading.

        I remember the discussion about depth. I think we’ll just have to chalk it up to a difference of agreement that the Netherlands will ever have the depth of talent as Italy, Germany, France, etc.

        Over the last 8 games, plenty of players who were not previously in the set up got looks and opportunities; some swum, some sank, but they got decent looks, DeBoer has a better idea as to whether they can give him what he wants. (Whether what he “wants” out of a player, i.e, his vision for how he wants the NT to play, and whether the player fits in is a different topic.)

        I don’t see any reason to think that DeBoer is not keeping tabs on the players you mentioned. But Danjuma is coming off a bad year with injuries and losing his starting spot, and I don’t think that scoring goals at the beginning of the Championship season would have been enough; Lammers is still a sub most of the time; Gakpo is just now getting regular time for PSV; FDB mentioned Bakker as someone he is looking at, but is it hard to say that he was wrong in wanting to look at Van Aanholt and Wijndal. Karspdorp? I haven’t been following Karsdorp, but didn’t he have some injury issues last year? If these guys show out between now and March, they should get an opportunity. FDB has shown a willingness to incorporate younger players.

        1. I will stick to the ‘depth’ part. I think the Dutch have enough talents to build a formbiddle squad both on and off the bench. The fact is the coaches are not able to put the puzzle together. Im talking about this in general. alot needs to change from selection point of view, especially in context to who ,when, why and where. Focus should shift from short term goals to long term goals and this is where its all crumbling down within short time frame atm. You look at De Roon, he was major player under Koeman and a starter for how many successive games only to be overtaken now by klaassen who himself has his own short falls and down the line will end up just like de Roon. This filling of the potholes needs to stop and perhaps other alternatives should be on the cards such as better transitioning of u21s and even those who are playing outside of big 3 and wont get the sames perference as their the other compatriots.

          I did mention about azor Matusiwa above. Look at what Jan said”

          “Matusiwa has had 1 season in the Eredivisie. Propper about 7 and now 3 in the EPL. You would pick the guy from Groningen?”

          Why wont you not wanna consider his technical capabiiities which is naturally superior to that of propper. Propper has being a medicore at brighton and like many others will soon be on his way back to eredivisie or if not get relegated with brighton. Klaassen was in the same boat as well. This is where I have being arguing alot on investing in techincal players rather than going with experience . Im not saying all of them but in some department. Its unfolding and we are witnessing it.stengs to Promes. Malen to babel. Wijndal to Blind.

          You can also bracket here players like Danjuma, Noa lang,Ihattaren, and lammers also . All these guys are very techical players and only lack game time, which they are slowly building up on it. They should be making the bench atleast and in between if the team is winning should be slowly injected. This is what Ten Hag did with Noa lang and he lived up to expectation.why not do the same im NT

          Danjuma is the best winger the dutch have and if germany can select Philipp Max from PSV and eredivisie, I cant see why Danjuma cannot be selected playing in championship. This mentality of playing in championship is not worthy of NT selection needs to go. There is so many players in other national teams that play in championship. Look at Northern Ireland whom NT couldnt crack. Poland had players playing in championship.

          Again im not saying select all players from lowers leagues but those who are special like Danjuma,who is in excellent form and unfortunately has to do with bournemouth. NT needs players who run forward and not backwards like what we are witnessing with the current ones.

          It will really take a coach with some real balls to put NT back on the frame like before.

          1. @Wilson,

            All fair and good points; I was looking forward to your reply on this.

            We differ in that I thought that DeBoer did take the opportunity to try out a number of players who were either new, who had fallen out of the NT picture, or that he wanted a longer look at; And he did bring in younger guys that were on the bench, (Gravenberch, Botman, come to mind). Our other difference is that I don’t like the idea of giving up major tournaments to build for the future; with the right blend and selection a country with the Netherlands’ pedigree should be able to “reload” not “rebuild.” If players show enough in their club teams, they can/should be selected, and hopefully that blend will come about.

            That said, the KNVB ought to send a younger, more experimental side to this summer’s Euro’s. It will be played right in the middle of WC qualifying, and only 16 months before the WC; too many high tension games in too short a period. (I will guess that even if it is official policy, there will many regular and “name” players, from many countries, dropping out.

            Re Danjuma (who I like),You may have missed my point or maybe I didn’t express it well enough. I didn’t intend to say that he shouldn’t be considered because he is playing in the Championship. I meant that given that last season was such a lost year for him, a handful of games at the beginning of the season was not enough to put him ahead of the players DeBoer selected.


