The Best of the 2018World Cup

The best of this 2018 World Cup is definitely this wonderful Neymar Alphabet typeface. Some Brazilian went creative and made this and it’s just too funny (and smart).

I didn’t like this World Cup much, to be honest. Sure, partly due to Oranje not being there. And we lost in the qualifications against the eventual World Cup winners. Nice excuse. But we wouldn’t have done so badly in Russia, I don’t think. The only team to really impress from day 1 to the end was Croatia for me.

And yes, Modric does look like Cruyff. And like Cruyff in 1974, Modric didn’t win the World Cup but he will be remembered mostly, like our Johan was back then.

Please challenge my opinion below if you must. Belgium was hot and cold. Lukaku was good in the group stages but wasteful in the knock out stages. Mertens, invisible. Dembele sadly unused.

It’s fun to make fun of Neymar, but truth be told: he clearly wasn’t 100% fit to play

France played negative football. You had the most impressive players (Lacazet, Audambayang, Rabiot weren’t needed for instance, Payet wasn’t missed) paired with a defensive, fearful coach. MBappe’s speed was sacred and France got some help from te VAR here and there too. Won’t go into the history books as a great winner (like the 1998 French team). Their striker Giroud had no shots on goal in 500+ minutes of football. The Dutch satire newspaper De Speld even broke the news Giroud actually missed three hi-fives after winning the World Cup….

The rest? England? Clueless with the ball. Russia. Nice, fun, underdogs, like Wales and Iceland at the Euros2016 but quality? Not really? Spain, Argentina, Germany, Portugal, woeful really.

VAR ref Danny Makkelie

And then the VAR! Messy to say the least. Lack of consistency, lack of clarity. Who takes the decision at the end? The ref or the VAR ref? When is hands hands? Why can two players pull a Serbia striker down to the ground? Why can Sweden’s Berg be tackled from behind in the box? Too many question marks.

So, no Mr Infantino. It was not a great World Cup.

Yes, the tv coverage was great. The stadiums were full. The vibe in Russia appeared to be awesome. But the quality of the football was below par.

Back to the season prep for the national competitions then.

I won’t go into all the different transfer news items, as it’s an ongoing thing and I don’t post enough to keep track and all of you abreast of the situation.

But there are some nice things to share:

Ajax is bringing some top quality to the Eredivisie! Dujan Tadic, Daley Blind… Nice one. Labyad from FC Utrecht is coming in. Per Schuurs is in Amsterdam. And Ziyech hasn’t left yet. Yowza!

But Frenkie de Jong’s transfer to Barcelona is an ongoing topic in the Spanish papers, while Mathijs de Ligt might also still be lured away, now he’s with super agent Raiola.

Feyenoord is losing some key players. Karim El Ahmadi is gifted a free transfer to Saudi Arabia, but it seems Sven van Beek is on his way to Cocu’s Fenerbahce. Sadly, only for 5,5 mio euros, for some reason. Unbelievable really. De Ligt is worth 50 mio apparently? But Van Beek only 1/10th of that?

But Feyenoord is planning to have Jordy Clasie come back, on loan from Southampton and is hoping to get Leroy Fer back as well.

PSV is still scoping on a new midfielder, now Marco van Ginkel is out with a heavy knee injury again and back in London. Mark van Bommel is the real big signing for PSV of course.

It’s good for the Eredivisie to have some European top players return. A stronger competition is good for everyone.

Bookmark and Share


  1. I hope Ajax can hold on to Frenkie de jong and de Ligt for one more season. These two have so much potential, I would hate to see them sit on the bench at a big club if they don’t impress right away. I know the temptation is too hard to resist. IMO, Barca or whichever top club is looking at them seriously should buy them and loan them back to Ajax for another season so they can continue their development and get game time.

    Neymar, really needs to mature and work on improving his reputation. The diving, overacting, diva-like behavior needs to stop and the focus should be on his football.

    Giroud not scoring after nearly 600 minutes of play is embarrassing. France also had another useless striker the last time they won the WC. Giroud is useful at times with his work rate, passing and drawing the attention of the opposing centerbacks but at the end of the day, he is the starting striker and needs to score! Benzema should have been included despite whatever legal issues he had in the past.

