Connect with us

World Cup 2014

3 Key Questions | Netherlands vs Costa Rica: World Cup quarter-final

As we move into the latter stages of the competition, we will look ahead to the enthralling encounters with three key tactical questions that could determine which way this game swings. Ameya Ghag here has a look at the Netherlands vs Costa Rica World Cup Quarter-Final clash.


 

Rising atop a group containing world-champions, Spain, Asian… No, Oceanian, oh darn… Australia and Latin American power house, Chile, the completely unfancied Dutch circus has entered the quarter-finals. And lo, behold… They are facing Costa Rica, a tiny block of land sandwiched between Nicaragua and Panama, with a population of just over 4.5 million.

Netherlands vs Costa Rica

WCB2-468x60

Not an opposition I’d fancy to put up a fight otherwise, but this is the FIFA World Cup in Brasil and the creme de la creme of Europe have already been sent packing home. And the Ticos were responsible for two of those, not that any one really expected England to lift that misshapen piece of gold at the Maracana. It’s not a secret anymore, why two of the most unfancied teams in the tournament, will be fighting it out for a berth in the semi finals. It couldn’t be simpler than these two names: Louis van Gaal and Jorge Luis Pinto.

Will Joel Campbell still be a threat?

Until now, the Dutch have faced sides which have relied heavily on possession play, thus offering them the advantage of scoring freely on counter-attacks, which is oft considered a major flaw of the passing game. Spain, Chile and Mexico were teams who would often press high up the pitch, leaving a great deal of width exposed around their defense, for the likes of Arjen Robben to exploit.

In all probability, the Dutch will be afforded a higher percentage of possession  against Costa Rica, granting the Ticos the liberty to counter attack more freely. The Costa Ricans will look to build up play from far-wide, with the help of Bryan Ruiz and Christian Bolanos, providing support to Joel Campbell in the center.

Campbell may not be the best in the business yet, but he does offer amazing raw pace and the ability to handle long passes with exceptional dexterity. This could well create problems for the Dutch back-line lead by the veteran, Ron Vlaar. Aston Villa’s Ron Vlaar may not be the most heralded defender at the tournament, but the veteran center-back has been successful at shutting down the likes of Diego Costa.

How will the Dutch cope with the loss of Nigel De Jong?

For two tournaments in succession, the formidable Nigel de Jong has been earning praise for his performances at the heart of the Dutch midfield. He is the essential thug, the destroyer in the midfield, that has allowed the attacking armada up front to score freely on counter attacks. With de Jong potentially ruled out for the remainder of the tournament, Louis van Gaal’s midfield woes haven’t been worse since the injury to Kevin Strootman.

At the heart of the midfield, de Jong has been an exceptional interceptor, recovering 22 balls over the last 3 games. Rarely has he been dispossessed cheaply through out the tournament. A  natural suggestion to replace de Jong would be Daley Blind, for the Ajax man has been deployed in the destroyer role for his club, while alternating at his usual posting on the left. Louis van Gaal’s side has consistently emphasized on counter attacks and requires a hard hitting defensive midfielder like de Jong, to support Robben and van Persie up front.

By no means, can Daley Blind be considered as a solid option for the said role. Instead he is a much evolved passer and could offer much for the creative part. Dos Santos’s goal in the Round of 16 could be partly attributed to a fault of Blind, who failed to close in on the Villareal man, allowing him space to chest down the ball and knock it in.

It is likely that Blind will immediately replace de Jong in the starting XI as the destroyer, alongside Georginio Wijnaldum. 5 – 3 – 2 could be the way to go with Kuyt again operating at left-back  Bruno Martins Indi to the left of Ron Vlaar.

How will Costa Rica handle the Dutch attack

The five man defense at the back has been the strong point of Costa Rica’s campaign so far and has saw them through to the quarters. But the major concern for Pinto, heading into tomorrow’s fixture will be the loss of Oscar Duarte, who was carded off during their win during the Round of 16. Roy Miller would have been a direct substitute in that role, had he not succumbed to a leg injury. It is likely that defender Jhonny Acosta or midfielder Jose Miguel Cuberi will be deputized at the heart of the Tico’s defense now.

If five defenders are to be deputized to nullify the Dutch offense, the lone-man upfront, Joel Campbell will be easily subdued by Ron Vlaar & Co,  who would be expected to line-up in a similar fashion. The greatest advantage for Costa Rica would be the way in which Robin van Persie was kept at bay by the Mexican defense. But the main threat lies in the form of Arjen Robben who continues to cut in-wards from the right to join van Persie as a second striker.

The 30 year old Dutchman has been in sensational form during this tournament and is likely to test the skills of Keylor Navas often. Also, much will be expected of Bryan Ruiz to link the defense and the front-line, ensuring that Joel Campbell is not isolated up front.

