Some current news here.
The group of Death. And again Holland wins all three games. Against the accepted opinion that Spain would be too hard, Chile would be too hard, Australia would be easy. Most of the analysts have it wrong. Spain appeared relatively easy, Australia was tough and Chile was put aside in a clinical masterclass of tactics.
Oh and we finally understand this 5-3-2 system of Louis!! It’s 5 goals in the first game, 3 in the second and 2 in the third. We will now go onto 1-3-3-4. So 1-0 vs Mexico. 3 goals in quarter and semi and 4 goals in the finals :-).
He might be a bit of a tool, but Louis van Gaal knows exactly what he is doing.
Chile’s danger comes from the right, so he brings in ironman Kuyt to guard the flank. He uses a fresh and super fit Wijnaldum to work on the other flank and he somehow instills confidence in presumed mediocre and inexperienced defenders.
In case you are wondering… I am VERY proud and enthusiastic. Van Gaal has brought something to the Oranje that other coaches have failed to do.
He has taught them how to play clinical, how to grind out a result and for young players to fit in and take charge.
Nigel de Jong played excellent yet again, as did Dirk Kuyt. I hereby forbid anyone ever to have anymore criticism on Kuyt’s contributions. He is not Van Basten. He is not Depay. And he doesn’t need to be. He is Dirk Kuyt. Superhero. But I also want to single out Stefan de Vrij and Daley Blind.
Despite what some punters here said, I felt Blind played a sensational game. His energy, his forward pressure, his positional smarts… He was class! Not just defending, but also in his passing. He got a couple of fouls against him that clearly in slomo (and hindsight) were very nifty touches of the ball. He is beyond debate for me. De Vrij and Vlaar were rocks at the back and finally De Vrij showed some guts playing the ball deep whenever he could.
Janmaat played his usual game but could do better with his forward runs. He will never be a super defender, but we like to see a bit more of him in the final third.
It was the defensive part of this game I liked. It might have been boring and we might not have fired on all cylinders…but why would we? To convince who? Why would we throw away energy and risk injuries? This game was supposed to be put away, with at the least a draw. And we did much better. Chile only got half chances and we scored two.
And two goals by subs. Well spotted Van Gaal. Gladiator Sneijder worked his ass off and allowed a young and spritely Fer to take dividends from a tired Chile. What a goal. Precision in the pass (Janmaat), precision in the placement of the ball. Superb!
Robben was a bit selfish at times, but when you have his form, really…would you be different. He had two massive opportunities and both times hit the target amidst at least three players. I say, let Robben do his thing.
The only player I felt was out of his depth, was Lens. I am not sure what was wrong with him. He probably wanted to force himself too much, trying to get Van Gaal to pick him for the coming matches as well. As some of you observed: he either went to ground or he fouled his opponent. He can do so well, but he was not on song this match.
But boy, how good is little Depay? He had some sensational little attempts at passes that didn’t connect and he had that wonderstrike from outside of the box. If it would have been a tad more to the left or right, it would have been another Goal of the Tournament.
This lad has it all. The complete package, for sure.
So kudos to the team, it was a composed and effective match. We dealt with their threats the way Italians can and we took the opportunity when it mattered. Subbing two tired gladiators for fresh young legs and there is your 3 points, thank you very much.
Man of the Match: Louis van Gaal. For sure. He did his homework, he made the right call and he prepared his team superbly. I tip my hat.
My biggest concern: lets not get ahead of ourselves. Forget about quarter finals, semi finals and finals. Not yet relevant.
The only thing that counts is the next game! Nothing else.
By the way, I have to add. The referee was great. He was composed and didn’t let the Chileans get under his skin! He ignored calls for a yellow for Blind (at first, but ending up giving him yellow for actually playing the ball) and he never was interested in their lame penalty shouts. Hats off!
Slightly politically incorrect but still funny….