        2. Just a clarification here Andrew. What do you mean here,

          “I meant that given that last season was such a lost year for him, a handful of games at the beginning of the season was not enough to put him ahead of the players DeBoer selected”

          He has being smashing goals game after game and you are saying that enough enough.its not just goals but quality of goals he is scoring speaks itself speaks his quality.

          Didnt Depay come back strong after his ACL injury and wasnt he rushed back both into lyon and NT

          Surely he is in better form than babel

          1. @Wilson, I take Babel out of the equation because DeBoer’s comments indicate that he had particular reasons to select him. If you look at Danjuma vis a via Stengs, Berghuis, and Mallon, I don’t have a problem with the selection of those three over Danjuma for this past group of games, given his previous season, fast start to this year notwithstanding. Let him show his ability and be productive between now and March, and force DeBoer to select him by performance. Nothing would make me happier. As I said, I like Danjuma.

            Re: Depay; apples and oranges. If Danjuma had Depay’s career behind him, he would have been selected.

          2. Sorry my friend I disagree to what you have said. Whether its apple or oranges it all about what you can or cant do. Memphis was a flop at United but still he was being selected in NT. Why? Because of his specific qualities. Yes you were correct saying that Depay was highly rated in netherlands compared to Danjuma but its
            the present that should count and not the past.there is whole lot of arguments you can bring up here including to that of van Dijk.

            Being said this it doesnt have to be seen as, playing in lower leagues or bottom feeder club will degrade you capabilities.

            which has become a feature of dutch football


            Again not just the goal but the quality as well.

  4. Kia ora koutou all,

    Back to some of the tactical discussion as talked about in this post.

    I used to play CDM in my football days, (not NT level 🙂 and it made all the difference to our tactics when I called our back line up. Every time we attacked past halfway I pushed us up to support and keep the field short. I consider this absolutely essential to any sort of decent defense (after a turn over especially). I see a lot of teams defences, especially when they are tired, of not following the attack or counter attack up the pitch. Its a recipe for danger.

    1. Hey, so I played in the same role, as a 6 or pivot we called it. I prefer to see a midfield 3 playing in a 6-8-10 formation, with 6 being the defensive midfielder (libero), 8 being the box-to-box midfielder (regista) and 10 being the attacking midfielder (trequartista).

      I actually think that Depay should play as the 10, that’s the role he thrives in, where he can move in between the lines, drop deep and step up.

      Frenkie is the 6 for me, he intercepts well, defends well, but can also dribble.

      I think this is where the 8 needs to be a bit more flexible, Gini is offensive, but with Frenkie flying up the field, we need an 8 who can drop deep to cover, so I’d prefer Klaassen.

      We’re lacking a real 9, 7 or 11 (though I think Stengs is coming up quick enough to the international level). I don’t mind seeing Malen as a 9, but Luuk and him are about equal to me. There’s a few guys who could play the other wing, Danjuma, Promes, Bergwijn, Kluivert. Even Depay could play that role and then Gini steps up to play 10.

      I think the centre back hierarchy for the team is pretty set, and then RB and LB are up for debate.

  5. Weghorst had a goal and an assist yesterday. FDB should look into using him instead of De Jong. He did everything De Jong does consistently.

    Does anyone here follow Pascal Struijk. Does he have potential?

    1. Its too late for him to now to come and lay his stakes in the team especially with others coming up now. I watched atalanta and Spezia and I must say Lammers will go on to become a top striker for NT. He is still clocking minutes of the bench but everytime he comes on, you can tell he wants to explode. His on and off the ball skills are both good and especially his positioning in the box (Huntelaar).the draw back for him at Atanlata instead of being serviced he often finds himself creating on his own, which is a plus as well.

      I dont like the idea of depay being played on the wing. He looks good in that deep lying striker role where he gets to move all over the field. He did look good that role in the recent internationals.

      The strikers should be Depay,Malen, Boadu, Lammers for euros.

    2. Read a few articles on Pascal struijk and how Bielsa incoprates him in his 3-1-3-3 formation. He just made the cut in the team towards the end of last season and it will take him some time to start knocking the door if he does go on to become a prominent figure at leeds.

  6. Jan and everyone else on this blog, have you all seen how Ziyech have already established himself at Chelsea? That’s what I’m talking about. It’s either you can play the game or you can not. I guarantee you Ziyech can never be a bench player because this kid can play. So please stop telling me about Berghuis, Klaasen and all these guys. Except for a very few, these past years dutch football have produced a bunch of 3rd tier players. No coach is going to change our NT. The issue is bigger than that.