  2. I am super happy this is over. What an ordeal, a WK without the Oranje. There were a couple of good games, I personally liked:

    Mexico Germany
    Brazil Belgium and
    Japan Belgium the best

    We also saw some errors from goalkeepers that are unusual for good goalkeepers who are also in good form (both Subasic and Lloris were terrible at the final and they were both in great shape at that moment). Food for thought. Soccer is unpredictable and errors are bound to happen.

    One more thing that we see every time is that small countries don’t seem to be able to get the job done till the end. Even in this WK with so many big names out completely or out of shape France was never questioned in perhaps the most noncompetitive final I have seen for a while now (1982?)

    Yes I am getting to my point 🙂 Holland is the only “small” country that can get the job done. Hard fought appearances in finals in 74/78/10. In 78 we played the “semifinal group” with Italy and Germany. In 2010 we had to go through Brazil. And we came super close in very compettive finals. We played till the very last minute.
    Own mistakes in 74, Robbery in 78, Bad Luck in 2010 but all 3 times the thing was super competitive from the 1st to the last minute.

    And I am wondering, having been on the planet for half a century will I ever see the Oranje World Champions?

    from 74 to 14 we been to 5 out of 10 semifinals. So since we didn’t make it last time, should we hope that in Qatar we will be in the semi? That would be really nice 🙂

  3. I reckon NT has what it takes to reach far in Qatar but the road to Qatar must start in euro 2020 and the qualifiers.Nation league is up next and this should be used to add more depth into the team and then access the areas of it is midfield and LB is the probably areas that needs more depth and this is where koeman should invest more come nations league and before the euro qualifers begins. by the heights of the euro qualifiers and leading to the euros certain players that will go to Qatar should at least be locked preliminarily. come after the euros if there is a need for changes,at least a considerable depth will have already being built. if you look at french side that lost the euro finals to Portugal.only Umtiti,Progba,Matudi,Giroud,Griezz, kante (bench)(payet and Koscielny injured) were those who featured in this years WC.
    the rest came on the back of good club performance.Pavard, Hernandez, Mbappe,Tolisso,fekir,Nzonzi etc. I think the same platform should be used by NT and koeman on road to Qatar.what koeman needs to do is bring in a contingent of players who are overall balanced and have depth to execute the job required.

    you look at Benjamin Pavard (France -Stuttgart). he only played 107 minutes before the world cup and yet he put in a big performance at the biggest stage. These are the things or quality which koeman needs to able to identify in players and not necessarily where they are playing. players like Riedewald, El Ghazi, Zivkovic,Locadia have not not hit the ground rolling at their parent clubs but they still have qualities which could fuel more thrust in NT. so why not.

    1. from where Im looking from and as mentioned by others. our back line in the only department with considerable depth. Van Dijk,Bruma, De Vrij,De Ligt, Ake,Riedewald should be a lock.if by 2022 if any of Kik pierie or Van Drongelen come off to take the centre stage at club level, maybe they should be relooked at otherwise this has be the strong hold for NT.
      Full backs karsdorp,Janmaat, Hateboer, Tete and Fesu Mensah should be bracketed on the right and kevin Diks if any, should he shift up another level at fiorentina by 2022.

      on the left I would say it all up for grabs.

      upfront I would say its time to inject some new faces and build up some chemistry with Depay in the fore front. Kluivert,Locadia,groeneveld,El Ghazi, Promes Zivkovic and stengs when he recovers fully.this guys have enough individual qualities to raid any team.its jus matter of more game time at NT level which can boost their confidence level.

      the midfield, i would say is biggest challenge for koeman and most probably will require a lot experiments within the time time frame leading to 2022.

      1. I think Koeman is the right person for the job. He is realistic and with already considerable experience both as a player and also as a coach. Even if don’t achieve winning the next World Cup due to lack of good midfielders, maybe he will set the basis for 2026… hoping that new talent will show up to be added to Frenkie De Jong and co….

