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NED v JPN Match Report

The Dutch continued their progress with a win over Japan.  Strangely they are among the best performing teams thus far with 6 out of a possible 6 points.  Only Argentina have full points at the time of writing.  Considering the other European highlights include Spain, Germany, England, Italy and Portugal that is significant.  Maximum points may prove vital yet in this most unpredictable World Cup.

Strangely similar to the Oranje’s first game against Denmark there was precious little to be interested in during the first 45 minutes.  Absurd possession with precious little to show for it.  It appeared that both managers had a very distinct plan for this game.  While the Dutch have instilled an ultra posession style of play even beyond what Total Football would require.  When a person speaks of Total Football you envision fluid passing, darting movement and incisive attacking play.  You cannot describe the curent crop of Oranje thus. 

Van Marwijk is very much of the mindset that if you have the ball for the entire game no team can score which strictly speaking is a great idea.  I have said before that this works in theory but then so does communism.  Bert van Marwijk stuck with the same line up that failed to impress against the Danes. 

The first 45 today should prove a stern warning to van Marwijk about playing without any natural width.  Van der Vaart was poor again out of the left as he continually drifted infield allowing the Japanese to stifle any creativity.  Sneijder had difficulty throughout as he was manfully marked out of the first half.  Late in the first half the Dutch fullbacks were pushed up the field in an attempt to provide some desparately needed width.  Proving they were well prepared upon granting them space behind the fullbacks the Japanese attempted to expliot these gaps and while not rewarded with a goal they did provide a few worrying moments.

The second half proved fruitful again though and Kawashima’s failure to control Sneijder’s piledriver gave the Dutch a lead.  As with their first game it was the substitutions who took the game home and provided more chances in the last 20 minutes than in the rest of the game.  The Dutch started very brightly creating meaningfull chances early on.  Something that was missing in the first half were incisive crosses that forced Japan to make difficult defensive decisions.  Sneijder’s goal began as a cross into the box that fell unkindly to van Persie.  While trying to control the ball came out to Sneijder on the edge of area where Sneijder promptly cannoned the ball off the keeper and into the net.

After the goal Japan attempted to push back into the game through some attacking substitutions and extra pressure down the inside channels trying to exploit the Dutch attack-minded fullbacks.  Against Denmark Eljero Elia and Ibrahim Affelay were introducted to positive affect and today was no difference.  Both came on with twenty minutes to go.  Elia and Affelay were very bright and the latter could have – strike that- SHOULD have had 2 goals for himself.  I have to think that these cameos have provided van Marwijk , notoriously fond of consistency, with a selection headache ahead of Cameroon.  Making an appearance was also Klaas Jan Huntelaar who replaced van Persie very late on.  His impact was almost immediately felt as he control provided Affelay with the second of his chances.

We don’t have to be too worried about Cameroon now and if the result goes our way this afternoon.

Remember you can follow me on twitter @m_devries .  Also, you can follow Bert van Marwijk on Twitter @VanMarwijk_NL10 .  Join me in pleading for wingers to be used prior to the 70th minute.

Yes, we won.  Yes, it was rarely worrying.  But too little is being left to chance.  Total Football is a fantastic idea but to expect that at this point is naive.  HOWEVER!  There is nothing wrong with playing organized attacking football with the emphasis on keeping possession.  MY SALARY FOR A WINGER!!

Player Ratings

Stekelenburg – 7
van der Wiel – 8
Mathijsen – 6
Heitinga – 6
van Bronckhorst – 7
van Bommel – 7
de Jong – 6
Kuyt – 8
Sneijder – 7
van der Vaart – 4
van Persie – 6
 
Subs:
Affelay – 6

Elia – 7
Huntelaar – 6

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