Josh Mol lists the 10 observations/opinions that he took away from Netherlands 1-1 draw against Turkey and their 2-0 victory against Spain.

  • By Josh Mol
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 000aff1.The Netherlands does not have a replacement for Arjen Robben.

Arjen Robben’s absence proved once again that he is the most indispensable player on the Netherlands squad. Robben was arguably in the form of his career and replacing a player of his caliber is impossible, but it’s troubling that there isn’t a right wing ready to step up and contribute.  In the game against Turkey the Netherland’s coach Guus Hiddink decided to start Ibrahim Afellay.  Afellay lacked pace, was sloppy in possession, and was unable to aid much in the Dutch attack.  Affelay was eventually replaced by Luciano Narsingh.  Narsingh was able to provide pace, but oftentimes held onto the ball for too long and wasn’t the threat that Depay was on the opposite side.  It currently does not appear that the eventual ideal replacement for Robben is currently on this squad.  The Netherlands may have to look to younger players such as Anwar El-Ghazi, Steven Bergwijn, and Bilal Ould-Chikh as the future replacements for Robben.  Narsingh may hold the position for a time once Robben retires, but neither Narsingh or Afellay seem up to the challenge to replace this legend.

2.Daley Blind belongs in the midfield.

Although Daley Blind has previous played as a Left Back many people recognize that he is best suited for the midfield. Blind has had success in the midfield playing for Ajax and now Manchester United.  It was a surprise and confusing decision to see Hiddink choose to play Blind at Left Back during the game against Turkey.  Blind played sloppy at times in the game against Turkey and it became all too apparent that his ideal position is in the midfield.  Blind replaced Nigel de Jong in the lineup against Spain and had a solid performance in the midfield.  Blind did a solid job of dictating tempo and provided quality link up play between the offense and defense.  Blind proved that he deserves to be a regular starter in the Dutch midfield.

3.Davy Klaassen proved that he is ready to represent the national team.

In his second appearance for the Dutch national team the Ajax star proved that he is ready for this challenge.  Against Spain, Klaassen played with strength, showcased efficient passing, and scored his first goal for the Netherlands.  Klaassen has shown his ability at the club level to make late runs into the box and find open spaces.  Klaassen showed this ability once again and his intelligence on the pitch could make him a regular starter for the Netherlands.

de vrij v spa4.Stefan de Vrij is developing into a leader.

Stefan de Vrij had a great performance in the World Cup and showed that he continues to mature as a player. De Vrij played with confidence and was a commanding presence in the centre of the defense.  De Vrij scored the first goal of the game against Spain and looked composed on the ball in the midfield.  De Vrij is only 23 years old and should be a cornerstone of the Dutch defense for many years to come.

5.Daryl Janmaat deserves to be the starting Right Back.

Gregory van der Wiel was the first choice option at Right Back for the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 European Championship.  When Louis van Gaal took over the managing duties of the Netherlands national team from van Marwijk in 2012, van der Wiel was no longer the first choice selection at Right Back.  Van Gaal made Daryl Janmaat the first choice at Right Back and he remained the first choice selection until he made a costly error in September that saw the Netherlands concede defeat against Czech Republic in a 2016 European Championship qualification match.  Following this costly error, Hiddink turned to van der Wiel to once again become the starting Right Back.  Van der Wiel’s performance against Turkey showcased his shortcomings.  Van der Wiel had difficulty containing the opposition on the counter and lacked any significant positive offensive contribution.  Janmaat regained his starting position against Spain and had a solid performance.  Janmaat’s mistake against Czech Republic was costly, but it is time for him to once again be the first choice option for the Netherlands at Right Back.

6.Nigel de Jong’s time in the starting XI may be coming to an end.

Nigel de Jong has been a key member of the Netherlands for many years, but I feel like his time as a starter may be slowing coming to an end.  De Jong is a powerful enforcer and many times in the past would drop back and play as a third Centre Back.  During the game against Turkey the midfield of the Netherlands was stagnant and lacked creativity.  Nigel de Jong on occasion would advance to support the attack, but would be slow to get back on defense.  When Turkey scored de Jong was in an advanced offensive position and was slow to return on defense.  Throughout the course of the game Wesley Sneijder was oftentimes in a deeper defensive role than de Jong.  If the Netherlands are looking for true box to box midfielders than de Jong may not be the best option.  Daley Blind played very well in the enforcer role against Spain and his partnership with Klaassen was effective and far more creative than the Netherlands side against Turkey.  Especially if Kevin Strootman is able to fully recover from his injuries and regain his form than Nigel de Jong’s time as a mainstay in the starting XI may soon be over.