        In any case our players have to try harder. That in itself ups the team one level up…

        At least now we have something to be looking forward to. I am still so disappointed we didn’t take it home 10/14. We could have …

  4. I thought it was fantastic WC even without NT. I have seen many great games, great quality football, and super atmosphere in the stadium. Finally, France really deserved to be a WC winner regardless of how they achieved it. I wish Oranje had won WC by playing ugly…Alas, it has not happened yet.

    1. I had Belgium and France as Final but unfortunately they collided in the semis.croatia and Uruguay were my two underdog teams. If cavani wouldnt have gotten injured, they could have taken France to the wire. They also had a very balanced squad but unfortunately no depth.

      I think this world cup will be remembered for two things. VAR introduction and Neymars falls.

  5. The world cup seems to just average as far as quality of games is concerned. The biggest lesson is win any how but playing to the gallery doesn’t pay so a lesson for Netherlands as well in this here.

  6. When we played “ugly” in 2010 and reached the final, everyone criticized us for not being entertaining. Even Cruyff expressed his support for Spain. Even in 2014, except for the Spain game, we didn’t really set the world on fire either. Well, France played a similar style focused on counter-attacks this year and won. Those same people who dismissed Van Marwick are now hailing Deschamps as a genius.

    Note to Kidman: Ignore any suggestion for the so-called experts who can’t think beyond 4-3-3. Choose the style/formation that fits the players you have, not the other way round. Do whatever it takes but JUST WIN.

      1. I agree 100%! As a nation that has never won a WC in it’s history, winning should be the most important goal!

        I’m not saying we should adopt Van Marwijk’s or Deschamps style football. We shouldn’t play every single game worrying about style, tradition or pleasing fans. Have the flexibility to switch tactics against superior opposition to grind out a win. If that means being cautious or defensive then so be it.


    We gonna have an Army of new forwards very soon ! Can’t wake for them all to shine !

    What do you guys think ? I can’t wait to see how the chemistry will be such As Chong partnering depay , or with redan And stengs etx

    How do you guys rate them ? I’m sure a few of them Will shine in the upcoming season

    1. All of them look very promising. I like Stengs and Redan. These guys need regular playing time and decent competition to develop. The problem has been the big clubs poaching them for pocket change and stashing them on the bench. It stunts the players growth and Dutch clubs also lose revenue as opposed to selling a mature and developed player. That in return affects the overall quality of the domestic league and their competitiveness in European competitions.

    2. These talents could be deserve to be in the list


      They have already reach senior level at very young age & have massive potential & also clean-sheet at their clubs.

          1. Chong and Redan still need to play in first team or at competitive level aimed at loan. Eiting is in the same boat as other before him like to that of VdBeek and DE jong, klaassen and bazoer. they look good in distributing but grit aint there.offensively he looks to have it but defensively is where all have to prove themselves.

  8. im expecting a good competition in eredivisie this season.vitesse, heerenveen and AZ will provide stiff competition to the big three this season as they have bolstered their squad with potentially some good transfers.

    AZ will welcome Boadu and Stengs and helmer back after injuries. they have signed Bergsma, Dekker and savastano from Jong Ajax, they have also signed raising gk Rody De Boer .Veijonic was signed permanently from Feyenoord as well. De Santos, Friday has also returned form the loans spells. the only department they will need to reinforce now is of a good striker for weghorst replacement and who is lethal in front of goal. If not Boadu will get his big break this season.

    heerenveen looked good last season after the transfers but their strikers let them down.reza ghoochannejhad (8) and veerman (4) only scored 12 goals between them and further injuries to schaars and thorsby also didnt help. the good news is Lammers has joined them on loan and should definitely be an upgrade to Veerman as ghoochannejhad as left.this could also be break through season for lammers and he just needs to hit the ground rolling as fast and as hard as possible. Dumfries who was another hit for them , left for PSV and has has been replaced by another raising talent ,Sherel Floranus of sparta.rodney Kongolo (city) and nemanja Mihajlovic (FK Partizan Belgrade)are other new signing which could give them a good depth with Jan Olde Riekerink at the helm as new coach.

