Monday, May 15, 2006

Analyzing the Oranje

15th August 2006, Monday

Back to work after a wonderful long weekend... It is always good to kick off a week without the presence of JxMMy even for half a day when he went reporting back to his reservist camp for perhaps a mass sodomization exercise within his company...er...I don't even want to hear trace of what had happened...

Wanted to have an early turn in last evening to gear me up for a supposedly long week ahead but I was too captivated by the Yashima battle in the Taiga dorama, "Yoshitsune" and was amused when a bewildered-looking Imai Tsubasa made a cameo as a young archer who took up the challenge from Heike to shoot down a fan for Yoshitsune's Genji army. NHK surely loves such cameo of someone close to the lead actor just as in 2004's "Shinsengumi" when Tsuyoshi of SMAP appeared as a comedic foreign naval officer when group-mate Shingo was taking the leading role. But this particular episode had a melodramatic ending with the passing of one of Yoshitsune's well-treasured vassal who sacrificed himself in order to save his lord from been shot by a stray arrow.. Classic comradeship during his passing but didn't move me as much as when Yamanami was wrongly forced to comit suicide in Shinsengumi.

I had intended to officially tender my resignation today and even notified the HR department.
However with my supervisor still in the midst of her overseas conference, the full resignation would not be completed without her signature of recognition.
Then I started wondering would the contract over the other side actually materialized and the HR over there actually advised me to tender only after signing the contract to be on the safe side...so more waiting game.
However Bobby whom I had as minimal conversation with these days as JxMMy (nah...I might see Bobby only 1/8 of the working hours in a week yet I spoke to him more) enquired about my departure which I started wondering which blabbermouth went to spread the news even before I actually resign.. could be my supervisor which by then JxMMy should know as well... Not a really a top secret as people would bound to find out eventually but at least after I had officially tendered my resignation.

Anyway with the World Cup coming in less than a month's time, the coaches of all competiting nations are to submit their final list of 23 players which they could replaced 24 hours before their 1st match in case of any unexpected casualties...
Competition favorites France and Holland had submitted theirs with French coach Domenech naming 2 uncapped players as the major surprises in the squad in Frank Ribery of Marseille (touted to be the next Zidane) and Wigan's transfer-requested fullback, Chimbonda.
Minnows Angola also drew their squad as well as Mexico who many felt would the dark horse of the tournament with relative unknowns in the soccer scene except for Barca's Marquez & Bolton's Borghetti.

But let us look through the Netherland's 23 which I felt as Soccernet had reported correctly that Van Basten would be making a grave mistake not to include Ajax's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar who is in a flurry of good form for the entire season scoring 33 goals altogether and recently managed to score crucial late winning goals for Ajax for the Champions League playoffs in the Dutch League as well as in the Dutch Cup against PSV.


Edwin Van der Sar: No surprise, the Man Utd 35 year-old custodian should be the Dutch No. 1 too. But he is proned to some silly mistakes now and then despite finding some form in his first season with the Red Devils.

Maarten Stekelenburg: An up and coming GK from Ajax but kind of injury prone. But in a country no shortage of talent for outfield players, Stekelenburg would be the only future Dutch No. 1 for years to come

Henk Timmer: AZ Alkmaar's custodian who should be having a blast for the past 2 seasons in terms of club achievement but tends to let in many goals as well...

Who could be in: Except for usual suspects like Ranger's Waterreus & Alaves' Westerveld who are equally crappy by the way, there aren't any notable ones to displace Van Der Sar.


Kew Jaliens, Joris Mathijsen & Tim de Cler: All hailed from AZ with a supposedly member of the AZ's defensive quartet Barry Opdam missing. None are tagged with reputation like Jaap Stam or Frank de Boer but had done their job in the qualifiers in for Van Basten to justified their inclusions.

Jan Kromkamp: Liverpool right back who can advance in a wingback. Had problem adjusting to Spanish lifestyle in Villareal, and even the move to Anfield doesn't bring the best out of the former AZ man... well at least his sparse Reds appearance is better than Bouma's disasterious Villa run.

Andre Ooijer: Experience campaigner for PSV and the Dutch team, not the most skilful but enough to fulfill his defensive role. Most probably would be the 1st choice centerback in the line-up

John Heitinga: One of Ajax's academy finest in recent times. He was impressive in Euro 2004 as a right back and hope he would keep up his potential in the heart of the Dutch defense.

