Josh Mol lists the 13 observations/opinions that he took away from Netherlands 2-3 defeat vs. Mexico on November 12, 2014.

  • By Josh Mol
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  1. Memphis Depay lacked polish and form. In my opinion Memphis Depay is the long term answer at Left Winger for the Netherlands, but his game vs. Mexico is one to forget.  Depay is a huge talent and a dynamic offensive weapon, but his performance against Mexico was sloppy and ineffective.  At times Depay did challenge the defense of Mexico, but he was frequently out of control and easily dispossessed of the ball.  Depay’s offensive inefficiency could partially be attributed to the amount of time he missed due to his groin injury, but the Netherlands will look for better performances from Depay in the future.
  2. Jetro Willems did little to solidify his starting place at Left Back. Daley Blind’s recent performances at Left Back for the Netherlands have been unconvincing and have left the door open for Jetro Willems to once again claim the starting sport.  Willems has been in form with PSV and seemed ready to step up to the challenge.  The partnership between Willems and Depay up the left flank has worked wonders for PSV, but the duo was unable to duplicate this form at the international level.  Willems did not shine on the defensive end and provided very little effective offensive support up the left flank.  Willems does have the talent and potential to claim this position, but his performances must improve at the international level to do so.
  3. Ron Vlaar continues to struggle with his fitness.  Ron Vlaar was the anchor of the Dutch defense during the 2014 World Cup, but following the tournament Vlaar missed considerable time for his club team Aston Villa.  Vlaar’s return to International play caused optimism that the Dutch defensive backline would perform at a higher level, but the Netherlands conceded a goal in the 8th minute and Vlaar was injured in the 24th minute.  Due to Vlaar’s long history of injuries the Netherlands needs to find a compatible and effective centre back duo outside of Ron Vlaar.  If Ron Vlaar is healthy and can repeat his performances at the 2014 World Cup he is a huge addition to the team, but the team needs to find continuity and form at the center of their defensive line.
  4. Klaas Huntelaar adds a different dimension to the Netherlands front line.   Huntelaar’s performance challenged the backline of Mexico.  Huntelaar certainly should have scored a goal in this game, but he does add elements to the game that Robin van Persie does not.  Klaas is a more physical presence up front and he is effective with his back to the goal in hold up plays.  Huntelaar also does a better job of staying onsides than van Persie.  Huntelaar was offsides on one play when chasing a rebound, but he does a great job of staying onsides when his teammates are looking for him.  Robin van Persie has a tendency for being caught offsides multiple times in a game.  Klaas Huntelaar and Robin van Persie are a duo that holds so much shared potential and it is a shame that their collective potential has so far been unreached.
  5. Tim Krul did not establish himself as the Netherlands top keeper option. Tim Krul was Hiddink’s keeper choice in the game vs. Mexico and although he didn’t necessarily have a bad game, he did little to prove his effectiveness over Jasper Cillessen.  Krul was put in bad position several times due to the Netherlands terrible defending and there was nothing he could do to stop Carlos Vela’s beautiful first goal.  Krul did have a very poor clearance in the 46th minute which led to an offensive opportunity for Mexico, but the attack was stopped.  I do think that Krul deserves another chance to stake his claim at the starting position, but this performance was not enough.
  6. Mexico also dives and seeks penalties. Fans of Mexico have chanted and posted the phrase “No Era Penal!” all over social media in their attempts to dispute the penalty awarded to Arjen Robben vs. Mexico in the World Cup.  It’s frustrating to see fans continually discredit a victory and claim to be above any similar behavior when it is frequently practiced by their team.  In modern football every team has players that seek to receive calls and exaggerate contact.  I counted several times in this game when players from Mexico went down in an attempt to obtain a penalty including Carlos Vela after the poor clearance by Tim Krul in the 46th minute.  Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez on multiple occasions tried to get the ref to make a call in his favor including trying to call for a hand ball in the penalty box area that never occurred.  This behavior is sadly a part of modern football and I am not attempting to discredit the victory by Mexico, just simply stating that the frequency and magnitude of the criticism over the Robben penalty is unwarranted.
