Van Persie Struggles, Argentina – Mexico Best Game So Far, Brazil Imperious

I’d great expectations from Van Persie. I thought he could be a big player at this World Cup. So far, except for the dead rubber against Cameroon, he has been rather disappointing. The Dutchman had a very poor outing against Slovakia, although in fairness, one could say that the whole Dutch team looked out of sorts. It was as if they were already thinking about Brazil and took the field only to get a formality out of the way.

They got an early goal via a Robben special and fell asleep after that. Van Persie had a few half chances but he didn’t make the most of any. Most of the Oranje possession was in defensive areas as can be seen from their passing stats. Even the Keeper Stekelenburg completed more passes than Sneijder, Kuyt, Robben or Van Persie!

Slovakia just didn’t have enough to cause an upset. Their striker Vittek had a couple of good moments but couldn’t beat the keeper until the last minute penalty. More than anything, the Italians must be wondering how they managed to lose to this Slovakian side.

The Dutch haven’t been on top form and will really struggle against Brazil if they continue in this manner. The Selecao were dismissive of the Chilean challenge. While not quite their entertaining best, Dunga’s team have managed to score a number of goals while playing some pragmatic football. They look like one of the most balanced teams in the competition and are clear favourites to reach the Final from their half of the draw. If they get past Holland they will face either Uruguay or Ghana in the Semis.

There is something about Brazil. Even when they are not playing well or aren’t dominating possession it always looks like they own the pitch. Even their defending has some class to it and the transition from defence to attack has been breathtaking at times.

I’m really hoping the Dutch get their act together; their quarter-final could turn into one of the most memorable games of all time. At times like these though, I try to keep my expectations in check. With the likes of Robben and Robinho on the pitch, it could also turn into a boring encounter if both teams are afraid of coming out. We’ve already seen that in the Brazil-Portugal game.

Talking about entertaining matches, I think the best one of the tournament so far was yesterday’s game between Argentina and Mexico. The Mexicans started brightly and were putting up a stiff challenge against their much fancied opponents. The key was their high pressing and quick ball movement.

Unfortunately for the El-Tri, they couldn’t find the finishing touch on one end and the linesman screwed them on the other. I still can’t believe how the Assistant Ref missed that off-side. If it had been a matter of inches it would have been acceptable, that kind of bad luck is part of the game. Once it’s a two yard decision the thoughts move from luck to incompetence to cheating and bribes.

To compound the Assistant’s error, those controlling the large screen showed the replays. It led to a great deal of argument and chaos on the pitch. The Mexicans lost their concentration and Osario made a fatal mistake as he lost the ball to Higuain right in front of his penalty area. It was always going to be tough to come back from a two goal deficit.

Tevez scored the third with a wonder strike and the new United recruit, Chicarito, got a consolation for the Mexicans. It was a wonderful turn and strike by the youngster and I’m looking forward to seeing him in the Premiership.

I was impressed by the way Argentina held back and defended their lead. They will need these skills and the discipline against the bigger teams as they have a tough road to the final.

I’m also enjoying the spirit of the Argentineans. They look like they are really enjoying their game and cherish being on the field, playing some attractive football. Their spirit reminds me of the Arsenal team at the start of the 07-08 Season. Let’s hope they end the tournament better than the way we ended that Season.

Maradona might have his weaknesses but he is certainly getting the best out of a talented bunch of players. Thankfully, he has also managed their egos quite well so far. The same cannot be said for some of his counterparts who’ve failed miserably.

In tomorrow’s games, Paraguay take on Japan and there is a classic in the offing as Spain clash with Portugal.

I think Japan will defend better than Paraguay and can nick it on set-pieces. There won’t be much to see or talk about in that game.

Spain’s battle with Portugal will be exciting from a tactical point of view. We can be quite sure that Carlos Queiroz will send his team out to defend and play on the counter. It’s also a given that Del Bosque will persist with the attractive style that makes Spain such a joy to watch.

Will Spain have enough to break down a resolute Portuguese defence or will Ronaldo score one on the counter? I think the key to unlock Portugal is with Fabregas. He might not start but I’m convinced he will have to play a crucial part late on if Spain are to progress. Can’t wait for that one.

