World Cup Review: Group B’s key tactical system, game-changing performance, best young player and XI

As the group stage comes to an end with two teams from each remaining in Brazil and the rest heading back home, we at Outside of the Boot have analysed each group, paying focus to four key aspects — the primary tactical trend that was noticeably successful, the individual game changing performance that decided which way a result went, the most consistent and best young player across the three games (Talent Radar) with the players qualifying no more than 22-years-old and an XI of the best players from the group.

Group B Update

A website not too far from here didn’t expect too much from the Dutch, but Louis Van Gaal’s men go through with maximum points, while the impressive South American side Chile are the second team in. Defending champions Spain were shockingly knocked out at the first hurdle while the weakest team in the group, Australia, surpassed expectations with their performances but finished with nothing. Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben finish as the top scorers with three goals each while Jasper Cillessen, Claudio Bravo & Pepe Reina all finish with 1 cleansheet each.

Key Tactical System

While we have to pay tribute to the excellent Dutch attack and their two men up-front, the key tactical trend in Group B would be Louis Van Gaal’s excellent use of his full-backs. Many seem to over-look the difficulty in performing the role of full-backs in a 3-5-2 formation, but the Dutch seemed to have struck a perfect balance. They are able to contribute significantly in attack without over-committing while they are adept at getting back into position in a defensive capacity as well.



Daryl Janmaat and Daley Blind have thus excelled in their roles, particularly in their excellent opening win over defending champions Spain. Blind in particularly has been the stand-out performer with his two assists vs the Spaniards, but more so for his solid defensive contribution and reading of the game throughout.

 Game-changing Performance

Though the first names that spring to mind are of Robin Van Perise & Arjen Robben, since we’re talking about ‘game-chaging’ performances, we have to once again give credit to Daley Blind and his two excellent assists vs Spain. While both Van Persie & Robben have been excellent with their three goals, Daley Blind’s performance really did change the game, first he got an assist at the best possible time to help the Dutch equalise before half-time and minutes after the restart his assist put them in front. Had these two goals not been created, we would have had a whole different story.

Talent Radar Best Young Player

The only two real choices for this award were Netherland’s excellent young defenders and Feyernoord team-mates, Bruno Martins Indi & Stefan de Vrij; despite the latter even getting on the scoresheet we’ve picked the former as our Talent Radar Best Young Player. Bruno Martins Indi’s most memorable moment came in the Spain game where his ‘death-stare‘ went viral, it’s his equally terrifying defending that has impressed us. The man who caught our attention way back at the  U-21 Euro’s replicated his performances back then with an assured and solid display. Bruno Martins Indi featured in our list of Talent Radar 25 Young Players to Watch at the World Cup, and here is a report of his performance against Spain alongwith Stefan De Vrij.

Best XI

Group B XI Players in red are Talent Radar youngsters

Read all our World Cup 2014 content here

Sami Faizullah

Sami Faizullah

Co-founder and Chief Editor here. Obsessed with tactics. Keen follower of young players. Creator of #TalentRadar. Appeared in A Football Report's list of "Best in Football Writing 2012".
Sami Faizullah