Tag Archives: KNVB

The Ideological Problems in Dutch Football

So, just over a year after finishing third at the World Cup in Brazil, the Dutch national side have failed to even make the play offs for Euro 2016, finishing ahead of only Latvia and Kazakhstan in their group.

The team have been a shambles ever since Guus Hiddink took over from Louis Van Gaal after the World Cup in the summer of 2014, and changed from Van Gaal’s 5-3-2 to a “traditional Dutch” 4-3-3.

Things arguably got even worse when he was replaced by Danny Blind, who managed to take the side out of the play off places, giving them no chance whatsoever of qualification. Despite the constant mistakes throughout the qualification campaign, both managers as well as the KNVB insisted that the Dutch have to play attractive, attacking football, and this has led to the national team’s demise writes Fin Crebolder.

The Netherlands’ two best World Cup performances since the ‘Totaal Voetbal’ side of the 70’s have come in 2010 and 2014. The Oranje finished second and third respectively at these World Cups, and it’s no coincidence that the two most successful teams the nation has seen in a very long time both did achieved this by taking a more pragmatic approach in terms of style. It’s no secret that at both of these tournaments, the Oranje squad was not particularly strong, and both Bert van Marwijk and Van Gaal acknowledged and addressed this.

In 2010, Van Marwijk set his team up in a structured 4-2-3-1, with Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel sitting in front of and protecting a relatively weak backline, never venturing forward and allowing Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben to work their magic going forward.

This was very effective, but not hugely popular in The Netherlands, with many complaining about the aggressive style of Van Bommel and De Jong, who committed many fouls, particularly in the final against Spain.

Due to the unpopularity of the style, the KNVB requested that Van Marwijk played more attractive football, and in an attempt to do so, the World Cup runners up crashed out in the group stages of Euro 2012, although other factors also caused this.

In 2014, promising midfielder Kevin Strootman was ruled out of the World Cup finals through injury and Van Gaal, seeing that his absence left the midfield too unbalanced and the defence too unprotected, changed from a 4-3-3 to a counter-attacking 5-3-2 for the World Cup, adding an extra centre back to the defence and putting Arjen Robben up front with Van Persie.

This proved highly successful, with the formation producing a stunning 5-1 victory over Spain in the opening game. Although the team were never quite as scintillating again, they managed to finish 3rd due to Arjen Robben’s quite incredible form and some more excellent tactical decisions by Van Gaal. However, the KNVB clearly weren’t satisfied by this style of play, and chose Guus Hiddink over the excellent Ronald Koeman to replace Van Gaal as the former vowed to make the team play the “Dutch school” style of football again. The rest is history.

Whilst these pragmatic approaches did have their drawbacks, such as the current generation gap being created partly due to Van Marwijk’s approach that failed to introduce youngsters into the national team, the fact is that they created two of the most successful Dutch teams ever. However, the KNVB have managed to neglect this completely and continue to insist on the national team playing a traditional and Dutch attacking 4-3-3.

This insistence stems from fond memories of the Dutch side of the 70’s, with Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff revolutionising Dutch football and creating a legacy and style that both clubs in Holland and the national team strive to follow. It’s all well and good sticking to your nation’s traditional philosophy by trying to play beautiful football, but the current squad are not good enough to do this and still get results. In their (rather depressing) attempts to play Totaal Voetbal, they have instead achieved totaal failure.

There is an age old question in football; What is better, a beautiful loss or an ugly victory? The Dutch have traditionally preferred the latter, and whilst I agree with this, with the current squad the Dutch have two options: An ugly loss or an ugly win? That’s a no brainer right? Bruno Martins-Indi is not the next Ronald Koeman, Gini Wijnaldum is not the next Clarence Seedorf and Bas Dost is, and I can’t emphasise this enough, most definitely NOT the next Marco Van Basten. Yes, this is a shame, but the nation needs to accept it and accept that compromises must be made to find a way to be successful with this squad. As a matter of fact, Louis Van Gaal has already found a way to be successful with it, and the KNVB rejected the man who could continue and build on this success, in Ronald Koeman.