    Vitesse is team im putting my money on , though im not sure of their new coach Russian Leonid Slutsky who coached Hull city last seasson. Apart from him, Luc castaignos has left for Sporting and most probably Thomas buitink could get more playing as Matavz backup.though they have signed another Algerian striker Oussama Darfalou. the chelsea contentigent has also left and this time around has been only replaced by experienced portguese gk Eduardo and defender Jake Clarke-Salter as Matt Miazga replacement. they have also signed defenders Danilho Doekhi from Jong Ajax and Rasmus Thelander (FC Zürich ), fullbacks Khalid Karami (SBV Excelsior)and Max Clark (hull city), midfielder Matúš Bero (Trabzonspor) and exicting Nigerian Winger
    Hilary Gong from (FK AS Trenčín). and with experienced player like buttner, foor,linssen,beerens , serero,bruns and Matavz taking the centre, they can build a formiddble starting 11.

  9. jay roy grot is another player to be looked out for at VVV-Velno.his first season at leeds didnt go as planned and maybe a stint at home will get his mojo running again. he could also be in contention for u21s as he wasoverlooked due to less playing time at leeds. bit suprised though VVV let their star man clint leemans and vito van crooj join PEC zwolle

  10. AZ won quite easily Panatinaikos 2:0 in friendly. Bodou played as a left winger, Friday – central, and Idriassi -right winger / free stiker. Bodou scored the opener and Friday made it 2:0. There is no still news about the status of Jahanbakhsh. Neither have I heard about the status of van Wolfswinkel as a rellacement for Weghorst.

  11. Sorry Wilson , no Klaasen please

    Never in another 100 years will he become oranje material

    Koeman has given up in him already and said he’s very dissapointed with him

    His failure in the premier league has proven he was simply overrated . Very overrated and i don’t even know how the hell he got captain of ajax

    Compared to van der beek and frankie de Jong , he is no where close to their level even

    1. I was just taking him as an example when he was coming up in ranks.some even started comparing if with Bergkamp ( iceman). Its always the case when you are playing for Ajax. Hope that era will diminish under Koeman.

  12. Im starting to love this PSV squad.maybe its too early say this ,but Im starting to get Ajax95 vibe seeing them play, though I admit I wasnt following them back then. Im starting to believe now, big things are coming for NT. Hope I havent jump to the gun too early.

  13. Frank wormuth the Heracles trainer said on differences between Germans and dutch so its not just about talent only then this is what he says “What was the difference? The Dutch players did not seem to understand that a game lasts ninety minutes. You must accept that there is always a phase in which the opponent is better. When the Germans trailed 2-1, they went looking for 2-2. If the Netherlands gave away a 2-1 lead, they were immediately upset. And with a 3-2 deficit they gave up. Really, that was the case almost every race”. ‘

  14. Sam lammers has already notched up 5 goals in as many games for heerenveen in the clubs friendlys . He is already being compared to Young Van Nistelroy and Huntelaar during their stay at Heereveen.good times to come for him.

  15. If talking about the real dutch striker who playing for big club at senior level, this is only guy that we have Joshua Zirkzee,he just scored for Bayern, hopeful he can continue growing & get clean-sheet at Germany, we should forget about Jansen as he proved he just mediocre cannot reach top class level.

      1. I think most of first time players of big teams are still on holiday especially those who went to the same time this gives others the oppountity to impress the coach. Zirkzee is still 18 and after the pre season he will have to settle for the youth team. But as I always exposes like this is always supplments development even though you dont get to play for first team. Some where down the road this will become a stepping ground for them.

        Maybe its time the KNVB start investing in this guys rather then waiting for them to start playing for the first team. Zirkzee was actually dropped from squad won the euro u17s.

        1. Wow, i also believe Dutch young talents at Chelsea & MU have more potentials & massive talent than that guy, but eveyone know that Chelsea academy 90% flop & Mou is not good manager to motivate lads, that what’s i concern.

  16. what do you guys think about Tahith Chong?

    Jose Mourinho says he got the technic, he got the speed and everything , but he is not muscled enough.

    I would rather have Mourinho lend him out to another premier league club, otherwise i’m sure he wont get any playing chances.

    do you guys really think he needs to build up his muscles, or is it just an excuse for Mourinho NOT playing him in the 1st team

    1. Considering what happened to martial and Rasford when Mourinho arrived, its clear he likes players who have complete package or in Chongs case he needs to prove himself beyond doubt and that he is up to the level of current players in the club. This is what he was quoted saying on what he is after when he awarded the mangers player award to Scott McTominay.