Khalid Boulahrouz: Khalid the Cannibal from Hamburg SV in the German League helped the club to the brink of a 2nd placing recently, let's hope he had inculcated a taste of some Argentines, Ivorians & Serbs in weeks to come.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst: Naturally a left winger but successfully adjusted into a winig back in Barca. This former Arsenal & Rangers man should continue his form after a great season at Nou Camp.

Who could be in: With Stam & de Boer out of the picture, I would expect the so-called "new Stam", Ron Vlaar to be included. But the Feyenoord-bound AZ youngster is deemed not a finished product yet.


Mark van Bommel: The former PSV skipper and talisman had an indifferent first season at Barca. WIth the club on the verge of a significant double, van Bommel would doubt how much he had contributed to a team beaming with superstar MFs. Nonetheless without his arch nemesis Davids, this might be the World Cup van Bommel shines.

Philip Cocu: Old warhorse of PSV, still a fantastic player at his age, another experienced player van Basten would be counting on.

Denny Landzaat: Supposedly a stylish defensive midfielder from AZ who might not reach the heights of the likes of van Bommel or Davids

Hedwiges Mauro: Just made his 1st team debut a year ago and now he is in the National team to the World Cup (then again we have Theo Walcott), obviously van Basten has big expectations of thsi Ajax product.

Wesley Sneijder: I still remembered a 6:0 mauling of Scotland in the 2nd leg of the Euro 2004 qualifying ties when Sneijder created 4 goals and this hot prospect from Ajax academy should really go to bigger clubs abroad like predecessors like Seedorf, Davids, van der Meydes and more recently van der Vaart.

Rafael van der Vaart: Who would have thought Rafael made such smooth transition into German football with HSV and if not for a luckless injury mid season, he could had ended the season as perhaps the best MF in the German league. Should be one of the talisman in the Dutch midfield this tournament

Who should be in: Well unlike the defense, Holland has an embarrasing great supply of talented MFs with the likes of Nigel de Jong, Seedorf, Edgar Davids, Andy van de Meyde (if he is ever fit in everton), George Bouateng not to be included. However I would have taken de Jong since he is such an utility man.


Ruud van Nisterooy: Fallen out with his gaffer, and now should be look elsewhere from Old Trafford for football next year. The World cup is the perfect platform to sell himself after been the 2nd top scorer in Euro 2004.

Arjen Robben: His Chelsea career might end prematurely as his past season hasn't been as fantastic as his first one. Nonetheless Robben is still a left winger with so much potential.

Dick Kuyt: Feyenoord's top marksman should be seeking bigger club with the Rotterdam team missing out Champions League next season and like RvN, Dick should find the tournament an ideal place to make his mark.

Ryan Babel: One of the true surprise is the inclusion of this Ajax youngster instead of his more prolific team-mate Huntelaar. Should feature as a last bid for goal and nothing more.

Robin van Persie: Arsenal's attacker who had a supposedly a good season, in transition of becoming the next Bergkamp to partner Henry in the future if he is still there of course.

Jan Vannegoor of Hasselink: The longest name in professional football and this PSV frontman is not proving as prolific thiese days for the recently-crowned Dutch champions as he was back in FC Twente.

Who could be in: Beside Huntelaar, Roy Makaay of Bayern Munich would be an obvious choice for many but then his goal-scoring streak is not been actualized in international stage. Romeo Castelen of Feyenord is another significant exclusion while I am sure many country would want a striker on impressive form even in his twilight years like Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

In conclusion, the Dutch 23 is made up of sound experience such as van der Sar, Cocu & Ooijer as well as young raw talents like Sneijder, van de Vaart, Robben & Heitinga. Many players should be out to prove a point (or worth) and to redeem themselves as a nation who missed the last World Cup altogether. Whether they can reprise the eye-pleasing Total Football of the Cryuff era or whether RvN-Robben-Kuyt can re-enact a Bergkamp-Kluivert of 1998 against Argentina, we shall see in coming weeks especially with final warm-up friendlies to come...
Japanese word of the day: オレンジ~o-ren-ji~(Orange) I think I would be wearing my bootleg Unisport classic Dutch jersey regularly come June.


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