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Very, very busy Oranje / CDM 2022 / Qualifiers / Norway-Netherlands / September 1, 2021 /

Seconds to a point behind Turkey in qualifying group G for the World Cup in Qatar, the Netherlands begin this evening in Norway a delicate pass of three which will see them then face the Montenegrins and the Turks. With only two days of preparation for Louis van Gaal, their new coach.


“As we must manage to qualify immediately (sic), the selected must be on the job now” , he hammered. Hurry up ! Van Gaal therefore bet on the physical form of the moment by selecting 25 suitable players, who must be vaccinated against Covid 19 and who have had playing time since the resumption. Exit, therefore, Donny van de Beek, never aligned with Manchester United. Frank de Boer’s successor also used psychology to instil a winning mindset in his guys. He showed them a video of the 4x400m relay at the Tokyo Olympics where their compatriots won an unexpected silver medal, emphasizing Terrence Agard’s super time: “On the normal 400 meters, Terrence is 45.6 seconds. During the relay, he ran in 44.7 (43.6, in fact). » Time is running out, always! Then came the emotional sequence in this video which also showed images of the healing of Memphis Depay and Virgil van Dijk, both captains of the selection. Louis-le-Terrible even shed his little tear, just to shake up the psychological fiber of a group still marked by its failure in 8are of the last Euro… And then, these Orange who never really recovered from the sudden departure last summer of Ronald Koeman, whom they appreciated, did not particularly jump to the ceiling when the Dutch federation appointed the Iron Tulip in place of Frank de Boer, resigned after the Euro. So Van Gaal federates as best he can, establishing his usual authoritarianism, but which he has tempered with age (70 years old). He is thus attentive to the suggestions of his players in training and welcomes the studious atmosphere during discussions between groups of players where no one draws their parasitic smartphone. The return of Virgil van Dijk in defense of course also energizes the energies, he who was so lacking in the selection for a year. The Liverpool manager completes the usual hard core made up of Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Daley Blind, Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay (slightly affected). True to his youthfulness, Van Gaal called up two rookie defenders, Tyrell Malacia (22, Feyenoord) and the promising Devyne Rensch (18, Ajax).

4-3-3 or 3-5-2?

For the composition and the tactical system, Louis remained surprisingly enigmatic in the press conference… Which goalkeeper will be established among Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord), Joël Drommel (PSV Eindhoven) and Tim Krul (Norwich City)? “I won’t tell youhe asserted. Information of this kind is decisive, for Erling Haaland, for example. » Van Gaal expressed more explicitly that he wanted to contain Dortmund’s Golgoth threat: “If we manage to block the transmissions to Haaland, then the problem will be solved. » And the game system? In The Team of July 9, Van Gaal had been clear and clear: « The knockout defeat against the Czechs in 8are has nothing to do with Frank de Boer’s 3-5-2 system. » As a result, even if Dutch observers suspect a return to the sacrosanct national 4-3-3, Louis van Gaal could just as well put back in place the 3-5-2 in which his Orange had shone and finished third at the 2014 World Cup. Which could give us a starting XI close to this, with Krul (keeper), De Vrij, Van Dijk, De Ligt behind and then Dumfries, De Roon, De Jong, Wijnaldum, Blind in the middle plus Weghorst and Depay in attack? Coach’s response: “Only I know what system we will adopt. So I won’t answer you. I’m not going to give such information to Solbakken, my Norwegian colleague who already knows a lot about our team. » And Bam ! With determination and high ambitions for the upcoming World Cup, “Louis Attack” nevertheless imposes a sincere humility on himself. “I know you are trying to get me to say that we are stronger than the Norwegians. But this is not the casesaid the admirer of Italy 2021 winner of the Euro. Everything depends on the collective quality of the team. Chelsea proved it by winning the last Champions League. » A wise caution also drives a man who retired after coaching for the last time in 2016 at Manchester United. And for his third tenure at the head of OrangeLouis van Gaal has not forgotten that before his magnificent career at the 2014 World Cup, he had failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup. It was 20 years ago, to the day, during a defeat 1-0 in Dublin while attacking Van Nistelrooy, Kluivert, Hasselbaink, Overmars, Van Hooijdonk, Zenden…

By Cherif Ghemmour


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