Connect with us

World Cup 2014

World Cup: How do Netherlands and Costa Rica’s key players compare statistically?

As we enter the latter stages of the World Cup and into what will turn out to be some of the most historic games of the tournament, we will statistically analyse some of the key players of each team based on the systems employed & opposition using Squawka‘s excellent comparison matrix.


The heart of the defence

Both sides set up in a similar 3 man central defence and at the heart of their respective teams is Ron Vlaar and Giancarlo Gonzalez. Vlaar is of course better known in the European circuit and has been lauded for his performances in an over-achieving Dutch side. Solid at the back, Vlaar was strikingly impressive in Oranje’s rout of defending Champions Spain and will once again look to shut out a lively Costa Rica team. On the other side, we have Giancarlo Gonzalez who has been Costa Rica’s defensive mainstay. The man who plies his trade for Columbus Crew in the MLS has impressed fans with his tackling and leadership.

NEDCRC Defence

Ron Vlaar vs Giancarlo Gonzalez | via Squawka’s comparison matrix

Both the defenders certainly share a liking for tackling as can be seen. There’s nothing to separate the 2 as both average a healthy 7 tackles/game so far. In the air, Vlaar has a distinct advantage as the big Dutchman has won a mammoth 90% of his aerial duels compared to a more modest 69.23% for his Costa Rican counterpart. There’s little to choose between them in terms of fouls committed, figures that are quite low if you consider the aforementioned tackles statistic. Gonzalez has an edge in terms of interceptions. In terms of passing, there’s a clear winner in the form of the Dutchman who boasts of a 90% pass completion as opposed to 79% for Gonzalez, a fact made more impressive when you consider that the average pass length of the former is longer than that of the latter.

All about the Wing-Backs

With both sides relying on a three man central defence, the deployment of wing-backs is a central component of the systems. Having been dealt the blow of losing the excellent Kevin Strootman before the World Cup, Van Gaal’s problem has been further compounded by De Jong’s injury. This has prompted a re-jig of personnel and somewhat incredibly it’s Dirk Kuyt who finds himself at wing-back. On the other hand, Costa Rica’s wing-backs are arguably their key players. With Kuyt reportedly starting on the right, we’ve compared him to Rosenborg’s Cristian Gamboa.

NEDCRC Full Backs Image

Kuyt has of course featured in only 2 games thus far but a statistical analysis shows the main difference between the two. Gamboa easily outdoes Kuyt in terms of the number of tackles, as you’d expect given the fact that Gamboa is the more natural defender of the two players. This also leads to an increased probability of fouls committed for the Costa Rica man and sure enough he does succumb to Kuyt in this regard. Kuyt however makes use of his experience and ability to read the game and is the clear winner in the interceptions field. If Gamboa was expected to win the defensive battle, then there was always going to be one winner in the attacking aspect. Kuyt who is only moonlighting in the wing-back role is definitely the more attacking of the duo in terms of chances created and take-ons ( Gamboa is yet to open in his account in the latter). In terms of passing too, Kuyt has more than double the average number of forward passes.

The attacking ammunition

Leading the line for the respective sides are Robin van Persie and Joel Campbell, two men having strong ties to the Gunners. Van Persie has of course moved on to newer pastures and will be looking to captain his national side to glory. Van Persie is at his peak and is most definitely the main man under the enigmatic Louis van Gaal. At the other end of the spectrum is Campbell who will be looking to make an impact in North London after impressing in successful loan spells and indeed in this World Cup. Costa Rica has already pulled off some major upsets and they’ll be looking to their main man again to stun the Dutch defence.


As you’d expect the Dutchman has more impressive stats  in terms of end product given that he’s a more complete player as opposed to Campbell who still is developing as a footballer. Robin van Persie has scored 3 goals in the tournament eclipsing Campbell’s solitary strike. The number of shots taken is also indicative of their roles in the side with Van Persie taking a total of 9 shots (6 inside and 3 outside the box) and Campbell with a total of 5 (2 from inside and 3 outside the box). If the output from the Dutchman is better, then the young Costa Rican has an edge in terms of the build-up play. Campbell boasts of superior chances created and pass completion percentage. Also notable is the number of take-ons totaling 12 in between them with 7 and 5 to the Costa Rican and the Dutchman respectively.

Thank you for reading. You can share this article through one of the buttons below. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.

100 to Watch


Talent Radar15 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 Analysis16 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