Together with his brother Frank, they are the most famous and successful twin brothers in soccer. How they will be as twins who played in the same teams: from Ajax to Barcelona, in Catalonia, passing through Rangers in Scotland. The anecdotal thing is that both ended their career playing in Qatar. Exactly in the Al-Rayyan and the Al-Shamal.
Ronald de Boer has extensive knowledge of the Qataris. He says that he is pleased that they are hosting the World Cup, despite the various questions. The truth is that the midfielder, who defended the Netherlands when we simply called him Holland, is confident that his team will be the ‘Clockwork Orange’ of yesteryear. An ornate football steamroller.
It was enough for them to overcome Senegal, a fast-paced and disciplined team that suffers from Sadio Mané, their exclusive figure. But now a more solid squad that won at the opening of the World Cup is coming: Ecuador.
—What analysis did Holland’s victory against Senegal leave you with?
The first game in the World Cup is always difficult because you don’t want to lose, since you know that when you lose, pressure is generated on the team. On the other hand, if you win there is tranquility and confidence. Also, because if you beat Qatar, you already have six points. That’s why it was very important to win. Senegal is the most difficult group in the Netherlands and for that we are happy.
Do you think they played well?
The game wasn’t good when you look at it objectively, since we didn’t play as we’ve seen in recent games, because there was a lot of nerve, but I think we had great chances to score the first goal. In the end, we suffered a bit, especially coming from behind with the ball in front. We have not played well. But, as I have told you from the beginning, we are happy to have won.
—Now it’s time for Ecuador. How will they face this second game?
Ecuador is going to be a very difficult game. I have seen it against Qatar and they are a great team. Very strong physically. It will be a difficult game for us, but I think the Netherlands have a team to win all their group games.
—What could the Dutch team aspire to in this World Cup?
Before the Cup, I have said that we have a very difficult team to win, because we have very good elite defenders like Virgil van Dijk, Jurrien Timber, Matthijs de Ligt, Denzel Dumfries, Stefan de Vrij, Nathan Ake. Passing them is difficult. And when Memphis Depay is good, we’ll have a team that will make a difference. I am confident, we are not favourites, but like Portugal we have the chance to reach the final. I’m sure of that, because sometimes it takes a little luck.
—What would you say is the particularity of this selection from the Netherlands?
Let’s see, the only problem with the Netherlands is that we always associate them with excellent forwards, now we say that we are a team with very good defenders and for me it’s a bit strange, because the Netherlands is a team to press, attack, technically very good and now we have players who have a lot of talent up front, but they are very young and I don’t know, Louis Van Gaal has to take risks.
—The slogan is not to face England in the round of 16?
If the Netherlands win everything, we won’t meet England, who for me have a very good team. At last the youngsters have the chance to show their quality like Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount and I am very happy that they are put in the team, let’s see how they do in the other games.
—Do you think they deserved to beat Senegal by more goals?
No, there were some occasions that the Netherlands created, where the Senegal goalkeeper had a reaction, but I think that if you score in the first half it gives you more confidence. Now, the one who plays the best doesn’t always win and it’s vital that you don’t lose the first game because then the second duel gets complicated. This game went well because you beat Senegal 2-0 and we are very happy. Now we have to see how we do against Ecuador.
—The good thing is that Louis Van Gaal has experience and will know how to handle the Netherlands in this World Cup. Or am I wrong?
We have to win all the games in the Group Phase. He has to be at his best and analyze what is coming in the next phase, because you will find teams that do good physical work. Right now he needs a bit of luck, the time is right and I am confident that the Netherlands will reach the top in the World Cup. For now, we’ve only played the first game, which puts us ahead, but it’s only the first step.
—How have these days been for you in Doha?
Here in Qatar everything is perfect, the people are friendly, I have lived here for 7 years and a lot has changed, with all the preparations involved in making the World Cup. We are going to see a spectacular World Cup, the people are close and that is very special. World Cup fans are together and that makes it spectacular. It is an unforgettable experience for them.