    1. “Technical ability”

      this should be the first box that needs to be ticked when it comes to selection and this where imo the dutch football is stumbling.

      Im telling you the day they will start doing this, NT will be back to where they were before.

  7. AZ_Alkmaar Updates:
    AZ is preparing for one of the most difficult segments of the 2010-21 season. Within one month they will have to play games almost every three days. Things are getting a little better in Eredivisie: AZ won last three games with the goal difference 8:0. It looks like Bizot has gained his confidence and the BMI-PH defensive tandem has been working well, although I saw some defensive errors which would have cost dearly if they have played with Napoli or Real. AZ still have problems with scoring efficiency but it is better when Myron Boadu played. The latter has been benched since he has recovered from COVID. His place has been taken by Alber Gudmundsson. One of the team’s problems is quite a weak performance during last 15 minutes of the game. It has already cost the team 8 missed points. Similar decline was observed when they played with Emmen, there was even one controversial moment when I thought the ball almost crossed the line but referee believed otherwise. Teun is building up on his stable performance and his presence in the midfield is critical for AZ. The same relates to Wijndal and Stengs. Although the latter has been quite inconsistent lately. His performance with Emmen was pretty bad. I am a little worried about Young AZ because 50% of the team is comprised of players from the A team. The team composition is Beau Reus; Yukinari Sugawara, Peer Koopmeiners, Tijs Velthuis, Maxim Gullit; Tijjani Reijnders, Thijs Oosting, Mo Taabouni; Håkon Evjen, Ferdy Druijf, Zakaria Aboukhlal. This team has been losing games one after another….Something to think about for Slot. I am not sure whether it is a coach problem but it is alarming that Sugawara, Reijnders, Taabouni, Druijf, Evjen, and Aboukhlal can not make any difference. They are regular substiles in the A team….After two days AZ will play Real S. and must get at least one point to keep hopes high.

    1. @AZ, appreciate the background. Watching Stengs play for AZ this year, I find myself wishing he would try to impose himself on the game more a little more, rather than letting it come to him. Looking forward to the game. Make or break for them in the competition.

    1. Not true, even if Ajax loses to Liverpool and Atalanta wins next game, in the final round Ajax can beat Atalanta with any result and qualify thanks to the advantage in the direct home and away between them!!!

  8. Thanks Alaa, I was wondering whether the tiebreaker is goal difference or head to head…so if I understand, it doesn’t matter if Ajax loses to Liverpool, or by how much, as long as they defeat Atalanta they would get the second spot?

    1. Yes Andrew, in Europe when two teams tie with the points, the ranking gets based on the direct confrontation between the two and not the total goal difference in the group!!! As opposed to the World Cup where general gol difference in the group is what decides who is first and who is second!!
      that’s how we got screwed against Sweden in the World Cup qualifiers for 2018, we did have the advantage in the direct home and away against Sweden but the overall goal difference in the group was theirs so they came second after France and we came third, if that was European qualifiers not World Cup qualifiers we would’ve been second in the group!!!

  9. In conclusion:), yes ajax will qualify if they beat Atalanta regardless of what happens next week against Liverpool !!!

    But that makes me nervous and brings bad memories from last year !!! Last year ajax needed just a draw against Valencia in the last game and they were playing in the arena but they lost and Valencia qualified !!!! The pessimist inside me senses a smlimialr scenario 😩😩😩

  10. @Alaa, Thanks! I was thinking that after the next round of Liverpool v. Ajax and Atalanta v. Mid., they might be faced with a too high a goal difference to realistically overcome. This is good to hear.

  11. Very good week for dutch teams 2 win and 2 draw. No team lose i think it is more than years no dutch club lose in a week in Europe.
    Next week also is hardest week. I hope we survive that.

    This week we get 6 points. 4 points more than russia. And also 3 points more than Portugal and Belgium.

  12. I watched the full 90 minutes of AZ vs sociedad!!! there was some stretches where az was very impressive. they wasted some realy good chances, too bad they did not win, but nice to see hem rival the number one in la liga table this year!!!

    and yes Calvin Stengs is pure class, his passing and vision are top !!!

    all three dutch teams in Europa league have decisive games next week, they are all in a good position but all in a risky position…could go either way at this point of the competition, but nice to see them win and draw matches after the bottom dutch teams hit over the past ten years, last year and this year dutch teams are going back up where they belong, soon will exceed Russian league in the uefa coefficient but the target should be taking over portugals spot in the sixth position right under the big 5 leagues!!

