Joris Mathiesen understands well that national coach Frank de Boer left the Netherlands’ starting line-up almost intact on Monday for the European Championship against North Macedonia. The former international knows how important it is to stay in rhythm and not rest for a long time. “I’ve seen in the past what would happen if you destroyed just about everything,” Mathiesen says.
The current coach of Willem II was part of the Orange selection at the 2006 and 2010 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 European Championships. In both 2006 and 2008, the Netherlands, led by national coach Marco van Basten, led two sets of matches already certain of a place on the Tour. coming. Both times, the orange team came out right after that, in the World Cup in the eighth final against Portugal and in the European Championship in the quarter-final against Russia.
“However, you can’t really compare these two leagues,” Mathiesen says. “In 2006, in the last team game, only the players who were ‘clever’ with a yellow card remained, and I was one of them. And in 2008, almost the entire starting team was changed.”
The Netherlands stumbled in 2008 in the group with their victories over Italy (3-0) and France (4-1), the two countries still in the World Cup final two years earlier. The thought was also to defeat the coach of the Russian national team Guus Hiddink. But it went wrong (1-3).
“Russia was very strong, especially on terms. It was hot in Basel. They could have continued, even at a stretch,” knows Mathiesen, who would no longer do it that way had he been a coach. “Everyone plays a lot of matches. Most international players also participate in European tournaments with their club for a long time. You are used to the rhythm of two matches a week. Then it is better to stay at the rhythm of the final tournament. Everyone by the way, was behind that at the time, to deal with it That way and give the players a rest.”
Orange wasn’t the only one who chose this strategy. Portugal and Croatia also secured a quick spot in the quarter-finals in 2008 and also exchanged several players in the last group match. Both countries, just like Holland, were stranded in the quarter-finals. “You see it happening a lot,” said Mathiesen, who came close to winning the world title with Orange two years after the European Championships. “That of course is still my biggest disappointment. We were all convinced we were going to win the tournament, I’m completely out. It hurts so much when you go past the World Cup after that and don’t touch it.”
Mathiesen does not rule out that the current Dutch national team is also able to offer a lot on a good day against a strong opponent. “It’s good that they started against the weaker countries with the new system. You have time to grow in the tournament. Now you have to hope that the mechanisms come in and that confidence increases. Orange has the quality to be able to play once.”
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