Thursday, July 3, 2014

Netherlands vs Costa Rica 05 July Match Preview / Have a Fun Flag Wig !

Costa Rica are still in the World Cup. The improbability of its continued success may end at the quarter-final stage against the Netherlands but the shock of it reaching this stage has been one of the reasons why this World Cup has been so special.

Even looking at the rest of the last eight, Costa Rica are the only real anomaly. Group A winners Brazil face Group C winners Colombia, Group E winners France face Group G winners Germany and Group F winners Argentina face Group H winners Belgium – so this is the only quarter-final match-up that really is the unexpected, with even the Netherlands progressing as Group B winners when Spain were seen as the favourites for that group. But at least the Dutch were expected to progress – the Costa Ricans, along with Australia, were seen as having the toughest task to advance to the World Cup knockout stage out of every nation entering this World Cup.

What will be a key factor for this match, as well as Costa Rica’s chances of progression, is whether Jorge Luis Pinto can get more out of Joel Campbell. The Arsenal striker had clearly given everything that he had in the tank by the end of the contest against Greece, covering 10.8 km in total with 40 sprints – as his top speed dropped from 31.1 km/h in the second half to 18.9 km/h in extra time.

While Campbell will almost undoubtedly start for the Costa Rican side and fatigue may become more of a factor as the match progresses, this is not the only area that Pinto has to monitor. Campbell was the side’s star in the Uruguay match – with many Arsenal fans impressed after getting a glimpse of him for the first time; however since then he’s largely not factored where it matters:

So after his goal, assist, four shots and one shot assist in Costa Rica’s opening game against Uruguay, Campbell has attempted one shot (a long-range effort against England) and assisted another in the three games since. Against Greece, for all of his running and pressing, Campbell didn’t feature inside the box (although his side being reduced to ten men did factor here):

Of course, Joel Campbell’s role as a lone striker in Pinto’s 5-4-1 formation will see him isolated frequently – but then his best performance of the tournament occurred against a struggling nation, taking advantage of a lack of pace at the back. But it’s fair to say that more is required from a player that has received a lot of praise during this World Cup. Fortunately, Bryan Ruiz has been fairly consistent throughout the tournament – only not managing a shot against England:

The Costa Rica-England match was pretty much a non-event as La Sele had secured its progression and only needed a point to top the group as the heavier favoured nation were already heading home and fielded a much changed XI – so it’s not really surprising to see a drop in production. Ruiz then score and created two more Costa Rican shooting chances against Greece.

While there should be concerns with the Costa Rican attack, the influential Oscar Duarte will also be suspended for the Netherlands match, forcing Pinto to alter his five man defensive unit. It could result in a recall for Roy Miller, who started against England. Elsewhere, Pinto may elect to remain consistent despite the need for extra time against Greece. Keylor Navas is again key for the Costa Ricans and will likely need to continue his heroics from the Round of 16 against Greece if his side is to stand any chance of reaching the last four.

While Costa Rica have to recover from playing a further 30 minutes in its last match, this may well have been evened out following the exhausting conditions that the Netherlands faced against Greece in Fortaleza. The Dutch were obviously fatigued by the heat as even fans in areas of the stadium that were not shaded abandoned their seats to escape the sun. While Louis van Gaal’s side improved as the game wore on, it was only during the final 30 minutes, especially after the second half cooling break, when it really started to press – eventually coming from behind to win in the dying minutes following a debateable penalty award in injury time.

The Netherlands have had a strange tournament in terms of the subjective viewpoint. Many claimed that it was overrated entering the World Cup; however the side was then seen as underrated and genuine contenders to win the competition following Holland’s 5-1 decimation of Spain in its opening game. With Mexico dominating the Dutch early, largely due to the conditions, doubts resurfaced – until Arjen Robben took over that is – with help from Wesley Sneijder and Klass-Jan Huntelaar.

Robben may not have scored the goals but he was the Dutch attack for the final 30 minutes as everything went through the Bayern Munich forward. Sneijder was essentially bypassed for much of it, becoming an option on the edge of the box rather than the playmaker in behind the strikers:

Seeing less of Sneijder would really be a preference for Louis van Gaal – as it would mean that the Dutch would be able to play the way in which it is better suited. Van Gaal’s side is strong but this Dutch side has one huge strength above all others that will suit it in the semi-final and final if it can progress that far: the counter attack. There’s a reason why van Gaal’s side had issues against Australia and Mexico and that is in part because it had to control the match and take the initiative instead of absorbing pressure and leaving gaps in behind the defence for Arjen Robben to exploit – like he did so wonderfully against Spain and in creating Memphis Depay’s goal in the Chile contest. Quick breaks, essentially allowing the side to bypass the midfield trio as it breaks, suits the Netherlands, who currently rank second behind Belgium in the World Cup with six attempts on the break and are tied with its neighbours with three counter attack goals.

Louis van Gaal will have to make at least one change as Nigel de Jong has been ruled out for the rest of the World Cup after suffering a groin tear against Mexico. Still, as the Dutch will face a side lining up in a 5-4-1 formation, will the future Manchester United manager elect for a change of shape? It’s a question that has been touted since defeating Spain but the only change has been in terms of personnel; however with Costa Rica setting up with such a defensive strategy it could be an ideal time for a temporary alteration of van Gaal’s strategy.
Furthermore, with the players likely to start for the Dutch, most notably Dirk Kuyt in his new left
wing-back role, the manager has the option to push the Fenerbache forward further up the field and switch between the now usual 5-3-2 and the 4-3-3 formation.

by BSport /

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