The international period is now over for the Netherlands with Tuesday’s 6-1 win over Turkey capping a very promising week for Oranje. Michael Bell shares his thoughts on Oranje after the draw against Norway and wins over Montenegro and Turkey.

Van Gaal is the man for the job

Van Gaal’s appointment was met with a mixed reaction but the 70-year-old has proved this week that he still has plenty to offer as Oranje head coach. After only having days to work with the players, Netherlands looked excellent in the first-half against Turkey and far more entertaining than anything seen under Frank de Boer. Given more time to work with the players and get his vision across, Van Gaal can work wonders with this Oranje squad. From his press conferences to his training methods, Van Gaal is entertaining and it is great to see him back.

4-3-3 the way to go

Van Gaal may prefer the 5-3-2 formation but he didn’t have time to work on that with the players this week, meaning he set up in a 4-3-3. The formation is the one the players want and they pleaded their case with the big win over Turkey. A high press and pressure 4-3-3 worked wonders against Turkey and Van Gaal should be sticking with it for the upcoming games against Latvia and Gibraltar. Netherlands does have the players and now a coach who can make it work.

Memphis is a phenomenon in Oranje

Memphis Depay is in ridiculous form for the Netherlands at the moment and there is every chance that he is going to end his career as the top scorer and top assist provider in Oranje history.

On Tuesday, Memphis equaled Johan Cruyff on 33 goals after his first international hattrick and is now only 17 off Robin van Persie. At 27, Memphis still has plenty of time to break the record. 30 goals and 21 assists in his last 45 international matches, is a phenomenal record.

This week, Memphis proved once again that he is the most threatening Netherlands attacker and his link-up play with Davy Klaassen against Turkey was a joy to see. There is little doubt now that Memphis is a world-class striker.

De Ligt will have to get used to a role on the bench

The Netherlands currently has three excellent centre-backs which is a great problem for Van Gaal to have. Stefan de Vrij had an excellent international period and he now appears to be the right choice to start alongside Virgil van Dijk going forward. Matthijs de Ligt did nothing wrong against Montenegro, but at the moment it seems that Van Gaal is more than happy with a De Vrij and Van Dijk partnership at the back.

Bijlow can be number one for years to come

Justin Bijlow is the new Netherlands number one and he has made a name for himself in his first three internationals for Oranje. Commanding, good on the ball, and an excellent shot-stopper, the 23-year-old performed excellently in all three games and looked as if he had been playing in Oranje for years. The Feyenoord stopper may have caused the goal against Turkey, but that doesn’t take the shine off an excellent international period for Bijlow. At the moment, he is a much better option than Tim Krul or Jasper Cillessen.

Exciting times for Dutch talents

Justin Bijlow, Tyrell Malacia, and Devyne Rensch all made their debut’s in the international period and they all proved that they can handle this level. Cody Gakpo also proved himself with his first two starts for Oranje, scoring a wonderful goal in the win over Montenegro.

Teun Koopmeiners and Guus Til both impressed on the pitch, while Ryan Gravenberch appeared for a short time against Turkey.

It is an exciting time for young Dutch talents with Van Gaal a head coach who is willing to give them a chance to impress. Van Gaal also watched the U21 squad and allowed Quinten Timber the chance to train with the squad.

World Cup qualification now in Netherlands hands

This was a crucial international period for the Netherlands and they have come out of it with seven points from nine available, which puts the group in their control. Yes, Norway is on the same number of points and Turkey is only two behind, but this is now the Netherlands to lose with four games left, due to their far superior goal difference. Oranje can tighten their grip on the group when they face Latvia and Gibraltar next month.

Van Gaal is looking for goalkeepers and wingers

Straight after the win over Turkey, Van Gaal was asked if any players were on his radar for the next international period and he chose Freiburg goalkeeper Mark Flekken, and Aston Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi. Van Gaal knows the Netherlands is short on goalkeepers or wingers at the moment, and any in form will come into view with Oranje. Jasper Cillessen will be keen to get his place back, while Noa Lang, Arnaut Danjuma, Calvin Stengs are also options on the wings. There is a month for players to impress Van Gaal and earn a call-up.

Is Wijnaldum’s suspension a good thing for the Netherlands?

One player who had a difficult international period was Georginio Wijnaldum, who struggled to make an impact against Norway or Turkey. He also picked up a yellow card which means he missed the clash in Latvia next month. That could be a good thing for Van Gaal, who can now look at some other midfield options. Ryan Gravenberch, Teun Koopmeiners and Guus Til will all be hoping to get the nod. Some competition may then lead to an improved performance from Wijnaldum when he returns against Gibraltar.

The positivity around the Netherlands is back

It has only been a few months since the frustrating loss to the Czech Republic, but the Netherlands are looking refreshed under Louis van Gaal. The win over Turkey has really brought positivity and it is great to be excited about the national team again after some drab performances under De Boer. It is a great start and the future is bright under the new boss.




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