22 Responses to Van Persie Struggles, Argentina – Mexico Best Game So Far, Brazil Imperious

  1. 7masters says:

    RVP could not be effective in the way Dutch seem have been off key and less ball supply. RVP has proven if he is supplied ball he can score and make amazing move. Anyway he has one last chance at fame by scoring couple of goals against Brazil and he need to keep check on his temper when he came off he was seen pointing fingers at the Dutch Coach.

    • desigunner says:

      Yeah I was wondering what he was saying to the manager. He can make a name for himself, certainly, if he does well against Brazil.

  2. 7masters says:

    I Believe the Final would be between Argentina and the Dutch. But Japan would make the semis.

  3. Sue says:

    He hasnt been too bad so far considering his injury and the amount of games he has played. I think you are being very harsh on him at the moment.
    Personally speaking I just want him back uninjured,

    • desigunner says:

      I’m not trying to be critical, just expressing my disappointment because I genuinely felt he could do well.

      Even I’m hoping we get one full season from him this time around as it will make a big positive impact on our chances. more on this link

      • SomeRandomGunner says:

        RVP was slightly off touch. But he had real good moments in the match he almost made a goal for schnieder after taking on two defenders and made few crucial runs were his team mates did not want to pass the ball to. Hope he hits the top gear for Arsenal. I feel there is no chance for Dutch against Brazil.

      • desigunner says:

        That opening he created for Sneijder was good work.

        I was disappointed he didn’t make more of the chances he got. The header opportunity was quite good, there was a time when he made a good run to the near post but got it all wrong after that, and he didn’t shoot as well as he can.

        Dutch don’t use his that well and I think that’s because Robben is a very individual player, RvP is not on the same wavelength at that workaholic Kuyt, and Sneijder and Van der Vaart didn’t play enough balls to him in the last few games.

  4. Subh says:

    Having had a staple of Arsenal football for whole seasons somehow I can’t appreciate Brazil’s football.
    They no doubt have some skillful pacy players and they use them well in counter attack but its typical Mourinho style football which is defend well, organised and then get a goal by set pieces or counter attack.
    There is hardly any beautiful creative football or any build up to their game.
    I would have expected better things from a technically gifted Brazil side. But then starting from 1994 I think that has been their approach all along.

    • Yuri says:

      as a brazilian (and a gunner) i must disagree. First: our team is boring indeed and believe me, we brazilians hate this kind of game too.Second: its not mourinho style since in 94 we played this horrible way(actualy it was a must at the time, our team was very poor talented).Third:in 98 and 02 our team was quite ofensive and played beatiful football(06 doenst count since it was just a bunch of fat players running at free will on the pitch).And last: our current squad is ridiculous, we left our best ofensive midfielders in brazil like Ronaldinho and Paulo Henrique Ganso(youtube this guy he is easily one of the most promissing midfielder in the world) and we are far from being “technically gifted”

    • desigunner says:

      I agree with Yuri about the 94 to 06 world cups.

      I don’t agree with him about the present squad. I think what Dunga has done is created a team that can control the game without much risk.

      It’s certainly not a joy to watch and I’ve mentioned that in previous articles but it’s very very effective. So if we compare the team to what we expect from Brazil it’s not that good. From the point of view of dominating (not necessarily attacking all the time) games it’s still quite good. In the four games so far Brazil have hardly come under any kind of pressure even though they’ve played some good teams.

      Mourinho’s Inter played in their defensive third and rely a lot on dirty tactics like rugby tackles, long balls, etc. And they had very poor possession. Brazil see a lot of the ball in comparison and even while defending they don’t have to put 10 men behind the ball. So the two seem to be quite different.

      It’s sad to see Brazil not going all guns blazing but I can understand their approach.

      • Subh says:

        I agree that maybe Mourinho and Dunga is not completely similar. What I meant was the philosophy was same. Defend well, organize well, do not worry much about possession and be lethal in counter attacks.
        Brazil sees a lot more of the ball in the last 4 matches because of the opposition they have faced. Most of the those teams were themselves not great in possession too so it was almost like Brazil had to keep the ball for sometime.
        Ivory Coast do not know how to keep possession and Portugal is simply not interested to play with the ball.
        Against Chile a team which can play football on the ground the stats say

        Brazil Chile
        17(6) Shots (on Goal) 15(3)
        14 Fouls 18
        8 Corner Kicks 6
        1 Offsides 1
        50% Time of Possession 50%

        Thing is as I said, if this is a one-off thing, I will be happy but if this is the team philosophy and team ethic then it is shameful for a team like Brazil who have their worldwide fan base and support primarily because of the way they play the game and less because they have won 5 WCs (in my opinion). Because as we all know glory hunters will fade away or change allegiance with the change of the next wind direction.

