Once in Oranje: Ernst Faber
Some players can call themselves ex-internationals. Even if they only donned the orange jersey once. This time around, it’s now 37 years old Ernst Faber.
When the PSV defender steps into coach Advocaat’s office in February 1998, his timing is perfect. The PSV coach is talking to team manager Guus Hiddink and wants Faber to join the Oranje trainingscamp. “There was this eight day trip planned to Miami, Florida, preparing for the WC1998 in France. We had two games planned and we had training sessions as well. But also remember feeling like a tourist. We did a lot of sightseeing as well.”
Faber wasn’t surprised he was selected for the Dutch team. “You know that when you play at a club like PSV and you play well, your name will come up. I was doing really well that season and I did realize the call could come.”
The first game Oranje played in Miami was against the USA. Ronald de Boer and Clarence Seedorf score and Oranje wins 0-2. Faber starts and finishes on the bench. “I didn’t mind. You can’t count on anything and I was happy to be able to be part of it. PSV’s level was quite high then, but the level of Oranje was even two levels up.”
Three days later, Mexico is the opponent. After 20 minutes, the game is played, Faber can see from the bench. Kluivert (twice) and Wim Jonk put Oranje 3-0 up in only five minutes. Ernst Faber, today he’s the coach of PSV’s A1 team, makes his debut in the 58th minute of the game, for Winston Bogarde. “That was just a fantastic moment. Hiddink didn’t give me lots of tasks. He just said: do what you need to do and play ball.”
But, Oranje would get in trouble soon after. In the 65th minute, Palencia scores the 3-1 and Faber would even cause a penalty for Mexico: 3-2. “I was too eager when I started that challenge. It’s pretty disappointing we conceded two goals with me in defense, but I didn’t take it personally. It’s a team sport and we’re all winning or all losing.”
Faber wouldn’t play another game for Oranje. Injuries right before the WC, he tore his achilles in the last competition game, resulted in Faber watching the WC on his sofa, leg in plaster. “You can only guess what would have happened with my career if that injury hadn’t happened. Who knows… It took quite some strength and willpower to come back after that injury. I had trouble reaching PSV’s level, let alone Oranje. But that’s life, you know. I was part of it all once, and that gave me a lot of joy.”
Friendly, 24 february 1998.
Nederland – Mexico 3-2 (3-0).
Score: 17. Kluivert 1-0, 19. Kluivert 2-0, 20. Jonk 3-0, 65. Palencia 3-1, García Aspe (pen.) 3-2.
Nederland: Ed de Goey; Aron Winter, Frank de Boer, Winston Bogarde (58. Ernest Faber), Arthur Numan; Clarence Seedorf, Wim Jonk (46. Michael Reiziger), Ronald de Boer (46. Marc Overmars), Philip Cocu; Patrick Kluivert (74. Boudewijn Zenden), Michael Mols (46. Pierre van Hooijdonk).
For those who still remember the 1994 WC and how Koeman outplayed England, here’s a now famous clip on how Graham Taylor lost his job.
BTW – Holland and England were fighting to see who would come second to….Norway !
Posted from Singapore
I remember! Norway was a hell of a tough opponent back then. Torre Andre Flo ??? Or something like that?
Jan they (Norway) had a smart coach, worked everything out with a computer and slide rule and knew who could do what, both in his own team and the opposition. I believe they have just re appointed him ? Right Finn ?
Posted from Singapore
I remember that too Carlos… Interesting. Like Lobanovski, eh?
@Carlos & Jan: Yes, the famous Norwegian coach Egil “Drillo” (The Dribler, as was his nickname in his playing days) Olsen is back. His first game was the win over a nearly full Germany squad in Germany. Last time Norway beat Germany in Germany, Hitler was still in charge (1936)…. The next two games were a silly friendly all the way to South Africa, were the players were forced to fly in coach class all the way to SA as a team building thing… Don’t know if it worked very well as Norway lost 2-1 but followed 3 days later with a 3-2 win at home against Finland.
The Norway team in 1994 was great. It was actually Tore Andre Flo’s brother, Jostein that played. The Flo brothers (all 3 of them) all went on with great international careers and played top professional football in the Prem, Italy and Germany. The other good players on the 1994 team was Erik “The Viking” Thostvedt, great goalkeeper playing for Spurs, Rune Bratseth, libero team captain for a great Werder Bremen side and possibly one of the best defenders in the world at the time.Alongside him you had Alf-Inge Haaland (Roy Keane ended his career with his deliberate foul on the Man City captain).
The greatest thing about the WC1994 was that it was in the US, and I got to see Norway play all it’s matches as they were in New York and Washington. It was “the group of death” with a great Ireland side, Italy, and Mexico all together. New York was completely mad (Italians, Irish, and Mexican’s all in the same group…The city was completely on fire. People who never had seen a soccer match all of a sudden became big fans etc.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last much longer than the world cup itself…
Also further regd. the Norwegian coach, Olsen: This is a bit for Goose and other teachers out there. I think he posted a piece on how many of the good coaches had proper Teachers education. Well, Olsen is actually a Professor in Footbal!!! ( that option wasn’t on in my University..grrrr). He has been teaching in our top sports institute for decades.
His thing was that he was one of the first to really use scientific methods to analyse the game. He introduced many concepts to break down the game that are now standard fare for the top coaches. He was a big proponent for direct football. A terrible thing to watch, but incredibly effective at the time. A very talented and extremely well organised defense, fronted by a bunch of busy bees in midfield that would never stop running and always harass the ball on defense, followed by a long ball towards the tallest striker on the pitch. It absolutely gave teams like Mexico and Brazil (and Holland and England) the fits.
Olsen is extremely smart, a top statitician, and always calculates odds for eveything. When he was out of football, other than the top TV pundit, he was a top dog with one of the betting firms, a job he obviously had to give up in order to take the Norway job again.
He is also a bit of a nutcase. He would wear these Wellington Boots for each game in the dug out. Kind of weird to see the Trappatoni’s, Jack “the lad” Charlton’s of the world all suited up next to this unshaven, bespecled little guy in a wrinkly track suit wearing Wellies. When he was younger, he was also a vocal and avid communist, although he toned that down as his career progressed.
I am sure he or someone else will write a biography at some point, and that will be a must read for me. A very interesting character.
@Carlos, Yes, I remember the deciding qualifier in Rotterdam. (Well, maybe not “deciding”—they had to beat Poland a month later to clinch.) Was watching the British broadcast. Koeman hit the free kick. The British announcer simply, quietly said: “Oh, thats genius.” Then Bergkamp clinched it with a marvelous goal that he skipped around the goalkeeper.
Posted from United States
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