    1. Yes, excellent game to watch. AZ came out to play right from the outset. Both teams had good chances. But darn, De Witt had two superb looks, and on the header I don’t even think the keeper saw it hit his foot, Koopmeiner hit the post, and Aboukhlal really should have scored late from Boadu’s set up.

      Stengs can be frustrating and brilliant. Within five minutes today he gave the ball away twice with unforced errant passes, and then turned around and split the defense with a pass that seemed like it came out of nowhere; and it wasn’t the only time he did that.

      I have to remember that he really is just developing. Two years ago when he was just starting he had that awful knee injury; last year the season was cut short…so, really, he has only had roughly the equivalent of one full season against senior competition. And you are right; his vision and passing abilities are special.

  13. Bakker finding form for PSG and cody gapko is also playing well now. FDB has to keep a tab on such players then he can have depth in team and rotate players fearlessly.

  14. Wout Weghorst hitting form in German league. He is a good option now for the target man role in NT. Luuk De Jong vs Weghorst. FDB should call him up at least the provisional squad to have a look-in.
    I am glad the players like Botman, Schuurs, Wijndal, Bakker, Gravenberch, Gakpo, Stengs, Danjuma etc. are establishing themselves in their teams. If they can continue to improve thru the year, we will have a strong selection for Euros. 😊

  15. Gravenberg,Ihattaren,Hoever,Borgard,Boadu,Ligt,Botman,Bakker,VandenBerg,Redan,Chong,Schuur,Gakpo, Teze, Malen,Wijndal, Steng
    ,Zirkzee, Kluivert,Lang, Musaba, Kadıoğlu, Xavi, Geertruida

    our Orange future?

  16. 23-24
    Bergwijn,deJong, deBeek,Dumfries,Rosario,Riedewald,Schouten,ter Avest,Juste,Vlap,Bazoer,Groeneveld

    Matusiwa, Fosu, Zeefuik,Dilrosun,Koopmeiners,Hoogma,Veerman,Kongolo,Floranus,Sierhuis,Knoester,de Wit


    Boadu,Bakker,Botman,Schuur,Chong,Musaba,Zirkzee,Geertruida,Redan,Reis, Ekkelenkamp,Jago



    Mature utilize:


      1. We can only hope; Toure was a great player.

        @AZ, last week you left a note that you were looking for a live stream for the AZ match. If I remember right, you live in NorCal as I do. Today’s match is being broadcast live on regular cable television on a Spanish language station (TUDN, I think is the name.) Maybe you get that?

  17. Ajax 0-1 Liverpool
    Feyenoord 0-2 Dinamo Zagreb ( Croatian team)

    Psv still 0-0 against Granada
    Alkmaar losing one goal to Napoli

    I think this is the most painful week I had been watching Dutch clubs in Europe

    I’m dreaming to see one of these Dutch clubs can score a single goal but it seems not gonna happen

    Seriously what happened to Dutch football ? Especially Feyenoord… absolutely a shame to Dutch football

    Alkmaar I can see they are trying hard and still growing .

  18. Alkmaar almost won …. hopefully they have done enough to go through to the next round

    PSV brilliantly played and a fully deserved win against Napoli! Confirmed to the next round and the only Dutch team that has earned maximum coefficient points

  19. AZ and PSV manage to get results, meaning PSV’s through and AZ has a very good chance.

    Now, I’m an Ajax fan, I have Ajax tattoos and have had season tickets, but truthfully, I wouldn’t mind seeing them drop into the Europa League for a few reasons:

    1. I don’t see them advancing past the R16. Sure there is a chance, there always is with Ajax, but the team this year isn’t quality enough to make a run.
    2. They can realistically make a run in the Europa League. Again Barca/Juve/City/Bayern Ajax doesn’t compare, but against Inter/Arsenal/Milan, I’d give us a shot.
    3. It’s much better for Ajax’s coefficient and the Dutch leagues coefficient. If Ajax do manage to make the R16 in the CL, they might get another Draw and a Loss, and that’s it. If they drop into the R32 of the EL, they can realistically get another 3 or 4 wins and a few draws. I’d love for Holland to overtake Russia, so Zenit can stop being seeded in the CL Group Stage while finishing last in their group.
    4. I think it’s better for our player’s development to play against strong teams, but not unreasonably strong teams. Gravenberch won’t improve at all just chasing the ball against Barca, but he’ll have chances against Inter.
    5. (Not sure how this works) If Ajax wins the EL and takes the direct CL spot next year, does our 2nd place team get another direct spot?

