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Post Match Reaction NED v CMR

June 25, 2010 1 comment

We’re going to do a quick round up of some of the press reaction between the Netherlands and Cameroon.  Keep in mind that this match didn’t mean a lot and throughout the Dutch only ever needed a point.

As always make sure you check out the full stories via the links provided.

In what is quickly becoming one of my favourite comment blogs Foppe de Haan has the following to say:

  • Speaking of FIFA man of the match van Persie and Wesley Sneijder:  “But I had not chosen him as a man of the match , like FIFA did. Naturally , Van Persie has the first goal so he was important , but even more this time I was talking about Wesley Sneijder . After Denmark and Japan, I was quite critical of him and I saw Sneijder , in contrast to FIFA that both times made him Man of the match, was certainly not the best man of the field . He was not good enough . But now I found him really play well.” 
  • Of Robben’s introduction: “Introduced at the right time by Bert van Marwijk , just at a time when Cameroon threatened to be stronger . With Robben you just create depth. That was evident , with his shot on the post after allowing Klaas Jan Huntelaar to score.”

ESPNSoccernet.com in their match report were not over the moon with the Dutch performance.  Looks like the report was provided via the Associated Press.

  • They grabbed the following quote from van Marwijk: “We were far too nonchalant in the second half,” Van Marwijk complained. “Our final spell put us on the right track again, but consider this a serious warning.”
  • Following his return from injury Robben said: “It is good to be back. I had to get back in the groove and it worked. Too bad the shot did not go in.”

I know you were wondering so here it is!  The news about the Dutch Facial hair!  Via De Telegraaf

  • Apparently a group of Dutch players had all decided to not shave while at the World Cup.  Specifically Sneijder and van der Vaart look to be sporting the “Ryan Giggs” look.  As well Heitinga, de Jong and Boulahrouz (nicknamed the Cannibal) participated.
  • Yesterday however Boulahrouz made his first appearance in South Africa and – SHOCK! – was found to be clean shaven.  Says Boulahrouz, “”It started to itch, so it was off.”
  • As a result Boulahrouz was punished in Friday training having to allow his fellow players shoot at his rear end.

That will teach you to bail!

Match Report NED v CMR

Evening all.  We’re all finished with the Group Stage and its difficult to point out too many flaws.  The Oranje came into the match needing merely a point to set up a second round date with Slovakia on Monday.  I’m trying my best to ignore the utter and complete failure of Italy and allow them to grieve.  I will not point and laugh.  Despite the close scoreline the Dutch were not unduly tested however Cameroon certainly played differently than both Japan and Demark.  Had this match come earlier and providing Cameroon came out with similar designs we may well have seen an utter rout.

In the end goals from van Persie in the first half and a second by Huntelaar late in the final frame were enough to ease the Netherlands clear with nine points from three games.  In between the Indominatable Lions had equalised through a Samuel Eto’o penalty after van der Vaart handled a free kick inside the area.  Bert van Marwijk will be pleased van der Vaart contributed to van Persie’s goal but overall his match was sub-standard once again.

Tactical Analysis

Prior to the Dutch substitutions the Oranje came out in much a similar fashion as the previous two matches.  Van der Vaart started on the left, Kuyt on the right, van Persie up front and Sneijder through the middle.  It seemed the Dutch had been given instructions to use the flanks more often as most of their good work in the first half came from deep crosses from Kuyt and van Bronckhorst.  Also, there was good running to the byline often by Sneijder.  With the Cameroon midfield and attack more advanced that Japan and Denmark there was additional space provided to Sneijder and van der Vaart in the middle. 

As a testament to van der Vaart’s inability to effectively play on the left consider that his assist to van Persie came from the right side of penalty area.  Having the left-footed van der Vaart on the left should mean he is at least running downfield putting in crosses but by comparing him with Kuyt you can see that Rafael isn’t comfortable crossing on the fly and he is repeatedly forced to hold up the run and play in either the on rushing leftback van Bronckhorst or look for Sneijder closer to the centre.

Van der Vaart would be an adequate replacement for Sneijder however he has been played to the detriment of the squad when utilized on the left.  As a special point of pleasure for me there were several instances of Kuyt and Sneijder tracking Cameroon players running from deep when on the attack.  I’ve been impressed with van Marwijk’s ability to get all players on board with the overall plan.

Robben Verdict

To the delight of all Arjen Robben made is long awaited return from injury.  He showed why he is a vital player to the Dutch providing direct running, challenging fullbacks, occupying the defenders concentration and providing a genuine goal threat. 

His best moment was his involvement for the second goal.  Sneijder’s sumptuous pass was well controlled on the right by Robben and after checking his run he came back towards midfield, glided past his marker and let loose a perfect curling shot that thumped the post.  His shot came back fortuitously for Huntelaar who was able to slot home.  It’s telling that the team ran to congratulate Robben in the centre allowing Huntelaar to enjoy his moment alone on the touchline.