The Dutch need to stop living in the past and allow the 1970’s to be a beautiful memory for the time being. Ajax have retired the iconic number 14 of Johan Cruyff rather than run the risk of Yaya Sanogo playing in it.

Most filmmakers do not write a sequel to a truly great movie, instead leaving it be for the world to re-watch and enjoy. Artists don’t attempt to re-paint the Mona Lisa and risk tainting a great and iconic image, but instead simply admire it’s beauty.

I love Totaal Voetbal as much as the next Dutch fan, and I have no doubt that it’ll one day return in all it’s glory, but until then, we must compromise, make do with what is available to us, and wait for that fateful day.


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Hiddink returns as Oranje head coach

Guus Hiddink was introduced today as the new Netherlands coach to lead Oranje into the European Championship 2016 qualifiers. The 67-year-old has vowed that he will compile a team that will play “attractive but practical football” writes Will Burns.

New Oranje head coach Hiddink (centre) poses with assistants van Nistelrooy (right) and Blind (left).

Hiddink has already had a spell as head coach of his country in 1995 for a three-year tenure and is well coveted inside the Netherlands. He led PSV Eindhoven to a record-breaking six Eredivisie championships and four KNVB Bekers but, perhaps his greatest achievement, was taking underdogs South Korea, to a last four finish in their own backyard at the 1998 World Cup finals.

Hiddink has been named to replace Louis van Gaal earlier this year as Van Gaal had stated he wished to return to club management and later accepted the manager’s job at Manchester United. Hiddink has large shoes to fill as Van Gaal himself pulled off a great World Cup feat himself this summer, leading Oranje to third place and bronze medal in Brazil.

As the KNVB unveiled Hiddink, he said at the press conference: “First and foremost, bravo to the team, both the players and the technical staff who worked under Louis van Gaal.” He added: “There will not be many changes, I felt great enthusiasm on starting my first official day of work today.”.

Hiddink stated that he wished to keep faith in the ‘Dutch school’ while also hoping to maintain the “instinct of survival” that Van Gaal had established inside the team.

Hiddink has been out of coaching work since leaving Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in July last year, but at the end of last season acted as a consultant for Philip Cocu at PSV.

The deal Hiddink has signed with the KNVB runs through to the end of the 2016 European Championships in France, after which he will be replaced by current assistant Danny Blind. His other assistant will be former Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy.


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TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com

NEWS: KNVB release financial report

Three clubs in Dutch football are in poor financial shape, the KNVB announced on Wednesday morning. Based on their interim results, ADO Den Haag, Fortuna Sittard and FC Emmen are listed in Category 1.

Clubs listed in Category 1 must work on their financial recovery and gain Category 2 status within three years. The KNVB will investigate each case and set-up a plan to clean up each club’s financial difficulties.

The report, compared with earlier this year, is a vast improvement. In January, five clubs were listed in Category 1 and were put under scrutiny by the organisation. Helmond Sport and FC Dordrecht were then also listed as being in financial danger but the clubs reported last month to now being classed in the second category. The now-defunct SC Veendam, who went bankrupt last month, is removed from the list, while FC Emmen have dropped into Category 1 from the last report.

Mark Boetekees, who is responsible for the KNVB report is pleased with the progress. “It’s good to see that clubs now realise that a good and consistent financial policy is important. They must continue to work on financial recovery to ensure that their future is secure.”

In total they are 23 of the 34 professional clubs in the safe category 2. These are: AZ, FC Den Bosch, SC Cambuur, FC Dordrecht FC Eindhoven, Excelsior, Feyenoord, De Graafschap, Helmond Sport Heracles Almelo, MVV Maastricht, NAC Breda, NEC, RKC Waalwijk Roda JC, Sparta Rotterdam, Telstar, FC Twente, FC Utrecht, Vitesse, VVV-Venlo, Willem II and PEC Zwolle.

Eight clubs are in excellent financial condition and are listed in Category 3: Ajax, Almere City FC, Go Ahead Eagles, FC Groningen, Heerenveen, FC Oss, PSV and FC Volendam.

All clubs have to submit their figures to the federation for the year 2013/14 by the next financial assessment, which will be on June 15.



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