sabato 16 giugno 2012

Something to do

It is not so long ago that Holland shocked the world coming to the WC 2010 final. That suggested their status was raised again and that  Dutch football still deserved credit. But the impact to this tournament was a mess and the expectations are falling down. Holland needs to beat Portugal by at least two goals and hope Germany defeat Denmark to advance behind the Group stage. Coach Bert van Marwijk has a lot of work to do or Holland will join...Holland (1980), West Germany (1984), Italy (1996), Germany (2004) and France (2008), in the list of World Cup runners-up eliminated in Euro group phase. The Dutch showed an unusual tactical caution under van Marwijk. They didnt' show a collective structure. Holland's pressing wasn't here: the team has been passive without the ball. They started the first two games with two holding midfielders in Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong, neither was particularly able playing the ball. In addition, they left big spaces open between the defensive and midfield's lines. Neither was able to chase Bastian Schweinsteiger as Germany's midfielder led 2-0 though a pair of assists.
The first goal allowed was paradigmatic. With van Bommell and de Jong chasing Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil, Wesley Sneijder was unselfish leaving the Dutch outnumbered 3 v 2 in the middle of the pitch, while Arjen Robben didin't come back to cover centrally. Wingers Arjen Robben and Ibrahim Afellay were so poor a showing. Robbie van Persie was ineffective. Sneijder, as said, stayed to up against Germany and didnt' help defensively. Against Denmark, Holland squared a lot of scoring chances but against Germany they was outplayed. The Netherlands showed weakness on the defensive pitch. They need to take advantage of their offensive skills. Everybody knows that the Dutch are most dangerous pushing forward. van Marwijk ran the previous two games in the same way, changing after the half time. In both games, he brought on Rafael van der Vaart for a holding midfielder, and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to replace Afellay, with the Schalke forward playing up top. With van der Vaart and Huntelaar on, Holland looked a better side showing their only bright moments. But, above all, the questions is that Total Football is disappeared. There was no spaces created, no speed, no movement. Criticism of van Marwijk said that he killed Total Football and the coach himself pointed out in 2010 that Total Football days are over. The 4-2-3-1 formation is not working. So, what to do? Coming back to a 4-3-3 formation would put on place the question about Sneijder: van Marwijk coulde reshuffle players' positions and push Sneijder outside, utilize him deeper as second central midfielder or he could pick him off the starting XI. Another option could be to insert Van der Vaart and Sneijder as interior midfielders in a 3-men midfield, while van Persie could take Afellay’s position as left wing, with Robben as right flanker and Huntelaar as centre-forward. Or the coach could start with De Jong as holding midfielder alongside Van der Vaart and Kevin Strootman with van Persie and Sneijder or Robben on the flanks. With a little more of brave, van Marwijk could take the risk, playing a 1-3-3-3 formation with Sneijder behind an attacking trio of van Persie, Huntelaar, and Robben. Staying in a four-men back line, the problem is on the left, where Jetro Willems suffered a lot. But Wilfred Bouma played as centre-forward latest seasons; Stijn Schaars isn't a pure left-back; and Khalid Boulahrouzis so-so. Some changes have to be made or the Dutch will be hurt.

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