As per usual, I found myself in decent company. Both Dutch football gurus Van Hanegem and Cruyff lamented Hiddink’s line up choices after the game vs Turkey. Both legends of the game and former success coaches felt the midfield set up was wanting, with the slower build up in the
hands feet of Nigel de Jong and Martins Indi while Afellay was out of place as right winger and Wijnaldum got choked up in the masses around the Turkey box.
You need quick feet, decisive passing and good running patterns to break down a team like Turkey. Clasie has that in spades. Klaassen offers you the penetration options and with Promes and Narsingh you have real right wingers…so why not use them? Van Hanegem went a step further and implied that in his line up Blind would have started on the bench, with Willems on the left back spot. “Willems has the best left foot in Dutch football, so if you want to service Huntelaar, you’d want to use him.” Both Cruyff and De Kromme felt that too many passes went from defence (Martins Indi) to De Jong (midfield) and back. “If you play like this, the player in midfield is always with his back to the opponent’s box. What can he do? He needs to get the ball in his feet while facing the goal. The way to do this is to play the ball to the forwards, who pass it back into the feet of the penetrating midfielders. Martins Indi and De Jong won’t play those passes.”
Klaassen and Janmaat
Cruyff also mentioned Klaassen in particular, who – in JC’s vision – has the right skills and positionings smarts the team needs.
Cruyff felt it was a chore to watch the team play.
Now, I have to be frank with you. I wrote my earlier post without having had a chance to see the game. I have now watched the game in its entirety and what I am about to tell you will shock you:
It was NOT that bad.
Yes, Martins Indi and De Jong are not the right guys for the build up. I agree. Like I said, I would have been comfortable to use Veltman instead of Martins Indi or even Daley Blind as center back. I like Willems a lot and would have loved to have played him. And Clasie in place of De Jong. All that is a given.
But despite this, the team was focused, worked well and tried hard to get something happening against a sturdy and tough defending Turkey. We might not have had many open chances but I did count a number of good distance strikes from Sneijder (one free kick that would have been out of reach of the goalie), a pretty decent early chance for Depay, a shooting opportunity for Depay later on in the first 30 minutes…. Then we had that flick by De Vrij, scooped away by the goalie. There was a distance strike from Afellay that deserved better. That weird Narsingh flunked chance and Willems with an inside foot riser. And after the 1-1, Depay even had the opportunity to kill the game for us but missed.
Narsingh should have scored
The team kept the field wide. Dost did what he could to lay off balls. Blind and De Vrij played very decent. And Sneijder took his responsibility. Wijnaldum and Afellay were poor but I blame Hiddink partly for this, as Afellay should not have to play right wing.
In my view, there are two major causes for this performance:
1. The inheritance of the World Cup 2014
Oranje had a dominant leader in the last two years. Van Gaal moulded and fabricated a system and pushed the squad into that mould in weeks on end, before we started the World Cup. In dominant LVG style. After the World Cup, a number of things happened that had a tremendous effect. 1) Van Gaal left and with him the dominant in your face mentality, and 2) Hiddink came… a relaxed grandfather type laissez-fair coach. 3) opponents were/are extra motivated to play us as we were the #3 in the world. 4) Hiddink wants to or was told to go back to a more Dutch style 4-3-3 system and 5) key players were injured at key moments or players were distracted in the early stages of the season due to their moves to bigger clubs ( Porto, Lazio Roma, Man United, Newcastle United).
2. The tactical mistakes of Guus Hiddink
The KNVB decided to hang on to Danny Blind for the future, the LVG adept, but with Guus Hiddink as his mentor. Hiddink, being a totally different coach than Van Gaal (and Blind). Literally, the opposite on the spectrum. And Hiddink was given the task to let Oranje play more “Dutch school”. So Guus goes 4-3-3 but everyone knows Guus is conservative, so he decided to use a midfielder as winger and destroyer Nigel de Jong as dreh-und-angel punkt as the Germans call it. The pivot. Wrong wrong wrong. You want Huntelaar to get service and you use two wingers who will drift inside and go for glory….
Memphis on the radar of Man United and Man City
This Oranje has been wounded from the first game. There is no real system, no automatisms in the team. The flow is gone as there is no real game plan and the players don’t fit the team tasks. And if you see the look on Blind’s face on the bench next to Hiddink you know enough…. Where is the pleasure, where is the football smarts?
Afellay is not really doing well in Greece. Martins Indi lost his spot in Portugal. Nigel de Jong has a dramatic season with AC Milan…. They are all big names, but the names don’t correspond with form. Why not Veltman? Or even Van Beek? Bazoer? Klaassen? Clasie?
The game against Spain will be an interesting one. If there is one team in the world with a game plan and clarity in how they play it is Spain. And they’re opposing a team that is drifting and swirling. In that game, Del Bosque says his team is not out looking for revenge. He might be truthful: “We just want to play a good game of football.” I do hope Hiddink’s lads are out for revenge though. On themselves. Hiddink has already mentioned he will rest a number of players. And according to the newspapers, we’ll see the likes of Janmaat, Promes, De Guzman and Klaassen come in. Huh?
Not a midfield I have a lot of faith in, to be honest
What good will that do? I think it is wrong. Against Spain, in a friendly, you need to test your preferred starting line up, or at least your defence. These lads will be tested. Against Turkey, who park the bus, you want quick young feet (Klaassen, Clasie) and against Spain you want a destroyer like Nigel de Jong! Not the other way around? Promes would have been good against Turkey. Against Spain, that might be a bit much for a youngster like him. De Guzman on the holding mid spot is also not what I’d like to see. Use De Guzman on no. 10, but please play Blind as holding mid, Guus, and use Willems as left back.
I would also like to see Vermeer in the goal, or Krul. Time for the goalies to do some rotating.
The Spain game only makes sense if we use it to get better. Just throwing the B-team in front of the train will not do us any good!
I’d like to know what the game plan is against Spain. Win? Win in any way possible? Or play 4-3-3 Dutch style and win? Or practice certain patterns and who cares about the result? Or let young players experience a big game? What is the objective of this game?
Maybe we need to play this guy below as the striker?