World Cup Wednesday: Van Persie, Pedro and Modric tipped to shine

Group B – Netherlands vs. Australia (Porto Alegre, 17:00)

 
The noises out of the Dutch camp indicates Van Gaal is likely to opt for the same XI and set up as the one that turned over Spain five days ago, in their famous 5-1 victory. It would appear then that the tactics applied against the World Cup champions will be on show again today, which should give us a very exciting game.
 
It takes two to tango and Australia have approached the tournament with an attitude where they have nothing to lose, which is fantastic for us neutrals. The decision by manager, Postecoglou, allowed the Oceana side to put in an attacking and confident performance against Chile, which was founded on hard working and a ‘never give in’ motto. The Socceroos are likely to continue with their straight forward 4-2-3-1where they push up and shut down. With the ball, they hurtle crosses into Tim Cahill from deep full back positions at every opportunity, which caused havoc for the small Chilean defence. I think today, Cahill may not win quite as many headers as he did in the 3-1 loss and we will see fewer chances for the Aussies. Bresciano was absolutely vital in attacks in the second half and the former Parma midfielder will relied upon to unlock the Dutch defence once more.
 
Holland have been heralded since their Spanish victory but lets not forget Spain took the lead and had chances to increase it before they crumbled to the direct Dutch. That nervy start is unlikely to be replicated now they have all the confidence they need to have a strong World Cup. I, among others expected Van Gaal and his side to struggle, especially against Spain but i was blown away at the high energy pressing they opted for. There is no reason why this won’t change and if Australia decide not to sit deep they could be found out majorly.
 
I can see the Netherland struggling against sides who have players who can get behind their back four, as Costa did in their first tie, but not often enough. Today against Tim Cahill, the defence will have even less concerns for direct quick attackers and this should be a comfortable victory.

 

Group B – Spain vs. Chile (Rio de Janeiro,20:00)

 
I have already spoken about Spain briefly in the write up for the Netherlands game but their deficiencies were clear to see and they may come back to haunt them here against a thrilling Chile outfit. Spain quite simply have to win or they will be going home, if Van Gaal’s side register a win in the early kick off. This added pressure isn’t ideal and tactically they need to vastly improve if they’re to overcome this unorthodox challenge.
 
Spain suffered massively with a high defensive line, which their famous football has been based on for so many years. The Dutch won the ball and played direct and accurate balls to the runners of Van Persie and Robben who dispatched their chances superbly. Quite simply, Chile could enforce very similar passes to their strikers, Vargas and Sanchez who are really just two fantastic wingers who play up front. The pace they possess will get behind any higher line in the world.
 
Chile play with the highest defensive line out of all 32 teams in the World Cup, and therefore you need to take advantage of this with pace, pace, pace. Fielding just Diego Costa as Spain did against the Netherlands would be a surprising move. I expect to see Pedro come into the side and give them more options to penetrate the short Chilean defence. The Barcelona man will be licking his lips when he sees the sort of space available tonight. Anytime goal scorer?
 
Chile are unpredictable. Able to dominate most matches from start to finish but fail to convert chances and possession into chances. Sanchez and Vargas will be relied upon with their smart runs and Valdivia will supply his own unique movement to cause problems for the Spanish midfield. Against Australia, Chile also showed they tactical fluency when they were able to switch to a 4-3-3 later in the game which cut out the Socceroos crosses from the full backs and also allowed Beausejour to score minutes after coming on. I fancy Chile to have the better of the game tonight but whether they finish their opportunities or not is another question.
 

Group A – Cameroon vs. Croatia (Manaus, 23:00)

 
These two sides lost their first game and will know that nothing but a win today will see them knocked out. Croatia impressed on the opening day, pushing Brazil close for the majority of the game. Despite the absence of Mandzukic they caused problems for the hosts throughout. Cameroon turned in a dire performance against a strong Mexico side, but almost scuppered the match stats by scraping a draw but it wasn’t to be as Peralta fired home in the final stages.
 
I can only see a Croatia win this evening. Rakitic, Kovacic and Modric are three of the best playmakers in the world and chances are always created. Now Mandzukic returns, the possession in the middle now has a target to find the net. Sime Vrsaljko is the only weakness I can see which may be exploited. The right footed full back is out of position at left back and seems to be struggling defensively especially to make tackles. The slow back four may cause issues but Cameroon hardly have the tools to take advantage of this area.
 
Cameroon struggled with the directness of the Mexico full backs in their first game and today against Srna and Vrsaljko they’re likely to find themselves with more problems. Cameroon also have too many similar players in the middle of the park which allowed the likes of Dos Santos to get in between the lines and make chances. Kovacic is likely to be handed a similar role this evening and could be key to how this game is played. At times verses Mexico, Volker Finke’s side looked to be playing a back six due to the pressure and I wouldn’t see surprised if we see that again tonight

About the Author

 

I am a Fulham fan, who has had to suffer the pains of relegation this season but have found happiness in this electric World Cup. Love to look at the tactical side of the game and there is no better contrast than on the World stage. Follow me on Twitter at @Samsonmcmuffin

 
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Posted on June 18, 2014, in Player Selection and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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