How the Dutch Can WinJuly 10, 2010 at 2:27 am | Posted in World Cup Memories | Leave a comment
All Canadian citizens are honorary Dutch citizens after our part in liberating Holland in the Second World War. Many Canadian soldiers lost their lives in Holland. Anyone who has visited Holland must realize it is a fantastic place. Amsterdam is a jewel. Sure, Spain is a great place too, but I am supporting Holland in the World Cup final. The question is, how can they win?
The odds are against them. While the Swiss proved Spain can be beaten, this was an early game and Spain was not yet in full stride. Spain has marched remorselessly through the knockout rounds like a kind of football machine. Every aspect of their game, from Casillas all the way to Villa, is magnificent. You simply cannot get the ball off of midfielders Xavi and Iniesta without fouling them. And yet, this is what the Dutch must do.
The Dutch must find a way to get Spain to cough up the ball and then must get Sneijder and Robben the ball for fast counter attacks. Look for tough guy Mark Van Bommel to give some early hard tackles to try to get the Spanish midfield to forget that football is a fun game. Van Bommel can be very intimidating indeed. If Holland lets Spain keep the ball their goose will be cooked. Dirk Kuyt will have to run himself to exhaustion in chasing the ball down.
The Dutch must get Robin Van Persie interested in the game. He has only one goal and he needs to score. He is due for one. Look for Gio Van Bronckhorst to try his luck again from long range.
There have been rumours that the starting Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg, has a hip injury and may not play. This is bad news, because the Dutch keeper must perform heroics to keep the Dutch in the game. The Dutch must be better organized in defence. They cannot afford to concede any goals at all. While they came from behind against Brazil, if they go a goal down against Spain, Spain will play a frustrating possession game and wear down the Dutch who will be fruitlessly chasing the ball all over the park.
Holland must also keep possession of the ball when they get it, which will likely be rarely. One thing Spain does extremely well is to transition immediately to defending once they have lost the ball. They defend as a team, and form a net which almost always catches the ball very quickly. Spain defends in the same manner as Barcelona FC. It is very difficult to keep the ball from them and almost impossible to get the ball off of them. Holland must break up this cycle and try to keep the ball, turning the tables of the possession game against Spain.
The Dutch must remember that Spain can be beaten, even by lowly teams such as the Swiss and the US. It has happened before and it can happen again. Holland won all of its games in qualifying and has won six games in a row in the tournament. Now is no time to lose!