Friday, 2 July 2010

Holland v Brazil Preview

The World Cup has reached the Quarter Finals, and the big guns are starting to face off. Holland v Brazil is a mouth-watering match up with plenty of World Cup history and shouldn’t be missed.

Dunga’s Brazil are continually looking more impressive as the days go by. Their back four supported by two seemingly tireless defensive midfielders is threatening to gain a reputation as being almost impenetrable. The samba flair may have been turned down a notch or two, but Brazil’s defensive qualities are mightily impressive. Lucio and Juan have easily been the best centre back partnership at this World Cup. Together they are both powerful and composed, and Lucio’s fantastic flamboyance can unsettle an opposition striker alone. Maicon and Michel Bastos are so dangerous going forward that their movement can force the opposition team to retreat into a much more defensive and less threatening shape. On top of this, Gilberto Silva and Felipe Melo or Ramires have perfectly demonstrated the art of pressing and winning the ball back throughout this World Cup. Together, this Brazilian defensive unit is a thing of beauty, especially when you consider what great talent they have further up the pitch.

The match against Holland however should provide the first real test for Brazil so far, Holland have top quality attacking options and should ask some serious questions. Brazil have not had to deal with much attacking threat so far in this tournament, and Robben, Sneijder and Van Persie are certainly going to have to be dealt with. Brazil have faced two very negative sides in North Korea and Portugal, and while Ivory Coast and Chile were bright and energetic they were ultimately naive and straightforward for Brazil. Holland will certainly not come out all guns blazing, and much of the match will most likely be a pretty cagey affair, but there will be phases of the match when Brazil will come under some serious pressure, and it will be interesting to see how they hold up.

Brazil should not underestimate the Dutch, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben are capable of creating something from nothing. However, Brazil are superb at the back and Robinho, Kaka and Luis Fabiano are going to ask questions that I fear the Dutch defence will be unable to answer. An intriguing tie awaits, and one couldn’t ask for a more glamorous start to the World Cup Quarter Finals.

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