After routing World Champions Spain by a 5-1 margin, Louis Van Gaal’s Dutch side take on Australia in their second assignment at the Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre. The Oranje outfit was simply imperious in their ruthless display, bringing the La Roja crashing down to earth. Robin Van Persie’s incredible flying header will be remembered for years to come while Arjen Robben’s blitzkrieg runs is sure to give Gerrard Pique and Sergio Ramos nightmares. Can the previous edition’s runners up, maintain their momentum picking up from where they left off against the Socceroos? Here is Van Gaal’s strongest lineup to face Australia in their second game of the showpiece event.
Jasper Cillessen was rarely tested by the Spanish strike force apart from Xabi Alonso’s low penalty in the opening stages. The Ajax stopper was hardly troubled throughout the ninety minutes as the 25 year old showed immense calmness to collect balls from the flanks and set pieces with great ease. Cillessen is expected to have a quiet game against the Socceroos but the shot stopper has to be well aware of Tim Cahill’s impeccable ability in the air. The former Everton man is quite handful for any defense thanks to his aerial abilities as Cillessen needs to be aware of his positioning during set pieces.
Van Gaal’s greatest tactical ability was clearly on display as the new Manchester united manager played two wing backs on either sides of a compact line of three centre backs. Spain didn’t know what hit them and tactically Van Gaal’s 5-3-2 looked like an attacking 3-4-3 without the ball. The Dutch coach is expected to field his same lineup at the back with Dary Janmaat and the impressive Daley Blind shuttling the wings with Stephan De Vrij, Bruno Martins Indi and Aston Villa’s Ron Vlaar maintaining the last line of defense. Australia are also know for their attacking verve, but Netherlands will in all probability be too hot to handle in current form. Blind will look to venture forward in every opportunity trying to feed in Van Persie with their pin point aerial balls and always providing the attack with an extra dimension.
Jonathan De Guzmana and Nigel De Jong will hold fort in midfield in banks of two, playing side by side of each other and maintaining an optimum distance between them for finding a suitable passing range. The ability of the wing backs should be largely credited to De Jong, who acts almost as a screen for the back line with De Guzman too pushing up, acting more as a carrier in the absence of the injured Kevin Strootman.
While Robin Van Persie will lead the line up front, the Manchester United striker will have ample support from Wesley Snjeider and Arjen Robben by his side. The Bayern Munich winger with his sheer pace and direct runs almost acts a second striker while Snjeider, even though not being used a proper number ten, still picks the ball from the deep to run directly out wide or playing in the ball to Van Persie or Robben in their path. The pace of front three will be tough for Australia too handle as Netherlands must in all probability run out comfortable winners.