All entries for Tuesday 27 June 2006

June 27, 2006

A little late review

Follow-up to And then there were 23 from [TBA]

This is the end

Goals for: 3
Goals against: 2
Cautions: 16 (2 expulsions)

Those who didn't play
Henk Timmer, Maarten Stekelenburg, Jan Kromkamp

The ones you won't remember
Ryan Babel, Hedwiges Maduro, Tim de Cler, and Kew Jaliens only played in the pointless match against Argentina.
Denny Landzaat and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink couldn't relight the matches as substitutions.

The rest
Van der Sar as brilliant as ever, possibly the best goalkeeper at the WC. 8
Boulahrouz very sturdy. Need experience to work on being caution–prone against cunning players like Figo. 6
Ooijer solid defender. Seems more fragile than Boulahrouz but was the most constant player in the team. In a positive way. The fact that you probably still don't know who he is says all about his game and the team. 7
Mathijsen very inexperienced but it didn't show. Possibly because Ooijer cancelled most of his (minor) mistakes. Looks too friendly to be a defender. Possibly too friendly to be on this Dutch team. 7
Van Bronckhorst very experienced which somewhat showed. I was afraid he was going to be sent off in the first two matches, and hated him for it. He did make a great interception against the Ivory Coast and played really well against Portugal. But then he did get sent off. Should work something out with Robben as they have the class to dominate the wing together. 5
Heitinga unsure. Had some brilliant passes in the first match, but had a hand in the explosion that was the Portugal match. If he grows up now he could still have a chance being remember in ten years time. 4
Cocu not as tragic as Zidane, but didn't have the strength to dominate or lead the Dutch midfield, which is basically where it all fell apart. 6
Van der Vaart misplaced. Not fully recovered, so it seemed, and not in a role where he could excell. The disorganized midfield didn't help either. 5
Sneijder the new captain? Only one obvious moment of inexperience. Might need to work on his presence. 6
Van Bommel misunderstood. Or at least that's what his expression makes you believe. The English are unnecessary hard on him, though to be fair he hasn't proven to be more than average. Yet. 5
Robben too soon. Everything happened to soon. Shone in the first match, where we needed him against Portugal. One trick pony, though he's the best at that trick. 6
Van Persie surprising. Must have learned something as an Arsenal sub. Some great moves and more composed than expected. Promising. 7
Kuyt idiot. Okay, he plays for Feyenoord so I'm biased. But let me quote the AD (Dutch newspaper):

Voerde tegen Portugal zijn basistaken als centrumspits goed uit en voldeed daarom

Sorry, in English that becomes

Performed his tasks as a striker well against Portugal and as such was adequate

What tasks? Be the player closest to the opponent's goal? Be inside the box? If he performed his tasks well, then why did we lose?!

To be fair on him, he needs a buddy and Van Basten should adapt the line up if he's going to field him. Still: 4

Van Nistelrooy disappointing. But so were Ronaldo and so many others. Could have used his experience and cunningness against the Portuguese, but then again it didn't help two years ago, so why would it have this time? 5

Overall, the Dutch team might not have been as entertaining as they used to be, but at least their matches were. There is some potential, and especially defensively they were very organized which showed against some of the best striking forces in the WC. The midfield was disastrous and someone should control Robben and Van Persie and make them aware they serve the others in the box. Hopefully Kuyt will end up in England and hopefully it will work for him as well as it did for Van Persie. Van Basten also needs more time, but I guess it took him some time to become one of the world's best ever too.

Fortunately, there is hope for the future. The lack of individual class was met with a better team spirit than before. Most of the younger players have gained a lot more experience, especially from the madness that was the Portugal match. More excellent youngsters will come in having won the EC –21 last month, one of them actually capable of scoring (Huntelaar).

I tried to be fair and realistic with the grades (all out of 10). Might have a go at the England team soon too. It doesn't look much better at the moment.


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