Player Ratings

Stekelenburg – 6

Boulahrouz – 5

Heitinga – 6

Mathijsen – 6

van Bronckhorst – 7

de Jong – 6

van Bommel – 7

Kuyt – 7

Sneijder – 8

van der Vaart – 6

van Persie – 8

Subs: Elia – 5,  Huntelaar – 6, Robben – 7

Our Opponents: Cameroon

Thursday brings us to the conclusion of Group E.  Beyond tomorrow the Dutch will go on to what whoever awaits beyond.  Before we’re there though we have the small matter of Cameroon.  After last Saturday the Indomitable Lions are no longer flying the flag for Africa as they were officially eliminated following their failure to gain a point against Denmark.

Most notable among the Lions are Samuel Eto’o of Champion’s League winning fame, Alex Song of over-complicated-passing-with-no-real-end-product Arsenal and Jean Makoun Don’t-know-him-well-enough-to-make-a-joke of Lyon.  Really Cameroon have half of a good team.  Manager Paul Le Guen has a handful of outstanding talents with some “others” filling in the gaps.

Unfortunately there isn’t a lot we can really say.  The Dutch are riding high and their only concern would be maintaining whatever momentum they’ve gained and advancing first from the group: though that has little advantage with Italy looking likely to be the opposition.

Cameroon will be playing for pride and will want to provide a performance to make their supporters proud. 

The two unknowns are the Dutch line-up and the ultimate result of the match.  Cameroon are not an organized team structured to frustrate their opponents.  Up to this point we haven’t seen a side come out and attack the Dutch and this could be the chance for the entertainment we have all waited for.  The second variable is the Dutch formation and starting line-up. 

We saw in Cameroon’s game against Denmark that Cameroon do not provide cover on the wings and most of their attacking play comes through the centre.  For a more in-depth analysis have a look at ZonalMarking.net ‘s breakdown.  If the Dutch are able to properly attack down the flanks the Lion’s could be torn assunder. 

Van Marwijk sent out a Tweet yesterday: “Wat een speculaties weer van Bert M. iedereen zal het donderdag wel zien.”  That translates roughly to, “There is a lot of speculation about Bert M.  Everybody will have to wait to Thursday and see.”

 If Robben plays the match does not look to be a comfortable one for Cameroon.  Such a surprise would provide an oustanding launch pad for the Dutch and could kick-start their tournament in ernest.

My prediction is a 3-0 victory for the Dutch.

On a completely unrelated note I stumbled Bert van Marwijk’s Twitter List featuring all of his players.  It looks like he has created Twitter accounts for all his squad. See below for the list.  Wierd.

http://twitter.com/VanMarwijk_NL10/mijn-selectie

Post Match Reaction NED v JPN

Good evening all.  We saw the Netherlands take on Japan this morning in what was a fairly dull match.  I don’t know if you managed to see the late game with Cameroon and Denmark but that was a much more entertaining spectacle.  The result of that match, a 2-1 win for Denmark, means the Dutch are officially through to the next round.

That was painless eh?  Two matches, two wins and six points to show for it.  Three goals for and none against.  Ultimately they have not impressed but they haven’t really needed to.  Let’s take a look at what the press are saying.  As always I don’t want to take credit for what I post here but merely highlight good work by others.  Links are included in all cases for you to check out the full pieces.

From one of the most notable Dutch football sources VI.nl comes the following reaction:

  • De Jong was quoted as saying “These are tricky opponents and its difficult to keep our patience.  It pays off though” and also “”You have to get points, especially in a group stage. When you see how many countries struggle to win against somewhat lesser opponents that you just close down games. And then comes the beautiful football might be in the semis or the finals. “
  • Their match report can be largely summed up with this quote: The first half seemed an eternity.

Next up is the former U-21 Dutch manager Foppe de Haan blogging for Onsoranje.nl

  • He titled his most recent post “Big names were Disappointing”
  • “For sure the first thirty minutes, I found that the Orange did quite well. Okay, it was not perfect or sparkling, but it was not very bad.”
  • “No, the best player on the field I found was Mark van Bommel. Who played really well, actually did nothing wrong, though I was also pleased with Ibrahim Afellay”
  • De Haan also speaks about the team selection ahead of Cameroon and whether players should be rested: “Playing with a refined second team is in fact the stupidest thing you can do. You also saw two years ago at the European Championships in Switzerland and Austria.”

Again from one of my favourite sites, Zonalmarking.net, comes the tactical breakdown of Netherlands v Japan.  This is always worth a read.  Just a couple highlights:

  • “Both sides kept faith with their opening day line-ups. Holland continued to play both Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder despite the impressive substitute appearance of Elijero Elia against Denmark.”
  • “Looking at it from another perspective, it was the second time Holland had broken the deadlock by putting a cross into the box, suggesting that this approach (which seems quite unnatural to their attacking players) might be more effective than constantly playing through the centre.”

Everyone is going to be happy with two wins but when you consider the audience you know that the enthusiasm will be severely tempered.  All Oranje fans require a match to be played a certain way whether domestically or internationally. 

With the last game against Cameroon I’m looking for an improved performance and I really need to see Robben given a run out.  I completely agree with Foppe de Haan regarding the squad selection; whatever momentum has been gathered must be maintained at all costs.