Who should be Netherlands number one at the World Cup? Michael Doodeman runs down the candidates.

krul sIn approximately three months’ time, football’s biggest prize will up for grabs in Brazil. The competition is elite and the nations are hungry, however, only one country can lift the trophy in July. For the Dutch, despite Louis VanGaal’s predictions, there is only one real objective for every player, fan and staff member, and that is to win it all. The Oranje must pull it together in a few months’ time as they’ll have to patch up a couple of vulnerable components of their game. One position in the starting eleven that needs to be established is the number 1 role, the goalkeeper.

Holland has had a wealth of fantastic keepers in the past such as Hans Van Breukelen or Edwin Van Der Sar, and still do possess top keepers, but none of them have established themselves as the number one keeper. Van Gaal has established a short list of definite starters such as the freshly injured Kevin Strootman(will miss WC), Arjen Robben and Robin Van Persie, however he has not clearly identified a keeper yet, which is indeed one of the,if not the most prominent position on the field. Here is an analysis of the five keepers in contention for a starting role in Brazil this summer:

Tim Krul    Age: 25    Caps: 5    Club: Newcastle United.

Summary: Tim Krul has proven to be one of the best goalkeepers in the English Premier League. He has attracted interest from top clubs around Europe and has been Alan Pardew’s first choice keeper since the beginning of the season.

Qualities: Tim Krul is one of the world’s best shot stoppers. Whether he’s making a diving save, a challenging save, or a reaction save, Tim Krul has really impressed with his shot stopping capabilities. Krul is quick off his line to collect long balls, and is never shy to challenge his opponents in one vs one situations. Over time, Krul has improved his confidence in his box while claiming, gathering and handling balls.

Improvements/Comments: Unfortunately Newcastle and Holland don’t play the same style of football. Louis Van Gaal would prefer a keeper whom frequently distributes the ball, and starts play from the back with confidence and ease. With Newcastle, Tim Krul usually makes long clearances and doesn’t play too much possession football. Tim Krul is a favourite in the eyes of many fans, and it is only a matter of time before Louis Van Gaal realizes what he has passed up upon.

Michel Vorm    Age: 30    Caps: 14    Club: Swansea

Summary: Michel Vorm is an experienced keeper who has usually been a regular in the Dutch selection. He has been very consistent in the English Premier League as a top keeper and has his starting position at Swansea set in stone. Vorm was (earlier in the year) Van Gaal’s preferred keeper, however, he’s picked up a couple injuries this season.

Qualities: Vorm is also renowned for his shot stopping abilities. He has an excellent set of reflexes and is also known for his penalty shot stopping. Vorm is a good possession keeper, his passing contributes to Swansea’s style of play. Vorm is a sharp keeper, always ready to come of his line and to break down plays.

Improvements/Comments: Vorm is an experienced shot stopper with good distribution and fits into the Dutch style of play. Truthfully, he isn’t a tall keeper and isn’t renowned for his aerial ability to collect balls in his box. Vorm is a serious contender to start in Brazil, he must keep up the consistency at Swansea and keep working for Louis Van Gaal’s approval.

Maarten Stekelenburg    Age: 31    Caps: 54    Club: Fulham

Summary: Maarten Stekelenburg seems to be the long forgotten keeper of the Netherlands. After an unsuccessful spell at Roma, Stekelenburg moved to Fulham. Stekelenburg’s season at Fulham hasn’t necessarily been a flop, it’s just Fulham is having one of its worst seasons in their Premier League history. Stekelenburg has been swarmed by attack after attack this season, and has saved Fulham on many occasions. He is Holland’s most experienced keeper and just needs that extra boost of confidence heading into this year’s world cup.

Qualities: Maarten Stekelenburg is a 6 ft 51/2 inch giant. He is well known for his technical abilities to read and interpret play. He is great with organization, angles and communication. Stekelenburg is also a very good shot stopper. His height, reflexes and positioning allow him to save a lot of difficult shots. Stekelenburg still owns good distribution qualities and can adapt to the Dutch style of play as he previously did during his days at Ajax.

Improvements/Comments: Stekelenburg needs to find a burst of confidence once again while playing for the last placed Fulham team. In order for Stekelenburg to do so, he will need the help of his Fulham teammates to make a strong finish to the end of the season. The big Dutch keeper needs to continue fighting for the remainder of the season in order for Louis Van Gaal to select him once again, and who knows, maybe he’ll help the Oranje to more success as he did in 2010.

Jasper Cillessen    Age: 24    Caps: 5    Club: Ajax

Summary: Possibly Louis van Gaal’s choice to become number one, with the Ajax man starting the last three friendly internationals. Took over from the error prone Kenneth Vermeer as Ajax number one at the start of the season, and has conceded only nine times in 19 Eredivisie matches.

Qualities: A great shot stopper, Cillessen is agile, and fast. An Ajax goalkeeper doesn’t usually have much to do with his side usually bossing possession for long period’s of games, but Cillessen has shown great concentration at times to prevent Ajax getting hit with sucker punches.

Improvement/Comments: Hasn’t impressed in a Netherlands shirt as much as he has at Ajax, with many feeling he could have done better with both goals in the 2-0 defeat to France recently. Has all the qualities to be Netherlands number one for years to come, but may need to become more vocal towards his back four as he lacks the commanding presence that the likes of Edwin van der Sar had. Very poor at claiming crosses, and that could be a problem at the World Cup.

Jeroen Zoet    Age: 23    Caps:0    Club:PSV

Summary: Probably the most under rated of all five goalkeepers named, Jeroen Zoet has had a great season with PSV despite the club going through troubles midway through the season. Zoet was named as the new PSV number one at the start of the season after two excellent seasons on loan with RKC. Has kept eight clean sheets in 22 Eredivisie games, but is yet to make his Netherlands debut.

Qualities: Zoet has been behind a number of PSV’s victories this year, with the stopper pulling off a number of great saves in matches. Has great positioning, and is good in the air. His all round game makes him a top prospect for the future, and he has already been linked with a move to big clubs such as Arsenal.

Improvement/Comments: Zoet has no real weaknesses, and has only really suffered from poor defending from his team mates so far this season. The fact that he is yet to make his Netherlands debut makes it unlikely that Zoet will be number one by the time the World Cup comes round, but he has a real chance of being back up.


Michael Doodeman’s Picks:  1-Tim Krul/2-Maarten Stekelenburg/3-Michel Vorm/4-Jasper Cillessen/5-Jeroen Zoet

Football Oranje editor Michael Bell’s picks: 1-Tim Krul/ 2-Jeroen Zoet/3-Jasper Cillessen/4-Maarten Stekelenburg/ 5-Michael Vorm

Who would be your number one? leave your opinion in the comments box below.

Michael Doodeman (12 Posts)