    It’d be great for Ajax to make a deep EL run, maybe even win the title, and I’d love for PSV and AZ to make the quarters, I think that should be a realistic goal for them.

    Feyenoord needs to just try to score a goal.

    1. Ajax will be losing their points from the 2016-17 Europa League run next season, so they need to find ways to maintain their standing in hopes of being seeded well either in CL groups or EL draw. Once they get rid of the 2017-18 points (where they did nothing) they’ll be in a better spot.

    2. U know milan, arsenal, Tottenham r in EL. Maybe real Madrid or inter and man utd join them in EL. How ajax win EL??
      Ajax is not even near that. Brighton play better against Liverpool than ajax

  20. Really positive about last night.
    Psv play against granada which is 8th in Spanish league with same point as barca. Psv was better team and show they can beat many teams in EL. They r in next stage now. But next week is too important for our coefficient. Also Dumfries injured. I hope he back as soon as possible.

    Az alkmar
    They play against 5th of Italy which is in same point with juve. Alkmar was really impressive. They need a win to go to next round.

    Play good. Just they cannot score a goal but they r the better team. Again penalty kill a game for them . Feyenoord last game is with wolfsberger. Woflsberger is not in good mood they lost 4 of their 8 game in their league. Feyenoord can go to next round with a win

  21. From these two weeks.

    Each Netherlands  teams play to games.

    Thi is for 2 weeks of CL and EL

    About our opponent:
    Russia     4 point    total 25
    Portugal   9 point    total 32
    Belgium   8 point   total 27
    Ukraine    6 point   total 24
    Austria     7 point    total  28.5
    Scotland  3 point    total    25
    Turkey   2 point     total   15.5
    Swiss    2 point      total    14.5
    Greece  0 point    total 20.5
    Neterlands   9 point      total   32

    Russia     38.2
    Netherlands   36.4
    Belgium    35.9
    Austria  34.8

    Totally We need just 2 to beat russia which means 10 points in games. Who knows if az and psv and feyenoord win this week and ajax draw against atalanta we get 7 points from 10 and 4 team in EL for next round

  22. Yes; excellent result from AZ last night. Props to Arne Slot; the team played with real belief. Keupmeiners led them; Bizot made a couple of big plays; and Wijndal was their best player; what a motor that guy has.

    1. Bakker, wijndal, stengs, Malen,Gakpo, Gravenberch, Botman, dilrosun,veerman,Lang, Danjuma should be genuine contenders come qatar WC.

      In the meanwhile if FDB stays as coach, he needs to bring this guys on board perhaps after the euros and seriously no bullshits selection like klaassen, berghuis and others who simply are dragging the team.

      1. I’d hope the 23 he selects for the Euros looks like:

        GK – Cillesen, Zoet, Bizot
        DEF – van Dijk, de Ligt, de Vrij, Blind, Ake, Bakker, Dumfries
        MID – de Jong, Wijnaldum, van de Beek, Gravenberch, Koopmeiners, Klaassen,
        FW – Depay, Stengs, Malen, Luuk de Jong, Gakpo

        And then 2 more young guys, whoever’s peaking at the time.

  23. Arne Slot made it clear to AZ management that he would not renew his contract this summer for another 2-year term. Media says that AZ does not want a coach who would not be 100% focused on AZ. From the other side, they did not fire John vDB that abruptly when he said that he would go to Utrecht. Why because the already had Slot on board. Current AZ management does not want to let their employee go to their major competitors, Ajax, Feyenoord, and PSV. That might have been a reason why Arne was fired immediately. However, I do not think AZ management is that childish. They have known for awhile that Arne will not extend his contract. I assume they have been in a search for a replacement and found a coach who is currently available. AZ management moved fast to vacate the head coach seat for that candidate fearing that he would be captured by another club. That is my opinion. It a is tough decision which will affect the players ahead of such a tight calendar. I think we should hear about Slot’s replacement very soon.

    1. I believe Cocu and van Bommel are available now. The latter would match AZ style and culture. AZ likes to bring head coaches with big names. Slot was the only exception but he will be a big name very soon.

      1. Unless, AZ has a lot of faith in Pascal Jansen. I personally do not know a lot about Pascal Jansen, only the fact that he was Slot’s assistant. He has had only 2 years of coaching experience.