The Ticos play in a fashion similar to the European opponents, but will have to ensure that they deprive the Dutch of the ball as often as possible. Bereft of possession, the Dutch are likely to commit errors that Costa Rica could capitalize on to net in an early goal. Even then the Dutch are more than likely to mount an even fierce counter-attack and put themselves back in the game, as was evident against the Socceroos.

This game could be a close call, but I’ll put my money on the Dutch, who have been the most coordinated side in all departments during the tournament. The player’s to watch out for, certainly would be Joel Campbell, Daley Blind and Arjen Robben.


Thank you for reading. What are your thoughts on the game and do you see some other important questions that need addressing? Let us know with a comment below. Please share this piece through one of the buttons below, you don’t have to but we’d appreciate it if you do!

Ameya Ghag

Ameya Ghag

22. Digital Media Consultant. Arsenal FC supporter. Likes to tell stories about the games of days past.

Also a writer at The Rational Pie, Sportskeeda and The Football Story.
Ameya Ghag

100 to Watch

Latest

Talent Radar19 hours ago

Premier League’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

William Sinsky brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Premier League this season. It’s back. The...

Tactical Analysis19 hours ago

Tactical Analysis: Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona | Real’s Pressing Excellence

Om Arvind writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Spanish Super Cup second leg that finished Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona...

Talent Radar2 days ago

Serie A’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Simone Torricini brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Serie A this season. The Under-20 World...

Tactical Analysis2 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Manchester United 4-0 West Ham | Fluidity and exploitation

Ryan Quinn writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Premier League game that finished Manchester United 4-0 West Ham Following the signings...

Talent Radar6 days ago

Eredivisie’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Mosope Ominiyi brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Eredivisie this season. Justin Kluivert // Ajax...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

Primeira Liga’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Jose Miguel Saraiva brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Primeira Liga this season.

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Ainsley Maitland-Niles | Arsenal’s Versatile Prospect

Mosope Ominiyi provides a detailed scout report on Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Arsenal’s versatile prospect. Arsene Wenger announced that along with 17-year-old winger...

Specials2 weeks ago

Lazio’s Golden Age: The Sergio Cragnotti Era

Football News 24/7  Sam McKeever has a look back at Lazio’s golden era in the 90’s under the ownership of Sergio...

Opinions2 weeks ago

Analysis: Why Nemanja Matic could be Manchester United’s most important signing

Kaushik Goswami has a look at why Nemanja Matic could be Manchester United’s most important signing. Having already lured Romelu...

Opinions2 weeks ago

Monaco’s Moves: Why the Football World should pay attention

While the football world is focused on the players being sold by Monaco, Alex Lynch has a look at how...

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Joel Pereira | Manchester United’s Agile Goalkeeper

Mateus Carvalho provides a comprehensive scout report on Joel Pereira, Manchester United’s agile goalkeeper. At the end of the last season, José...

Talent Radar3 weeks ago

Talent Radar: CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017 | U-23 Team of the Tournament

Football News 24/7  Jose Miguel Saraiva gives us his U-23 Team of the recently concluded CONCACAF Gold Cup featuring the...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Blindside Movements And Mental Overloads: Breaking Down Maurizio Sarri’s Tactics

Cheuk Hei Ho breaks down Maurizio Sarri’s tactics at Napoli looking at how the Italian giants use passing, blindside movements,...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Bayern Munich: What’s their game plan?

Alankrith Shankar writes a detailed article of how we can expect Bayern Munich to set up in the 2017-18 season....

Scout Report3 weeks ago

Scout Report: Juan Foyth | Estudiantes’ Ball-Playing Defender

Kaustubh Pandey provides a detailed scout report about Juan Foyth, Estudiantes’ ball-playing defender. Argentina has, since time immemorial, been a...

Scout Report3 weeks ago

Scout Report: Dayot Upamecano | RB Leipzig’s Precocious Talent

Mateus Carvalho provides a detailed scout report about Dayot Upamecano, RB Leipzig’s precocious talent. RB Leipzig is a source of...

Scout Report4 weeks ago

Scout Report: Philip Billing | Huddersfield’s young midfielder

Patrick Mills provides a detailed scout report about Philip Billing, Huddersfield’s young midfielder. Against the odds, Huddersfield Town, one of the...

Opinions4 weeks ago

Amin Younes: How the German international has redeemed his career

Alex Lynch charts the progress of Amin Younes from his days at Gladbach to his current success at Ajax Besides...

Scout Report4 weeks ago

Scout Report: Edgar Ié | Belenenses’ quick defender

Jose Miguel Saraiva writes a detailed scout report about Edgar Ié, the Belenenses and Portugal centre back. Portugal has been facing...

Opinions4 weeks ago

The Impact of Refereeing Decisions and Need for Technology

Dayann C has a look at the impact of refereeing decisions and need for technology focusing on Barcelona’s comeback win...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 16-17

More on Outside of the Boot