      “I always say that for me there are not young players or old players, it is just about the quality of the personality and this kid has everything that I want, so I think that it is good for the younger boys in the academy to look at him as an example of player.

      “We know it is important to have players like Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford that were born in the club, but you need to have the right profile. Scott shows to other players that the dream is still alive.”

      1. A loan move also has to be considered carefully as sometimes it does work out aimed at game time they receive.rodney kongolo went through the same thing at Doncester Rovers where he only received late camoes roles or where there injuries . .

    2. I know Mourinho is a very divisive character but looking at his career, he likes veteran players who have proved themselves. He is not the type of manager who is going to take a risk and play rookies. He is not patient with them and is not willing to go through the growing pains. Just look at De Bruyne and Salah.

      IMO, looking at Chong, what Mourinho said is fair to a point. Since premier league play is fast and supposedly very physical compared to others, it’s not a bad idea. That doesn’t mean he needs to be a gym rat and bulk up like a body builder. Just enough to resist tough challenges and be strong on his feet.

      If he can manage a loan deal to a a premier league team that’ll give him quality playing minutes, then I would say mission accomplished. I doubt he’ll get any meaningful first team minutes under Mourinho next season.

        1. More over Depay put weight and bulked with muscles,he got schooled in EPl as winger,but still skinny ashly young is playing…Bulked players play for second class team very soon…..

  17. Thanks guys , exactly my thoughts

    Well it will be a big shame that he won’t get the playing times . He’s 19 and it’s the best time for him to shine , look at robben and Van Persie back then

    Same worries goes to Daishwan Redan! His chances will be higher in Chelsea ?

    It really hurts if our talents will get no chances and wasting their time . And both of them are strikers which is what our team urgently needs now

    Good we still got Malens , Stengs and Vente. Hope one of them will shine in 2018

    As for Justin Kluivert ,I will wait and see ……

  18. Club brugge started their 2018- 2019 campagin by winning the belgian super cup after defeating Standard Liege 2-1. The dutch contingent Vormer, Groeneveld and Denswil all played full 90 minutes and Groeneveld picked up the assist on the first goal. Though he was deployed at wingback and was more subject to penetrating runs and crosses which was effective

    I would say after a time a left footed winger has jumped onto the scene for NT and I would like to see this guy to follow persic footsteps or even better Robben.

  19. Christian Pulisic, the only bright spot for American football, scored twice today for Dortmund in a friendly vs Liverpool.

    Which leads me to wonder, whatever happened to Peter Bosz?

      1. Virgil looked solid, and it’s nice to see his size and finishing ability put to use, but that header probably should have been saved.

        Dortmund’s backline looked as sketchy as it did under Bosz. Maybe he wasn’t the problem?

        It’s just an early friendly, but I thought Keita looked wasteful. Wijnaldum should be alright as long as he keeps progressing…

        1. vIRGIL IS NICE NICE FINISHER AS WELL..Just look at his brilliant goal vs Portugal…Bas Dost cannot do that..
          We can use him as Pinch hitter for the team in final 10 minutes….by introducing another CB for him..

  20. AZ has reached agreement with Brighton regarding Alireza transfer to Championship club. Transfer fee will be around 25 million Euro. Good for AZ in terms of finances but attack needs to be strengthened if AZ wants to survive in Europe. They rented Romanian right winger from Brugge meaning that they will not rely on Calvin Stengs this season. Calvin will start training regularly after six weeks…

    1. I forgot Friday and DD Santos are both back after their loan spell. Could well add depth to the team anyway. Helmer to looked promising before he got injured.

      1. Yes, you are right, Wilson. They both are back from their loan spell. Friday has scored every single game during preparation friendlies but I do not think van den Brom will rely on him. He wants a reinforcement in the attack by bringing either Wolfswinkel or Bjorn Johnsen from ADO. With respect to Dabney, his development stopped two years ago and no progress has been seen so far.

