VAR injustice against stronger France

Oranje had to fight for a point against a dominating France. The point will be cherished but despite the VAR error, Oranje couldn’t really claim to be the better team.

We all thought a sensational win was in the making when Xavi Simons ran to the Orange Legion behind the goal after good strike into the net. It took minutes for the VAR to decide that Dumfries was blocking the French goalie. Even Stevie Wonder saw how Dumfries did not block the sight on the ball and he also didn’t block any attempt, as the goalie was frozen on the spot, to slow to respond in any which way. Most if not all of the pundits ( Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabriegas, Roy Keane, Raf van der Vaart and even the French referee boss Stephane Lannoy stated: “This goal should never have been disallowed.”. But… that doesn’t help us now.

We had a good start this time around. Koeman wanted to use Frimpong’s speed in attack and work rate in defense against Hernandez and within 50 seconds, the small former Cityzen was on on goal! After 20 interesting open minutes, the game became more and more of a chess game and Holland realised that France has a world class player on every position and their central block is made of granite. Memphis Depay, most likely still not 100% match fit, had no business against these big boys. The longer the game went on, the more it became apparent that a draw would be the best possible scenario.

Initially, it seemed the game had goals in them, with some exciting moves, but France adapted quickly to Koeman’s game plan and started to dominate the pace in the game. They controlled possession, against their nature, and Oranje was hoping on the mistake in the transition. We had some options to break but it was always “the ball too short”, “the ball not accurate” or “the ball to the wrong player” or “i will dribble instead”….

We didn’t note many clear cut chances whereas France kept on pouncing on the door. The lack of quality of our main attacker Memphis, the inability to launch Frimpong, the inability to use Ake as a playmaker… all these aspects were partly our own doing (Memphis) or a tactical move by Deschamp ( Ake).

The pace went down and the Orange Legion started to chant “Woutje Weghorst” after an hour. First Koeman brought Wijnaldum, Veerman and Geertruida, who all three had a decent run in the game. Weghorst got this 12 minutes at the end and fought for what he is worth. To no avail.

After the match, Koeman was accused of being “prudent” and “conservative” but the coach couldn’t care less: “I am happy for anyone to think what they want. I’m happy. 4 points after 2 games, I would have signed on for that.”

It was a tough game.

I think Verbruggen was excellent. His passing accuracy is astounding.He is the rightful #1.

De Vrij and Ake were exceptional as well, although Ake was forced in the full back role by France and didn’t get much chance to roam in to midfield. Deschamp had seen us versus Poland. Van Dijk was fine.

Dumfries and Frimpong did what they could but in my view they demonstrated not to be able to play well together as they want to make the same runs. I think Frimpong needs Geertuida.

Schouten was good too. Reijnders less so, he had real trouble dealing with Griezmann. I thought Simons worked his ass off and tried to be constantly available. I liked him today and he deserved to be the match winner.

Gakpo was strong first half, almost invisible second half, but in the moment he wasn’t, he was great. Frimpong had a good start but peetered out a bit. Top notch work rate though. Memphis… he tried hard, he worked hard, he tackled and slugged but the touches weren’t great and the setpieces poor…

Koeman could have seen that Geertruida would be a better starter than Dumfries. When you can’t win a game, just make sure you don’t lose it.


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  1. Everywhere I see people trying to see the possible routes for 1D or 2D since they are assuming oranje will be either first or second in group D and obviously the 1D route is much better, makes you avoid Germany Spain and France all the way until a potential final!!!! But there is a big chance this team loses to Austria and then it is 3D and 3D means you will meet Spain in the round of 16!!!!

  2. Thanks Jan. I’m still really struggling with Memphis and in watching France, I recognized perhaps an interesting comparison. In a way, Griezmann is sort of like the French version of Memphis. They both are in their early 30s, they both have recently bounced back-and-forth among big clubs, including Barcelona and Atletico. Neither really fits nicely in a traditional attacking role as a wing, a central striker, or a number 10, although they each have components of all three in their games. They are physically similar in size although Memphis is more muscular. And neither can truly be trusted in big moments and they both struggle to finish chances consistently, although they do end up scoring lots of goals for their countries (44 for Griezmann and 45 for Memphis). Both end up taking a lot of the free kicks for their teams, but are rarely able to produce goals through them.

