Dutch Disease 3
June 13, 2012
I hereby have the pleasure of saying: I knew it! The two holding midfielders—one of whom, Van Bommel, is just lazy these days, on top of being mean—did not work. Schweinsteiger and Khedira and Özil tore them apart in the first half. Schweinsteiger was great, but he had so much time and space that it was hard not to have a great game. De Jong and Van Bommel were always caught in the middle, between the three German midfielders and their own defense. If they pressed high, the Germans would have space behind them, and Khedira had a few forward runs to see if they’d track him.
June 09, 2012
It is hard to think of the two more cynical and destructive players than the Netherlands’ Van Bommel and De Jong, who acquired dubious eternal fame for the karate kick into the chest of Xabi Alonso. Apart from their brutality, they’ve played as two holding midfielders, which slowed down transition and isolated Van Persie. That is why Sneijder was their top scorer in the World Cup. Both of them are playing today, which is to say that we can expect the same ugliness as in the World Cup. It will be interesting to see how Germany will respond to the Dutch bullying.
So Who’s Going To Win This Thing?
July 09, 2010
This should be a game for the ages, if for no other reason than because neither Spain nor the Netherlands has ever won the World Cup. We are going to have a new Champion and the constellation of world soccer is going to change. While the Netherlands narrowly missed it twice in the seventies, losing to the hosts (West Germany 1974, Argentina 1978), Spain has never reached the heights of the WC finals before. If Spain wins, a talented generation will be crowned as the best one in a long while.
Bracing for the Quarter-finals
July 01, 2010
Of all the match-ups, the most intriguing one (by a narrow margin) is Brazil-Holland. For one thing, they have a nearly identical tactical formation: two holding midfielders in De Yong and Van Bommel for Holland and Melo (or Ramires) and Silva for Brazil, a linking attacking midfielder in Kaka (Brazil) and Sneijder (Holland), four in the back, and a single man up top (Van Persie and Luis Fabiano) supported by pacey wingers.