  7. Wesley Sneijder still has moments of brilliance. Wesley Sneijder can be a very frustrating player to watch.  Many Netherlands fans like to remember the world class player that Sneijder was in 2010 and are disappointed with his performances that are currently exhibited for the Netherlands.  Sneijder is not the player that he was, but he still possesses a great deal of talent and the ability to make a special play.  Sneijder’s goal in the 49th minute was a brilliant goal and showcases what Sneijder is capable of.  Netherlands fans can get frustrated with Sneijder and look to the future #10, but if Sneijder is able to recapture his form of the past he is a special player and a true difference maker.
  8. The Netherlands need more out of their midfield. Sneijder scored a brilliant volley and Blind scored off of a deflection in the 74th minute, but I still feel as though the Netherlands needs more out of their midfield.  The Netherlands would be happy receiving two goals from their midfield in any game, but I felt like the midfield was a disappointment other than the two goals.  The midfield played with a lack of tenacity and conviction and allowed Mexico space to operate and launch attacks.  It was Daley Blind’s error in the midfield that led to the goal for Mexico in the 62nd minute.  The defensive line for the Netherlands is clearly a weak point, and a midfield that gives the opposition space and time to attack only exacerbates the problem.
  9. The Netherlands needs to find an effective and consistent backline. Guus Hiddink named a backline that was completely different from the backline that started against Iceland last month.  During the short amount of time that Hiddink has been back in charge he has started 3 different right backs, 4 different centre backs, and 2 different left backs.  The constant change at the backline does not excuse their defensive performance, but a great backline does take time to develop.  It is necessary to find an effective group of players and allow them to gain valuable experience together to form a tight knit group of players that know how to work together as a cohesive unit.
  10. Quincy Promes did not perform well off the bench. Memphis Depay had a disappointing performance against Mexico and was substituted for Quincy Promes in the 60th minute.  Promes did little to justify the substitution and did even less to make a case for a starting position.  Promes had pace to make runs up the left flank, but his crossing attempts completely lacked class and did not offer any chance at success.  Promes also missed a chance to add a goal late in the game by firing over the post.
  11. Georginio Wijnaldum deserves to start. Wijnaldum adds something extra to the Netherlands attack. Wijnaldum may not have been a key difference maker in the midfield, but offered effective offensive support.  Wijnaldum did not score, but threatened and added an extra element in the attack that I feel was missing throughout the game.  Ibrahim Afellay had a couple skillful link ups with Arjen Robben, but he did not offer the effectiveness that Wijnaldum brings to the game.  During the 2014 World Cup Wijnaldum proved that he can be an effective box to box midfielder and I believe that he deserves a chance to start even if it’s not at the #10 position which he is best suited for.
  12. Strootman’s return to full fitness cannot come soon enough for the Netherlands. Kevin Strootman made his long awaited return to football on November 9th for his club team A.S. Roma.  Strootman was substituted onto the pitch on the 84th minute.  Strootman missed the 2014 World Cup due to a serious knee injury and he was missed by the Netherlands.  It will take time for Strootman to return to full fitness and the form he had prior to the injury, but once he does he will certainly once again be a key member of the squad.  I previously stated the Netherlands midfield lacked tenacity and conviction and that is where Strootman thrives.  Strootman is a leader that plays with a high motor and is a midfield presence that could provide stability on the defensive end and offer additional link up opportunities on the offensive end with his excellent passing ability.
  13. The dismal performances of the Netherlands under Guus Hiddink continues. The Netherlands have now last 4 out of 5 games under Guus Hiddink.  Hiddink has said that he would resign from the Netherlands post if they lose to Latvia on Sunday, but a win over 99th ranked Latvia does little to fix the poor form and inexcusable performances since he took over.  Fans of the national team have also showed their distaste and frustration with Hiddink.  Amsterdam arena was not sold out for this game and the hashtags #HiddinkOut and #HiddinkGoHome are currently trending on twitter.  Hiddink is a highly regarded and experienced coach, which makes this downward trend even more confusing.  Ronald Koeman likely would have been the perfect man for the job, but since he is currently managing Southamption it is unlikely that he remains an option.  The best option may be to let Hiddink continue and hope that collectively the team can kind its form again and that the player returning from injury can add a key element that has been missing.  At what point is it the right time to replace Hiddink?

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.