    And yet I would take Griezmann over Memphis in a heartbeat. Griezmann contributes to the flow of the attack. He creates chances. He makes the players around him better. and he’s even willing to put in a shift defensively. He may not have fit in with some other major stars that he’s played with and may inexplicably waste good chances, but in general, it’s not exasperating to watch him play.

    We can make all kinds of excuses for why Memphis is not performing — he has no support, he’s playing out of position, he’s not fully match fit, he’s having to play for a new contract, and so on. And yes, he’s the second all-time leading scorer for the Netherlands. But at this point for me, he doesn’t pass the eye test.

    And when you consider the other options, none of whom are nearly as complete players at this point as Memphis, they all are better at what they bring than what we’re getting out of him now. Weghorst is better in the air, a more reliable finisher and has a far better work rate. Malen is a much more dynamic and aggressive attacker and makes better use of speed and can get in behind defenders. Simons is far more creative, elusive and unpredictable. Gakpo is stronger, much more influential and capable of getting shots off under pressure. Even Brobbey might be an improvement at this point. I haven’t seen enough of Zirkzee to weigh in on him, but I mean if he’s actually fit, why not give him a shot? Bergwijn is probably the only attacking player on our squad that I would not start ahead of Memphis at this point. And to be completely honest, the only scenario I can think of in which I would want Memphis on the field in a match in these Euros is as a part of a numbers up transition opportunity. I think he can still be good in those situations, but in virtually every other aspect of play as a striker, wing, center forward, CAM, etc., I really would prefer to have someone else out there.

    Overly harsh? Likely. But that’s just my perception at this point. I honestly would love for him to go get a hat trick against Austria and turn into the player that we’ve always hoped he would be. I have nothing against him personally. I would love to see him succeed. But more importantly, I’d love to the see the team succeed, and by continuing to mindlessly insert him into every starting IX, I think we’re possibly hindering that opportunity for success.

    So maybe sit him a game. Try a different type of attack utilizing a different combination of the players mentioned above. Maybe bring him in as a super sub if we need a goal. He might be incredibly effective in that role. But something different needs to be done, and for me that something different is something other than Memphis.

    1. Sorry, I meant starting XI. A starting IX is what it feels like when you sacrifice two positions on the field (right wing back and attacking mid) against France in order to double up the players playing that same position (Dumfries-Frimpong and Xavi-Memphis) 😉

  3. @ Jan
    It is obvious that Koeman isn’t a great tactician. Some of his decisions make absolutely no sense. At the end he decided to change to 5/3/2
    If you going to change to 5/3/2 wouldn’t need a faster player up front like a Malen or Broebery. You would need someone who can ran through the defense. He did not do that. Instead he brought Weghorst. I did not understand this logic. You are hoping to get something on counter then you brought Weghorst. 👎👎👎👎👎👎

    @ Jan
    What’s is your feeling post Euro? Are we finally going to get a forward thinking kind of coach? What’s the word out there?

    1. @jean – switching to a 5-3-2 was to be more conservative. Dumfries and gakpo essentially played as wingers on the side of weghorst. Speedy players would be good for counter attacking in theory but then we would essentially be saying we want to thump the ball and hope we win a chase for it. At the start of the game, your logic works but in the last few minutes of a game when you are locking it down, you need a way to relieve pressure and get our players up the pitch.

      Malen would have turned over the ball more and we would invite France to stay high up the pitch. Brobbey would have been my choice but I don’t mind resting him for a bit to recover from his injury.

      Imagine we clear the ball high up the pitch to malen… there’s no way he wins anything in the air vs saliba. He’s unlikely to win a race vs upamencano unless it’s a perfectly timed ball and run which is incredibly unlikely.

    2. I agree with you on this. I don’t think Koeman ever came up with something smart, tactically. He’s a result driven coach and decided to play for the 0-0 and seemed happy as a pig in mud after the game.

      Pierre van Hooijdonk in the studio couldn’t contain his disgust and called it shit-scared football.

  4. Im not gonna waste my time and look straight on the aftermath of euro and WC 26. Even if the dutch scrap through to later stages.