  24. AZ lost to Groningen 1:2. Again the same scenario: stupid (because there was no need for that hard tackle) red card led to the collapse of the team that we have seen this year already fifth times. After my emotions regarding Arne’s dismissal have passed, I started thinking of what if Huiberts was right that Slot had not been fully focused on AZ. When I looked back at the season so far, including today game, there is one clear pattern that Slot as a coach was unable to discipline his team: 5 red and ~~12 yellow cards in only 10 games which resulted in the loss of 11 points…Something to think about. It is the same team as last year but the level of emotional intelligence has gone really down and that is the coach’s job to work on. Please, do not take me wrong, I was and have been a huge fan of Arne Slot as he brought AZ to the next level. I also think that he is one of the brightest young coaches of the Netherlands. However, I do not want to blame Huiberts for this prompt decision either. Perhaps, the series of really poor games of AZ in Eredivisie and the fact that Arne has been secretly in communication with Feyenoord, forced Huiberts to act promptly. Bottomeline, it has been brewing in AZ, it is not just one rumor caused this decision to sack Arne Slot.

      1. @derekvdberg91, I do not know but he normally does not come to AZ games regularly. His presence there might be a good sign. It would be good if he takes care of the team until the end of season. For some reason, I think van Bommel will be approached too.

        1. I think van Gaal has a good reputation in AZ since he won the title there. If he were to step in, I hope that the board would give him realistic goals, and hope one of them would be a run in Europa League. They have the team to cause upsets, but it would need to be a priority.

          1. I believe the priority is to be at least the second in Eredivise to qualify to the group stage of the CL. Primary goal is CL money. Even though AZ have lost quite a bit of points so far, it is still feasible. AZ need a leader who will establish a discipline as in general team is in good shape. With respect to EL, for AZ the goal is to reach the knock out stage. Honestly, after what I saw today, I do not think AZ will be able to pull a positive results against Rijeka in this state of mind. I understand Huiberts logics but he should have waited for at least one week….

  25. Joey Veerman was the man of the match vs PSV. Watched the extended highlights and he put in a good shift in the midfield. It could have been due to PSV playing 4-4-2 but again this is the type of games he needed to show his class which he did. A bigger club should be next on his resume.

    Joel Piroe also scored PSV equalizer coming off the bench. 2-2 and points shared in the end.

  26. @AZ, Derekvdberg91;

    I have not seen AZ play any league matches this year. After seeing both of their matches against both Napoli and RS, I have to admit being puzzled at how they have struggled in the Eredivisie…complacency maybe, a lack of the right mentality to bring their best every game? LVG could be very good for them. I’m thinking that Stengs, especially, could benefit from him.

    1. @Andrew,
      I agree with you, AZ need strong mature leader such as LvG, Dick Advocaat etc. However, I think van Bommel with his charisma would fit the role too.

    2. The results come from AZ being the under-dog, absorbing pressure and then hitting hard on the counter.

      In the Eredivisie, AZ holds the possession and needs to find a way to cut through 10 men sitting in their own half, which they struggle more with.

  27. Looking from how things are rolling, I would say the stage is setting up for the next big generation for NT. There shouldnt be any hindrance from now onwards and everybody just needs to stay put and just keep focusing on what they are going.

    Being said this AZ is a important piece of this puzzle and if they can retain all the players for another season, it would be great and even greater if they can win the Eredivisie.

    Apart from whats unfolding in the back ground for AZ, it also has to be taken into considerations the # of games they are playing and how its is gonna affect them overall in eredivisie. The same is happening to Ajax and teams with good depth is likely to prosper here. The fatigue factor will take it toll on players especially those who feature conservatively.

    Vitesse and especially twente are enjoying a good outings so far and could be in the running and take advantage of the situation of the teams that are playing in CL and EL.

  28. @Wilson, retention of players will largely depend on whether AZ can qualify for the CL. Even with that it is going to be hard to retain Koopmeiners…

  29. @Derekvdberg91; I agree with you on AZ’s tactics for at the first three of the matches against Napoli and RS, but they didn’t bunker in and look to counter in the last game against Napoli…part of this was because Napoli scored early and then sat back…after AZ tied the match, both teams played open. It was a fun game. As I said, I haven’t seen their Eredivisie matches, so I am sure you are right. They just have to figure it out.

