Blind Sacked as Netherlands’ Woes Continue

Danny Blind has been sacked as Netherlands manager following a shock defeat against Bulgaria. Fred Grim will be in charge for the Netherlands’ game against Italy on Tuesday. The defeat against Bulgaria means the Dutch are fourth in group A, with seven points from their five games. France top the group with thirteen points followed by Sweden with ten. The Netherlands are facing the real prospect of failing to qualify for a major tournament for the second time running.

There is no doubt that the Dutch have some talented players, however they do not have enough. The Netherlands reached the final of the World Cup in 2010, eventually losing Spain. The Dutch finished third overall in the 2014 World Cup, however the team failed to qualify for Euro 2016. A change in manager was clearly needed, a new approach may just breathe new life into an already talented team. The worry is the likes of  Martins-Indi, Daley Blind and Memphis Depay do not seem be good enough to get the team to Russia for the 2018 World Cup finals. How has it come to this, in a country that was once the byword for good practice in development?

The Opta Stats still say that the Dutch are producing more homegrown players for the Eredivisie than any other top league in Europe. Of the players who started games in Holland’s top-flight in the last round of league matches, 64.6 per cent were Dutch. That compares with 27.7 per cent English in the corresponding Premier League games. The next highest after Holland was France with 58.2 per cent homegrown players in their league. The question, clearly, is about the quality of the league itself.

The problem for the Netherlands is the defensive side of the team, with Virgil van Dijk out injured they look very shaky at the back. In attack they have some fantastic players but that means nothing if you cannot defend. One thing is certain the Dutch need a manager who can reignite the team and have them play the type of football that has seen them come close in tournaments before. Ronald Koeman would be my stand out choice, however I do not see that happening. If you take a look around at managers who are currently available, it is slim pickings.

It would be a shame to see a World Cup without the Netherlands involved, however that is quickly becoming a reality. A change was much needed, now they have to choose the right man to try to get the team to Russia next year.