What’s better than a warm up match moments before a World Cup hits? Playing the European Champions, who can turn out a similar style of football to you and see how the two collide. Trust me it’s going to collide just as good as a Mars Bar hitting the deep fryer.
Apparently I need time to sleep and go to the gym, so this is going to be short and sweet.
NETHERLANDS: THREE THINGS
MIND BOGGLING IN THE FINAL THIRD
With the ball at their feet and space to expose, this is an attacking line not to mess with. Honestly, they just leave me going “I don’t know what the eff they’re doing, but keep doing it”. It’s a bit like the three cups and a ball senario, you need to keep a close eye on things otherwise you’ll lose track of the ball and the game will be lost. Add on a quality finisher in the like of Miedema, and no question this is a dangerous backline. Side note, surprisingly despite the speed and tempo they play with in the final third with the ball, this doesn’t translate to their usual press without the ball. So don’t go expecting our defence to be under the cosh once they have the ball.
To play the way they do down the flanks and creatively in the final third, you need someone pulling the strings. This is the player who will sit that bit deeper, leaving space for the final third, but is the one controlling the tempo and finding players in space to spread the play to. This role will likely go to Bloodworth. She’s the sides tempo when sitting deep either at centre back or holding midfield. Expect everything to be played through her.
HOT AND COLD
This is a side who could just as easily dazzle their way into your heart or leave you tutting worse than a disappointed parent. The song Katy Perry wrote about hot and cold, is in reality about the Netherlands. If they put their best foot forward and come out wanting to impress their packed stadium of home fans, expect an absolute blockbuster. If not? Then wonder why the Matildas didn’t think of another opponent for a warm up match.
MATILDAS: HOW THEY SHAPE UP IN ALL OF THIS?
The Netherlands will pose two big questions.
- Can our defence cut it against the worlds best?
- Can we find the back of the net?
Against the USA, there was a different formation and with that some of the defensive discipline wasn’t up to scratch. The Matildas let in goals that should’ve been at least more contested. If they leave the space in front of the defence for Holland to play in, we’re going to be exposed worse than if your bathers were to disappear whilst in a swimming pool.
In the Asian Cup, we struggled to put away opportunities. I know that was over 12 months ago now, but that still haunts me. We boast some of the worlds best forwards. The dutch [in good form] will be disciplined defensively, sit deep and won’t apply pressure until the ball starts hitting the danger zones in the final third. How the Matildas deal with that pressure and find ways in and around an organised defence will be important to nut out this close to the big dance.
Anyway, enjoy the warm up, may the flying dutch entertain us all and the Matildas find their groove.
To warm you up some more, here’s a Eurovision-esque Netherlands video. I’ve no idea what it’s actually about, but it brings good vibes and reminds me of the song contest, so just kick back and enjoy.
(I found this tweeted over @JanSmit)