Ian Holloway: This is the year of the tangerine so I'm going Dutch

The Blackpool manager's unique take on the world
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The Independent Online

So I suppose you want me to tell you who's going to win tonight. Well thanks a lot, it's not exactly an easy call. Holland and Spain are two fantastic teams, with great players who are playing for each other.

Both managers know exactly what they are talking about and they give clear instructions. They are both playing systems that are the future of football and I can't wait to see the final. But – and if you're a betting person ignore this next bit because I'm rubbish at predictions – I think after what happened at Blackpool last season this is the year of the tangerine, so I'm going for the Dutch.

Those boys have really impressed me and they are terrific going forward. It's a little bit frightening to think that Robin van Persie might be playing against us second game of the season, when my Blackpool team go to the Emirates.

I hope he's rested. I'll be shouting: "Come on Arsène, he looks tired, leave him out, let the lad put his feet up." But if he doesn't rest him then I've got a plan; I'm going to get Arjen Robben in my team. I know it's a bit ambitious but I'll have a go. After all, the lad's got potential...

I've got say that I feel a little bit sorry for Germany because I liked the way they played. I went on a Mediterranean cruise with my family last week and we were watching the Spain-Germany semi-final on the boat. When Germany conceded, a big cheer went up and I didn't like that because I have massive respect for their manager and everything they try to do on the field.

We saw two great teams on Wednesday and one set-piece decided it. The way both of them are trying to do things is spot on for me. I will single out Bastian Schweinsteiger for Germany. He is attack-minded but he sits in and passes the ball at the right time, breaks forward only when the moment is right, and he scored a fantastic goal to get them into the semi-final.

Mesut Ozil is also a brilliant player, yet they were still on the losing team because whereas Spain know their system off by heart, Germany – who haven't been together as long as a team – are not quite there yet. Holland know their structure well, which is why the final should be intriguing.

I said before the tournament began that I would love to see a team who'd never won it before to triumph and that is now going to be the case.

The final will be a wonderful spectacle because of the enthusiasm of the fans and the marvellous colours of the teams; fiery red and the beautiful, vibrant tangerine. God knows who will wear the home kit but what a fantastic sight it will be. I will be proud of whichever team wins because of the football they play and the way they move the ball around.

When I was fuming with Capello in Plymouth...

Myself and Fabio Capello have a bit of history. He was in the opposition dug-out at Plymouth a few years ago when we played Real Madrid in a pre-season friendly.

I say friendly but I wasn't very friendly; I was fuming because we lost to a 75th-minute penalty that was never handball!

I have the utmost respect for Mr Capello because he is a great manager who has done so much in his career, but he's got a big job on his hands to rebuild our national side in time for the European Championship.

What would I do if I were him? The first thing would be to organise a team meeting with the lads who played in South Africa. I would get them all together, put my arm around their shoulders and say: 'how many of you think you did yourself, your family and your country proud?' I'd ask them why they thought things didn't work out and get them to tell me exactly how they were feeling.

And then I'd look at it as a coach and I'd be humbled by what happened and think about what to do next. As a group we need to get better, that is clear. And if we are going to sort ourselves out in time for the Euros, we've got to take a long, hard look at ourselves and ask what we are doing.

Football in this country is a bit like our tennis. We've paid more money on producing tennis players than a lot of other countries and yet we haven't produced anybody. The best one we've got went to Spain to learn his trade. How can that be right?

Well done, Andy Murray, I'll take you all day long pal. I don't care if you're Scottish because we're all the same. I'm not English. I'm from Great Britain and I want it to be great again. That's how I feel.

But to do that, we have got to teach our kids about different systems and ways of playing the game, and to do that we need to have a good look at how others are doing it.

Spain have a different way of playing, as do a lot of the rest of the world, and we have to be careful we don't get left behind. Our best clubs, like Arsenal, can play the Spanish way because they have foreign players.

In football you have to learn, adapt and move forward. I see other countries doing it but not us. Well done to other countries but what on earth are we doing? Mr Capello needs to look at the Germany game and ask why we didn't do well in that match. It would have been the same had we played Spain or Argentina. They would have wiped the floor with us had we played 4-4-2.

So let's have a good look at ourselves, get rid of expectation and arrogance, and start learning from everyone else. We need to, very quietly but very quickly, go about the business of moving our game forward or else we risk exactly the same disappointments at the European Championship and the next World Cup.

We've a squad of 16 but it's not a big enough pool

I came back from my holidays on Thursday morning and drove straight from my home in Bath to Blackpool, getting there at 10.30pm, ready to start pre-season training the next day.

It was great to see the lads again but there is nowhere near enough of them. With the Premier League season five weeks away, we have 16 in our squad. Manchester United and Chelsea have 50-odd to choose from! So we are a bit behind the black ball at the moment, I'm snookered, but I can't wait to work out how to get out of it. I'll meet the chairman and talk about what he's been doing while I've been away, which is finding out about 20 players that we've targeted. I am likely to try and sign about nine, and that nine will make up a squad of 25.

As well as that, we're allowed an unlimited pool of under-21s so that is my next task: to try and find some young lads. At the moment we've only got four. That's because we've never paid enough money to get a strong youth system going.

We always said when we were in the lower divisions that we could not afford to do the same as Premier League clubs do with their youth set-ups. Now we are a Premier League club so I've got to try and sort that area out.

I won't make crazy signings of overpaid and over-rated players. Everyone else has fallen into that trap, but not me. I am going to take my time and try to get some good people in to help my lads.

Blowing my horn for South Africa

South Africa used to be all about what was wrong in the world. For me it's now about everything that is right. The World Cup has been fantastic and the enthusiasm of the people there has been overwhelming.

Like I said in my first column, I hope it helps their country long-term because they deserve it. We need the World Cup to be beneficial to all the people in that wonderful country. Their culture, love and enthusiasm for life has shone out to me.

I don't care about vuvuzelas. They can blow them as loud as they like because it's life and you must embrace it. I'd love to go there one day, it has really captured my imagination.

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