        1. Im jus wondering if Van der Brom is having a good relation with him. I still remember he also had a good pre season in 2017/ 2018 as well but ended up playing for Jong AZ. After the departure of Robert Muhren it was clear Friday would the backup to Weghorst but he was suprisingly loaned out to sparta.what do you think?

  21. I was also thinking it will be quiet of a showdown come the second half qualification of the euro u21 in september. Lammers will defintely go in with more confidence now that he has being active at Heerenveen in pre season and defintely when the season starts proper. zivkovic also after initially being subjected to off the bench cameos has clawed his way into starting lineup.groeneveld deintely made his mark in the super cup win for Club brugge and he will no doubt be frontrunner for them when Season srarts proper as well. Malen, gakpo have also hit the groynd rolling at PSV and should be subject to playing time under mark van bommel.both have had a good pre season.kluivert, im not very sure what are his chances at Roma. Watched few of Roma pre season game highlights and he basically ended up trying to take everybody on and couldnt link up. Has big competition to fend off in the likes of El Sharwaay, under, perroti,and schick who can also play on the wing. I think it will take him some time to start knocking on the NT door and in the mean time he could concentrate on u21s. Bacuna in midfield has joined Huddersfield and again which should boost his development big time and with more game time. Kevin diks is also receiving good reviews in pre season for Fiorentina but it will left to be seen if he can break into the starting 11 when season starts proper. Dumfries for me is good fullback in the making but he needs to slightly balance his defensive qualities otherwise he should be the starter. Not to mention Kadioglu has also joined Fenerbahce under cocu and this should again be a good booster for him.

    If Jong orange has to qualify for the tournment, by the end of april when the season will end,and with no injuries this squad will be flourishing with high confidence level big time, and this can well become a solid platform for tranisition to NT. This is really what you what to see , a good and smooth transition.

    Stengs, boadu, bakker, vente and gravenberch are other players who can potentially break into the squad given their outings for first team.

    Could be one hell of team should they qualify.hopefully the coaches will make the right selection and dont mess up.

    1. Bakker is also 18 and I rate him above Malacia.the only difference is Bakker will find it hard getting first teams minutes while Malacia and Haps could well be rotated by GVB. Haps has become injury prone as well so Malacia will get a head start.lets also dont forget about Juan Familia-Castillo who also is 18.

  22. Boadu and Stengs are top notch players it seems..Dont know much about Redan..he seems a deal too..
    with frenkie,Deligt and kongolo joins them ,we have real team..

  23. In other news Turkish side Kayserispor have signed Tjaronn chery from Guizhou Zhicheng. Its a shame that he was overlooked in NT while those who were selected have failed big time.

  24. Today after 8-hour flight AZ Alkmaar landed in Kazakhstan to play with local Kayrat tomorrow. Kayrat was a regular team in the ex-Soviet Union Premier League, and was the symbol of Kazakhi football. However, after the collapse of SU, the club almost disappeared as they announced bankruptcy and were relegated to the lowest league in Kazakhstan. However, due to help from the government, the club revived and now is back to Premier League. As of today, Kayrat is a major title contender along with Astana.

    It is very physical team full of foreign players and it is going to be a difficult test for AZ. I am still hopeful that we will overcome this barrier. Good luck to AZ, Ajax, and Vitesse.

    On the other note, Calvin Stengs is here in US for the final check up. IF everything is healing well, he will start training with team after 6 weeks.

  25. Ajax 2-0. Goals by Ziyech (nice move and shot by Ziyech, but GK should have done better), and Schone, whose penalty was saved, but he scored on the rebound. (I’m surprised that anyone other than Huntelaar would take the penalties.) KJH did have some good opportunities; hit the post after he made a nice little turn and shot from outside the box, and probably should have put at laest one more in. Frenkie DeJong was listed as CB, but he pushed forward quite a bit…very stylish, oozes class. If they can hold on in Austria, they’ll play Standard Liege in the 3rd Qualifying Round.

  26. AZ and ADO have reached agreement over Bjørn Johnsen. He is going to be a replacement for Wout Weghorst. I think it is a good deal as AZ is going to buy him for 2-3 million euros only.

Join the Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.