    Wilson is right about depth. But, to me, AZ seems to have good depth with their forwards, and the rb who took Svensson’s spot looked fine. Can’t say for the mf or central defense. AZ-forever can comment on that much better than I can. And any loss of Stengs, Wijndal or Keupmeiners would be devastating. Also, it hurts to say this, but it is hard to see them keeping Keupmeiners, Wijndal and Stengs next year; especially if they don’t qualify for the CL. Fingers crossed for Thursday so they can keep a European run alive.

    1. Norway will be a tricky team in the next set of Qualifiers. I expect they’ll be our biggest adversaries, while Turkey is always dangerous as well.

      1. Yep, agree. Any team with Odegaard and Haaland is dangerous. And both of those teams have previously finished ahead of NL in qualification groups.

        Still, I’d say of the pot 1 teams, Italy, Spain and Portugal have to be the most unhappy.

        1. I would say Turkey is above Norway as they pose a mix of both very under rated and established players. Hakan Çalhanoğlu (Milan), Merih Demiral (Juventus),Çağlar Söyüncü (Leicester City),Cenk Tosun (Everton),Ozan Tufan (Fenerbache) and the underrated ones being Cengiz Ünder (Roma/ Leicester), and former talented Man City youth product Enes Ünal now at Getefe. the Lille contingent as well.

          turkey should the biggest treat to NT as they also have very good depth in the squad and if everybody is available on the match day.

          1. being said this FDB needs to call up players like gakpo, Bakker, Lang, Danjuma,veerman,gravenberch,Boadu,Lammers and matusiwa and build the depth in the team. Montenegro,Latvia,Gibraltar games should be used to do this.

  30. All groups:

    Group A: Portugal, Serbia, Rep of Ireland, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan
    Group B: Spain, Sweden, Greece, Georgia, Kosovo
    Group C: Italy, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Lithuania
    Group D: France, Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan
    Group E: Belgium, Wales, Czech Republic, Belarus, Estonia
    Group F: Denmark, Austria, Scotland, Israel, Faroe Islands, Moldova
    Group G: Netherlands, Turkey, Norway, Montenegro, Latvia, Gibraltar
    Group H: Croatia, Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta
    Group I: England, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra, San Marino
    Group J: Germany, Romania, Iceland, North Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein

    1. I can see all the group leaders qualifying except for NT. its is a very tricky pool considering only the group winners will qualify and plus best runner up.if Turkey gets the sniff like in 2016 they will go for it and hopefully the decider will not be in Istanbul again . however if worse comes to worse and if NT does finish second, either of Russia or Croatia (runner up GH) should await them which again is something NT should avoid and im not sure if it will still be one leg or two come the playoffs.

      still remains to be seen what the selection will be like and who is performing how at their respective club levels. also a lot will be concluded come at the end of the euros, who should remain and who should go.

  31. Watched the game yesterday Man Utd against RBL

    I must say Justin kluivert has really impressed me

    And I am shocked that I am saying this myself

    I am one of the few who had been counted him out before , but if you watched him yesterday than you know what I mean now

    He had shown a great improvement and now plays a lot Mature than before . He plays with a lot of confidence and passion and really got the Man Utd defensive players nervous

    And bang he scored the third goal for RBL

    If he keeps improving like this I’m 100% that we will see him in the Oranje short again .

    I am a fan of malen and stengs but I don’t think kluivert is any level worse than these two

  32. Bittersweet match for me. As an Ajax fan I obviously want us to win, but thinking long term for the team, dropping into the EL might be better. We serve to make more revenue by making a run in the Europa League as opposed to getting bounced in the Round of 16 of the CL. It also will help both Ajax’s coefficient and Holland’s coefficient going forward to make a run in Europa League.

  33. Interesting to see that when Tagliafico came off for Huntelaar, Gravenberch has slipped back into almost a CB role, similar to what Frenkie would do.

  34. Ajax got a red yesterday and got kicked out of the champions league

    Tonight it seems it may happen to AZ Alkmaar

    I’m watching the AZ game and they are facing a Croatian team that looks like they are playing a final .

    AZ have missed at least two must score goals and now they look like they gonna get kicked out of the tournament also .

    A very disappointed outplay by AZ

  35. The Croatian team played with passion

    They all look like they have won the World Cup
    Once a friend told me , never underestimate any Croatian team. Now I got it

  36. Alkmar lose their easiest game. What the hell feyenoord did with them?? Feyenoord ruin them. Arne slot ruin alkmar and now they r out of EL. Sad story. Really sad. They cannot even get a draw in that game. Till 90 minutes almaar was in next round. Then everything ruined.
    I cannot understand why ur coach off when u r in most important week.
    We see something in NT Football which don’t happened even in Asian countries.