    It is what it is, no matter with frenkie or koopmeiners the dutch lack the cutting edge and what I mean by this, the approach and basically how they play. They simply cant go through middle channels and resort to lateral passing to force wide spaces and look for those overhead balls, frenkie,veerman etc. this works perfectly vs average teams but come more composed and competitive ones it basically becomes tatical battle and scrappy affairs with nothing constructive to see. At most flashes of individual skills or trademark moves. Gakpo cutting inside, frenkie turning etc

    Not wasting much time I will say this. Xavi is the future of dutch football and the team shud be built around him and not anyone else and not even frenkie.
    There is certainly few deficiencies and like I said left footers in the team and this is where the coaches who ever it is shud make those calls by selecting them and looking at different options. You looks at Simons vs france,firstly whe he scored that disallowed goal,he was in around the position where sneijder use to hit those rocket shot goal. This is Why imo he shud play in that sneijder role or in that point back midfield where in that upper left quadrant to drift in. at Leipziq he plays as left AMF in 4-4-2 where he license to roam around on the left flank and on counters where he is absolutely determintal linking up with forwards in attack. Being said this you cant have gakpo and simons or lang or sumerville or any one cutting inside from the left playing together with simons. They simply will be encroaching each others space. You look at the france game, Simons was starved of possession because the dutch were not using the middle channels and had to drift out to come into the game clogging with gakpo space. Which ever way you wanna see it, either you have a winger who can go out,left footed preferably giving Simons more options when he drifts out or like I said have simons play sneijder role on the left flank with a 9 and 10 as a shadow striker so when Simons cuts in from that left flank, he has two strikers he can service. Just an example.


    Simons- depay- stengs


    And With offensive fullbacks maatsen and frimpong. I have just taken stengs as an example because he is left footed but it has to be somebody more comptent and hopefully by 26 the likes of chong, addai, kluivert( dual), or anybody can provide a different alternative or option to the current availability.

    Being said this, its good too see that now dutch players are playing competitively abroad and this surely will boost the NT and given the current depth and quality in the backline if the same can be in most departments im sure the dutch will be power house soon.

    In DM set up

    LW- zirkzee- RW

    Simon- AM


    Maatsen- CB- CB- Frimpong


    In sneijder role


    simons- ST- LW

    Frenkie- CM

    Maatsen- CB- CB- frimpong


    On another note if Simons would have been in the current Spain team he would have exploded. I’m not saying Fabian Ruiz is not good but basically that is the set up that Simons needs to get the very best out of him.

  5. i don’t think any coach at this point would build a team around Xavi. He is a good player but he’s not Messi.

    Teams are not “built” around one player anymore. Is Liverpool built around Salah? Is City built around Grealish?

    Xavi is a good attacking player with speed and guile. But his chance versus Poland where he should have chopped the ball onto his left shows you he lacks composure in the box.

    I like him but lets not get ahead of ourselves. Is he tactically strong? Does he direct players? Does he enforce himself on to the team like Cruyff did, or Sneijder or Gullit?

    If we win this tournament, it’s not because we have the best players, but because we are the best team.

    I personally would like to see Zirkzee. He’s smooth, quick, skilled and has that X factor. Weghorst should remain a pinch hitter. Brobbey can work versus Austria.

    But Austria is dangerous. I think there is a chance we lose. They’re fighters and they play without ego.

    I got really frustrated with Memphis needing to take all free kicks and corners. They were wasteful. Gakpo has a better free kick in him. Even Reijnders.

    Who will tell Memphis to step back? Who is the leader?

    I personally believe Dumfries needs benching, and Geertruida and Frimpong need to get the nod for the right flank.

    Ake – Gakpo, I would also leave there. I can see Veerman/Schouten versus Austria in the engine room and Reijnders as the 10.

    As striker, I’d go for Brobbey or Zirkzee.

    After 60 minutes, one of the players will need to make way for a Simons (depending on score line) if it doesn’t work out. If it does work out, I’d only sub players who physically need a rest, otherwise let them play together as long as possible.

