Thursday, July 1, 2010

Netherlands v. Brazil - Part 2

I am hoping for an epic battle akin to the 3-2 match last decade. Both teams have looked solid defensively, but spent most of their time going forward. It will be interesting to see if one side is able to dominate possession, and how the other will respond.

The man to watch for Brazil is Robinho. He has been their creative force so far in this tournament. Luis Fabiano is getting the goals, but Robinho is the one scaring his opponents, specifically right-backs, as he has done most of his damage on the left flank. Holland has alternated between two right-backs in this tournament, the young, attack-minded Gregory van der Wiel, and the veteran, more defensive Khalid Boulahrouz. Which of these names appears on the team-sheet will tell us a lot about the Dutch tactics going into this match.

Brazil's defenders will have to keep a close watch on Arjen Robben. He is just returning from injury, but he has continued the phenomenal form he showed in leading Bayern Munich to a domestic league/cup double and a place in the UEFA Champions League Final. Robben usually plays on the right because he is so effective at cutting inside and shooting with his dynamic left foot.

The man charged with stopping Robben for Brazil will primarily be Michel Bastos. Bastos plays as an attacking left winger for Lyon, but Dunga has moved him to left back for his country. THis is an important match-up to keep an eye on. If Bastos is sitting deep to cover Robben, he is not getting involved in the Brazilian attack. This is a huge advantage for the Dutch, as Brazil depend heavily on their full-backs to give them width going forward.

I predicted before the tournament that the Dutch would knock Brazil out at this point on their way to the Final. I am sticking with that prediction. 3-2, Oranje.

1 comment:

Joey said...

Final preview?