  37. As I predicted, AZ lost and it is out of EL. However, this is not the end of the downfall of AZ. We will see many lost games in Eredivisie in December. I do not like playing a blame game. However, AZ management is the only to blame for this stupid, emotion-driven decision to sack Slot. The start of the season was rough but we could see that Slot had been slowly taking the team out of that shit show. We played very well in Europe and got four victories in a row in Eredivisie. Suddenly this decision…You will see it will go very bad unless they bring someone who can repair team moral and bring back the discipline. Knowing how slow Huiberts is with hiring, I see very difficult season for my team.

      1. @Wilson, several things are going on with Boadu:

        1. Evolution very typical to many talented Dutch players: bright promising beginning, then plateauing. Compared to last year Boadu has not improved his efficiency. His 20% goal scoring efficiency has stayed almost the same.
        2. COVID situation brought an additional complexity.

        These two reasons led to the loss of confidence which was manifested by being benched. Imagine how devastating it could be for 20 y.o.kid, who was invited to play Oranje 2-3 months ago, suddenly to be dropped to the bench and being replaced by mediocre Gudmundsson….

        I also suspect that Boadu’s current situation at AZ was a point of conflict brewing between Slot and Huiberts. The latter wants to see AZ stars always in the main selection regardless of their performance to keep their market value high. Whereas Slot was absolutely right to drop Boadu to the bench to show that he was replaceable.

        Since I touched Huiberts-Slot conflict, I also would like to mention that Slot was very unhappy about Huiberts slow motion decision to purchase a central defender early in the season.

        Anyway, Slot’s dismissal is not an overnight decision, it has been brewing and I think Huiberts used this opportunity to get rid of him ASAP without having proper succession plan. This especially odd considering that he knew about Arne’s decision not to extend the contract.

        1. I think they could have at the very least wait 1 week until AZ moved through the group stage. That would give their replacement 2 months to work with the team.

          1. @Derekvdberg91
            That is exactly what I wrote in AZ fan page in twitter. This urgent and senseless dismissal tells me about very strong ego clashes between Huiberts and Slot.

  38. Im looking at Feyenoord’s performance in Europa league and it again goes on to show that Berghuis is an average player outside of eredivisie and is never a big game player or game changer. This is the type of player selection where NT is going wrong and at the same time blocking off others who should be selected. The same goes for klaassen. If these two are selected again in NT, the NT is F#cked.

    This is something I just hate seeing and boils me up at the same time. They select players who are destined to decline and then have to start all over again when its srarts backfiring.

  39. Really wanted to see four Dutch teams playing in the knockout stages

    Maybe we have to face the reality we are just still not ready . We are not strong enough . Even these teams we never heard of , they are not a pussy cat , they can be really fighting like lions .( Rijeka )

    Feyenoord- there is simply no leader . Not until a new bunch of generation are arising or a new coach with charisma , I don’t see feyenoord will be much different in the next two years

    AZ Alkmaar – honestly they did try their best I can see . They had the passion they had a leader , they were just not experienced enough

    Only Ajax and PSV I can see them fighting with confidence . And that’s cos of all the accumulated experience they gave gained all these years

    One Dutch team PSV contributed for the coefficient ranking . All the other 3 did Nothing . I am very very sad

    1. @Yan,
      I respectfully disagree about your comment related to AZ Alkmaar. AZ is quite an experienced participant in EL and if it is not the situation with Slot’s dismissal they would have easily won Rijeka.

  40. Well, stating the obvious, that was a disastrous week for Dutch club teams.

    AZ-forever and Derekvdberg91 are absolutely correct; simply no need for Slot to be let go the week before the biggest European game of the year; and just after his team had put in a strong performance against RS. It seems to becoming more commonplace in all sports for coaches to be undervalued and really considered almost fungible by a certain breed of upper management—people who think that having assembled the talent per a particular vision, anyone can stand in front of a greaseboard to set out strategy. It is ridiculous, of course, to discount the emotional connection players have with their coach; especially when they have bonded over success. The most important thing any team brings into a game is belief, a trust that their coach has put them in the best position to succeed. Anything less than trust, and teams play tentative, waiting for something good to happen, and that never bodes well. AZ never seemed like they had that against Rijeka. The comments by Huiberts that AZ needs someone who is committed to AZ is nothing more than corporate speak. Sounds good, means nothing. There is not a shred of evidence that Slot would have been any less committed to the preparation of his team for the Rijeka match after the Feyenoord rumors began than before.

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