7.Klaas jan Huntelaar did little to cement his place in the starting lineup over a health van Persie.

Many Netherlands fans have called for Klaas jan Huntelaar to replace Robin van Persie as the starting Centre Striker for the Netherlands.  Huntelaar has frequently been referred to as a “super sub” for his great performances coming off the bench, and many people viewed him as the better option in the starting lineup over van Persie.  With van Persie injured, Huntelaar received his chance to play in the starting XI.  Although Huntelaar was credited with the equalizer against Turkey he had a hard time leaving his imprint on either game.  Huntelaar showed some quality touches, but due to his lack of service had a hard time making an impression in the game.  Huntelaar also committed a foolish foul right outside of the Netherlands box against Spain which could have changed the entire momentum of the game.  Overall not a terrible performance by Huntelaar, but not a performance that will convince everyone to leave a healthy van Persie on the bench.

8.The development of Memphis Depay continues.

Although Memphis Depay was unable to get onto the score sheet his continued development is clear.  On occasion Depay’s game can still lack a certain level of polish, but he has improved significantly in the two areas where he used to receive the most criticism.  In the past Depay would be criticized for only looking for the shot and being selfish with the ball.  Depay has developed into a strong team oriented player and as he receives more attention from defensive players he now keeps his eyes open for his teammates.  In the past Depay was also criticized for his unwillingness to backtrack and help on the defensive end.  Against Turkey and Spain, Depay could regularly be seen contributing on the defensive end.  Depay has all the tools to be an extremely dangerous offensive weapon and his improvements and lack of selfishness will make him an even greater player moving forward.

9.Kenneth Vermeer had a polished and composed performance in goal.

Jasper Cillessen may very well still be the Netherlands top keeper, but Vermeer had an impressive performance against Spain.  Cillessen played well against Turkey and the goal surrendered was off a deflection by Bruno Martins Indi so it was not his fault.  Guus Hiddink decided to give Kenneth Vermeer a chance to play against Spain and the Feyenoord keeper did not disappoint.  Vermeer was able to withstand every attack from Spain and was a powerful presence in the box.  If Vermeer continues to perform at this level he is another very sound option at the keeper position.

0000000hiddink10.Hiddink’s job is safe…for now!

Guus Hiddink’s second tenure as Netherland’s coach for the most part has been a complete disaster. The Netherlands surpassed expectations in the 2014 World Cup under van Gaal and had every reason for optimism heading into the 2016 Euro Qualification matches.  Under Hiddink’s leadership the team lost its identity and lacked clear leadership.  Hiddink’s squad lacked clear direction and he had a hard time coming up with his preferred formation and starting XI.  Under Hiddink the defense was error prone and the attack lacked creativity.  The Netherlands team seemed to lose all grasp of the total football philosophy that the Netherlands were known for.  Many people in the Netherlands have called for Hiddink to be replaced and Dutch legend Johan Cruyff labeled the Netherlands performance in the recent draw against Turkey “a disgrace.”  Hiddink’s time as the Netherlands coach seemed ready for an immediate end, but then the Netherlands had a great performance against Spain.  The Netherlands played disciplined and the team showed creativity that was sorely missed.  The performance against Spain may have saved Hiddink’s job, but any further disappointing performances in qualification matches could lead to his immediate removal.

Josh Mol (12 Posts)

My name is Josh. I am an American with Dutch roots. I have always felt a connection with all things Dutch especially Dutch football. I love the strong rich history of total football and am a loyal supporter of the Oranje. My grandfather was from Rotterdam and for that reason I am also a big Feyenoord supporter. I don’t just love the game for its enjoyment factor, but I also love to study the tactical side of the game. I love watching the future generation and see the unproven players reach their potential.