        As a Gunner and a football romantic, I can never support the philosophy “winning is everything at any cost”.
        Winning ugly at times is OK and I expect & hope Arsene & Arsenal to have that approach too but I cannot accept that as a philosophy of a team overall.
        Brazil will probably win the WC by their pragmatism.
        Pragmatic football will still be acceptable to me from lesser talented teams like Greece/South Korea, etc etc, but from a team like Brazil who can provide much more to the football enthusiasts around the world, such football is a disgrace.
        Even a pragmatic Germany of yesteryear’s have shown that they can play better good creative, possession football, hence I really cannot support this style from Brazil. (but that is just my personal opinion)

      • desigunner says:

        I get your point. Brazil is a team that inspires many and such tactics do hurt.

        The way I see it there are different approaches to the game and not limited to positive (arsenal, barca, spain) or negative (inter, portugal) only.

        For instance, Germany were sitting back against England in the second half with 9-10 men in defence. They scored two on the counter. It’s the same thing. I don’t mind that because that team also plays good football whenever they can.

        Still, I understand and appreciate your point of view. If Brazil don’t take the responsibility of entertaining the world, who will!?

  5. desigunner says:

    Thanks Yuri, I’d never heard of the kid. He looks brilliant. Great close control, good vision, can score from distance and nice weight on through balls.

    Of course these are just Youtube clips but definitely one to watch out for.

  6. Yuri says:

    about brazil, i dont like the way we play because i have a more romantic vision of football as a whole. But it is true, the actual team is competitive to the most, we hardly concede any goals and most of the time the game goes the pace we want.I believe we have a big chance of winning this world cup because all the teams except argentina are very well balanced and pragmatic(germany maybe?), but lets see on friday.

    PS: about paulo henrique, he was great last year, but in the first 5 months of this year he was a monster, truely a genius. He was so great that most of the brazilian press and people believed he should have gone to the world cup even without having played a single game for our national senior team.(too bad he is probably going to man city or real MAD:/)

    • desigunner says:

      City have first refusal but he’s said he doesn’t want to go there.

      Given the price tag I’m not sure Arsene will ever sign him even if he was interested in coming to Arsenal.

  7. vks says:

    Argentina vs Germany Quarter Final
    Predict ur chances

  8. Samuel says:

    The best game by far Brazil vs Chile ,last night ,which shows why Brazil will lift the cup a record 6th time come July 11 2010,strong defence ,even stronger midfield and top notch goal getters with any Brazilian player capable of going forward and scoring a goal ,Holland and Argentina have no chance against this Brazilian team ,not with Heitinga in defence for Holland and Heinze for Argentina,Spain have the clown Puyol and Germany ,we shall see ?

  9. Finsbury says:

    I thought this current Brazil team was playing a little like the ’94 team, with Fabiano doing a good impersonation of Romario for now, Gilberto doing his immobile Dunga impersonation, hovering around the centre circle, with Melo his ‘sweeper’ a la Mauro Silva. Gilberto even had a Dunga-esque shot against Chile!

    Did fellow gooners think that AW’s first AFC team, with Viera and Petit in tandem was modelled upon this formation from ’94, vaguely, and over the years, as teams have developed certain tactics against AFC, we now have just one player ‘holding’?

    Unfortunately, sometimes, AFC went a little hari-kiri against the rival teams last season, but I like what I’m seeing: They’re getting there, the season before, the problem was the inverse, beating teams that play football, but struggling against the Rugby wannabee’s.
    Maybe the English refs who think they’re at Twickenham will wake up after this WC debacle. And players who grab AFC players around the shoulder and throw them to the ground, might even get called for a foul, or god forbid, a yellow card. I doubt it.

    • desigunner says:

      I think the present system has changed quite a bit from AW’s earlier system. We still have two midfielders in a defensive role but overall the defensive responsibility is spread to all 5. These day’s it’s very rare to see a team with 4 in the middle and two out and out strikers doing well. Even Villa, when he plays on the left, tracks back often.

      Not sure if Arsene modeled his system on Brazil but I doubt it.

      We really need to eliminate the self-destruct moments. Otherwise all the progress can be undone by a few seconds of madness.

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