The group stage at the World Cup has come to an end and the Orange have gone 22-0 with three wins and a goal to advance to the quarterfinals. A good moment to look back on the three games played in India with national coach Jeroen Delmy. What went well, what could be improved and what dangers still lurk?
Jeroen, did you expect it to be this easy?
Jeroen Delmy: ‘The team level was definitely better than expected. You never know what to expect anyway. For example Chile. We practiced against that team at the end of December. It was not as easy then as it is now. I expect more from New Zealand. They didn’t give a house. So it was easy for us against those countries and Malaysia.’
Wouldn’t you have done an actual test?
“The crossovers will show if we’re really good, or if our competition was lacking. Overall, I’m happy with how it turned out. You have to advance to the quarterfinals. But there’s a risk in that. It went too easy. You have to be there during the quarterfinals. Then you have to be sharp. , then you can’t buy mistakes anymore. In hindsight it would have been good to have tested a little more. Maybe the opponent could have exposed things that didn’t go right. That has to come from us. We’re interested in that. Criticize points for improvement. That’s all we can do.’
“Other teams were tested, but I dare say our attitude was good. You want to go into the quarter-finals with confidence and a good feeling. It’s okay. We couldn’t have done better.’
What could be better in your opinion?
‘In the duels with Malaysia and New Zealand, if the last pass went wrong, it worked against Chile. We are already doing a lot of good. Only the last moment, it will be better. The match started well. All was not well against Chile either. I thought our first half was very lackluster. The second half was good. And be fourteen.’
Fourteen goals..Which do you think is the best?
‘I really liked the counter with the ash. The ninth goal. With Derk de Wilder, Thierry Brinkmann and Koen Bijen. The goal reflected the spirit of the team. We give each other a lot. Give each other goals. Even more so against Chile. For example, Tjep Hoedemakers could have gone off on his own at times. It shows how we are.’
“That goal shows how much power we have in transition. With that much pace, I’m sure we can hurt any team. Small ones, but definitely big ones.’
The only blemish is the injury to Jonas De Guise, how is he doing?
‘He had a knee problem during training against Chile. He was not allowed to play as a precaution. I don’t want to take any chances on that. He is the lynchpin of our team. important to us. Comes on well, key on the ball, plays well out of formation in midfield. Jonas is the one who is in that place now. I think it will be good because he is important for the good continuity of the tournament.
The quarter final is true. Counting down the days until Wednesday?
‘It starts now. All are back to zero. We are calm about it, but that is also a risk. It shouldn’t be too convenient. We will see the final details in the coming days. Practice corner variations and shoot-outs. Such things. It’s important now.’
The opponent will be either South Korea or Argentina. What do you expect?
Argentina can play well against teams they want to play. For example, they had a very tough time against South Africa. That’s why Argentine players love to play against us. It will be different against South Korea. South Korea is a lousy team. They don’t even have to have the ball. Play more balls to avoid making mistakes in your own build-up. It could go either way. After all, they have nothing to lose.’
You visited Argentina in December. You drew for the first time there and lost the shoot-outs. You won the second game. How do you see it?
“I’m really glad we got back there. They really played to win. That’s good for us. We had to talk to each other about how to play games, how games are decided in detail. Everything worked well up until the summer. Not now. That was really helpful.’
Who is the surprise of the competition?
‘England. I think it’s a good team that you don’t hear much about. They have rightly won a tough group with India and Spain. The team is well integrated. In the past they had to work hard. But now there is a more and more personal quality. Zach Wallace is an example. All other leading nations are in the top 2 of their groups. The shortcuts are interesting. A better country to go home to.’
What are your personal highlights so far?
“The Rourkela stadium is magical. It was the most beautiful stadium I’ve ever been to. In beautiful surroundings, with full halls. Result wise, the answer should definitely be 14-0. I am a man of the history books. I think it’s great that we have achieved a record with that result. Kudos to the team. For me the real highlight is yet to come.’
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