Josh Mol lists the 8 observations/opinions that he took away from Netherlands 0-1 European Championship qualification defeat against Iceland Thursday night.

  • By Josh Mol
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  1. The start of Danny Blind’s tenor as Netherlands coach off to a disappointing start. It is hard to say how much blame from this loss can be placed on Danny Blind, but a certain level of criticism is justified.  Danny Blind cannot be blamed for Arjen Robben’s injury and the foolishness of Bruno Martins Indi was in no way due to Blind’s direction, but nevertheless the Netherlands once again lost ground and now seem forced to play for third and hope to qualify for the for the 2016 European Championship via the playoffs.  Whether justified or not there is blame to be placed on Blind and Sunday’s game against Turkey will go a long way in determining the future of this team under Blind.
  2. Bruno Martins Indi should no longer be a first team option for the Netherlands. The Netherlands are short on quality options at Left Centre Back, but Bruno Martins Indi should no longer start for the team. Martins Indi has a history of making key mistakes and his costly red card against Iceland made it extremely difficult for the Netherlands to gain a positive result in this key game. Martins Indi has always needed work on this tackling technique and has a history of being error prone, but this lapse in judgment should be the final mistake that leaves Martins Indi off the starting squad. Jairo Riedewald or Terence Kongolo could prove to be the future Left Centre Back for the Netherlands, but neither player appears to be ready to play at this elite level currently.  The Netherlands will need to find a player that is capable of filling that role immediately and I no longer view Bruno Martins Indi as the best player to start alongside Stefan de Vrij.
  3. Daryl Janmaat should start over Gregory van der Wiel. I was surprised, like many people when Daryl Janmaat was left off the squad entirely for this game.  Daryl Janmaat made a key mistake against Cech Republic last year and still appears to be penalized for it. Kenny Tete may have a bright future, but Janmaat is clearly the better player right now.  The decision to leave Janmaat off the team was a foolish one in my opinion. Due to an Achilles injury van der Wiel missed some time for his club team and lost his starting position.  Van der Wiel has a history of being inconsistent and many people view Serge Aurier as a better option at Right Back for PSG.  Janmaat is more consistent and is a regular starter for Newcastle United. The result of the game against Iceland was based mostly on the key mistakes of Bruno Martins Indi and Gregory van der Wiel.  I think it is time for Darly Janmaat to once again be the first team selection for the Netherlands at Right Back.
  4. Arjen Robben’s long history of injuries continues. When healthy Arjen Robben is undoubtedly the best player on the Netherlands, but remaining healthy is difficult for Robben.  Prior to this match Robben was named captain of the Netherlands team and a great deal of responsibility was placed on his shoulders. Robben was confident heading into this game, but limped off the field after 32 minutes of action. Robben is the most important piece for the Netherlands, but since his fitness cannot be counted on that means that others players will have to step up in his absence.
  5. There is no replacement for Robben. Robben’s injury was far from surprising. The man is incredibly gifted and a unique talent, but his history of injuries is long.  The Netherlands replaced Arjen Robben with Luciano Narsingh and winger Quincy Promes also got some playing time, but neither player impressed. Narsingh offers pace, but he never really threatened the defense and his final ball left a lot to be desired. Promes got ten minutes of playing time, but was unable to make any noticeable impact. The Netherlands will likely become accustomed to playing without Robben and unfortunately there does not appear to be a solid option to fill that role.
  6. Jasper Cillessen continues to struggle with stopping penalty shots. Jasper Cillessen was forced to face a penalty shot due to van der Wiel’s poor decision making. Cillessen has a reputation for being very poor defensively in penalty shot situations. This reputation is what caused Louis van Gaal to replace Cillessen with Tim Krul in the game against Costa Rica in the 2014 World Cup. Cillessen guessed the right way in this game and ultimately should have stopped the penalty, but failed to do so. The Netherlands has very little cause for confidence whenever Cillessen is faced with stopping a penalty.
  7. Danny Blind appears to have very little confidence in Robin van Persie. Robin van Persie lost his starting role to Klaas Huntelaar and Arjen Robben replaced him as captain. Neither move is surprising, but the decision to substitute Quincy Promes into the game instead of van Persie is a move that says a great deal about the confidence that Blind has in the former captain.  When the Netherlands were reduced to ten men, Danny Blind decided to substitute Jeffrey Bruma for Klaas Huntelaar. The decision to play without a classic Centre Striker and play with players that are more athletic and versatile is an understandable decision when reduced to ten men. Late in the game the Netherlands were down a goal and desperately needed to score. The Netherlands had the national team’s all time leading goal scorer on the bench and decided instead to bring in Promes who has never proven to be a goal scoring threat at this level. This move shows that van Persie may not have a place with this team moving forward.
  8. Daley Blind is versatile, but his best position is not Left Back. Daley Blind has played Left Back, Holding Midfielder, and has seen time playing Left Centre Back for Manchester United. Although Blind can play multiple positions he has performed the best when playing as a holding midfielder.  The injury to Jetro Willems made the Netherlands thin at the Left Back position and Blind has been given the job to fill that role. It wasn’t a horrible game for Blind, but he was not convincing in this role.  Blind looked shaky on defense at times and had several bad passes coming from the back. When Jetro Willems returns to fitness it will be interesting to see what position Danny Blind offers his son.

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.