After the shockingly poor performance from the Netherlands against the Republic of Ireland, Michael Bell picks five things he hopes to see when the Oranje face Poland on Wednesday.

  • By Michael Bell
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de jong oranjeA bit of effort

Against the Republic of Ireland, most of the Dutch players looked like they would rather be on their summer holidays than playing for their country. Half-hearted defending, sloppy passing, a slow tempo and only one effort on target ensured Netherlands put in one of the worst performances i have seen from the national team in years and a repeat performance on Wednesday will definitely end in defeat against a dangerous Poland side.

With only four months left until the World Cup qualifiers start with a tricky away trip in Sweden it’s time for the Oranje players to show that the national team can fight their way back to the top. More bite in midfield, movement up front and a quicker tempo are essential on Wednesday and some of the players need to put in performances that prove they actually care about putting on the Oranje shirt.

zoet nethJeroen Zoet

The goalkeeper was named in OPTA’s Champions League team of the year on Monday after an excellent campaign with PSV and deserves to win his fourth cap for the national team.

Question marks still hang over Jasper Cillessen, who has not proved consistently for me that he deserves to hold onto the number one jersey. In his last five Oranje matches, Cillessen has conceded ten goals the Ajax stopper was suspect for the Republic of Ireland goal on Friday.

Zoet impressed in the win over England earlier this year, and was consistent throughout the campaign for PSV, excelling in the Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid. It is time to give Zoet a run in the team.

roi van deikDefensive stability from set pieces

Time and time again the Republic of Ireland threatened Netherlands from set pieces on Friday and their goal inevitably came from a corner which Virgil van Dijk failed to win ahead of John O’Shea.

With Jeffrey Bruma and van Dijk, Netherlands have two big, strong and commanding centre backs, but both seem to struggle to command the area when they put on the Oranje shirt. Defensive errors were behind the failure to reach the Euros, and if Netherlands are to make the World Cup, Blind has to find a defensive partnership that can form a strong partnership at the back. Possibly the reintroduction of Ron Vlaar to the defence or the moving of Joel Veltman to the centre can help shore up Netherlands biggest weakness.

vilhena feeTonny Vilhena

On Friday, Netherlands midfield, apart from the returning Kevin Strootman, lacked fight and one player who could add a bit of bite is Tonny Vilhena, who is still awaiting his debut in the national team.

Currently in the shop window with his contract with Feyenoord expiring, Vilhena will be eager to get his first taste of international football and impress any watching scouts whose clubs may look to trump Inter Milan, with the Italians currently in pole position to sign the midfielder.

Riechedly Bazoer failed to take his chance on Friday and Vilhena should be given the chance to line-up next to Strootman in the centre of midfield. Netherlands may need his spirit to cut off the supply to Polish duo Robert Lewandowski and Arkaduisz Milik.

memphis oraExcitement

The game against the Republic of Ireland couldn’t have been duller for the fans of Oranje, who are getting sick of the side’s lack of attacking flair and rigid movement. Danny Blind needs to find a line-up that can bring out the flair that associated with the Dutch national team and get the fans behind the team ahead of the crucial qualifiers later this year.

Players such as Quincy Promes, Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum are capable of so much more than they have shown for their country recently and Blind needs to inspire them to turn it on against Poland.

Bring back the Netherlands team we all know and love.




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