    1. @ Jan

      I did mention in the aftermath and yes the Dutch team in the past have built around certain players but my mistake what I meant was give him the opportunity where he thrives the best and complement the team better. Again at Leipzig he plays with more fluidity and composed in his stronghold but in NT thrown around. Do you reckon any player under this circumstance will yield the same output. On the other hand if you look at gakpo, he has being playing on the left for sometime and has build a good foundation in NT. It’s doesn’t affects his game especially when at liverpool where he been playing multiple position. He always finds himself in his favourable territory when he transitions back to NT. For Simons it’s not the case, he still needs to build a good foundation in NT going forward and that was what I was trying to point out the coaches shud do. Recall his PSV days as well. It will take him time though but like I said it has to be in his stronghold.

    2. 100% agree, Jan.

      This is very close to the lineup I was proposing other than 3 versus 4 at the back. But as we all know, that should be fluid (depending on whether we’re in possession or defending), so that’s less critical to me.

      Against Austria, I’d start Gakpo on the left flank, Frimpong on the right, and Brobbey in the middle (for his strength and work rate in the first period of the match). The likely impact subs, depending on how that works, would be Zirkzee for Brobbey and Malen for Frimpong.

      It would be great to have another central midfielder to switch because those guys are going to be under heavy pressure from Austria, but with Teun, Frenkie, and de Roon all out of action, we’re a little thin there. Maybe Ake slides into DM and vdVen takes his spot on the left??

  6. With reference to Anthony and Jean conversation. Just wanna point out few things. Koeman had already tried geertruida and frimpong out vs Canada and it thrived good. Next and I said this before as well, you can’t have frimpong and Dumfries playing together. You would have seen when frimpong received the ball in congested areas and with Dumfries overlapping, frimpong was passing back. It was just not working.

    With respect to the switch. the weghorst sub was not going to work with the french backline. Too robust. Weghorst ended up defending on the other end. Then when geertruida was subbed on why have Dumfries on the field when frimpong geertruida combo had been proven earlier on both front. Yes Dumfries was arriving at the back post but then there was hardly to very little cross from the left. With weghorst neutralized, it was just a bad call from koeman

    Schouten- wijnaldum sub was baffling one as well. When Simons didn’t see much ball in the middle, what was wijnaldum going to do. He was dropping deep and that was what the french midfield was doing ( pushing them back and forcing lateral passes) and especially kante. Another bad call. Why not gravenberch for Simons and stick to reijnders and schouten. This would have steadid the midfield. It’s a no brainer koeman was trying his luck with wijnaldum right time right place opportunities which failed.

    Also people are slamming Depay but he can’t do everything alone, he is neither fully fit. The Dutch midfield offensively were just nullified

    I do agree with Anthony though brobbey would have a good option than weghorst.

  7. I want to see Lang. He brings the flare ,cutting edge better than gakpo. I will also say this will be good outings for lesser capped players like schouten, veerman,frimpong, reijnders etc hopefully maatsen as well. Overall this is paving a good platform for WC26

  8. Possible R16 routes

    So if NED are group winners they will meet turkey/ Czech

    If they are second it could be either Belgium/Romania

    If they are thrid either of Spain, England or Belgium/ Romania

  9. Thought this was interesting from Harry Kane:

    I think this is a problem for the Netherlands too, but not sure that his approach is the best way of dealing with it, as it suggests to the pundits that the team is actually listening.

    I think a better strategy would be for the current squad to go back and watch old footage of the pundits playing and pick their games and prior performances apart 😉

    We all are guilty (me especially) of remembering the past with oranje-colored glasses and overlooking obvious prior flaws and failures while requiring near perfection from those actively performing today.

    But we all need something to strive for, right?

  10. Watching Uruguay vs Panama in the Copa America now to see Bielsa’s team play. As inspiring as the Panamanian national anthem may be, I couldn’t help but wonder if Van Halen’s Panama might get the team more hyped up…

    1. They did look good tonight, although I don’t think Bolivia are a great side. Interestingly, they tend to play in bursts of intensity and quality during a match but then typically devolve into mediocrity and randomness. But I hope that this current Pulisic – Reyna – Balogen generation can finally achieve some level of success on the world stage. They play in Atlanta at the end of the month so I might go see them live and then report back 😉

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