The Netherlands now need a miracle to qualify from Group B after losing 2-1 to fierce rivals Germany.
Bert van Marwijk made one change from the 1-0 defeat to Denmark, with Joris Mathijsen coming in to replace Ron Vlaar in central defence. Bert van Marwijk also kept faith with his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, which meant Klass-Jan Huntelaar had to again settle for a place on the bench.
The Dutch team started well and had their first real chance on 6 minutes when Van Bommel’s long ball found Van Persie in the penalty area, but Van Persie’s shot on the stretch was straight at Neuer. Robben then found Van Persie again on the edge of the area in the 11th minute, but the Arsenal forward dragged his shot wide of the post.
On the 26th minute Germany took the lead as Schweinsteiger’s defence splitting pass found Gomez onside and after a neat touch and turn the Bayern Munich striker fired the ball past Stekelenburg to put the Germans 1-0 up.
Germany then made it 2-0 in the 38th minute when Schweinsteiger again found Gomez on the right hand side of the penalty area and his shot from an awkward angle found the top corner.
So, although the Netherlands had 17.6% more of the possession in the first half and made 97 more passes they found themselves 2-0 down. This was mainly due to their poor defending and the fact Gomez took his chances when Van Persie didn’t.
Bert van Marwijk then bought on Huntelaar and Van der Vaart at half time and changed their formation to a 4-1-4-1.
Van Persie had yet another chance in the 57th minute when Robben found him with a cross on the edge of the area, but his low shot was again palmed away by Neuer. They created yet another chance when Sneidjer picked up the ball on the left hand side of the pitch, but after cutting inside his curling shot flew just past the post.
Robben’s mazy run and pass in the 71st minute picked out Sneijder in the box but his shot was well blocked by Boateng and another Dutch chance went begging.
The Dutch then got themselves back into the game a few minutes later, as Van Persie picked up the ball in midfield drove at the Germany defence and unleashed a fierce right footed shot past Neuer into the bottom corner.
However, their comeback failed to materialise and they slumped to their second defeat in as many games in the tournament.
The Netherlands managed 6.2% more of the possession than Germany during the match and completed 3% more of their passes. They also had 3 more attempts at goal and made 64 more passes than Germany, but still found themselves on the losing side.
Their poor chance conversion rate is one of the main reasons for this, as out of the 14 attempts they had during the match 50% of them were off target, 21% were blocked and only 29% of them were on target. This is slightly better than when they played against Denmark though, as 69% of their shots during that match were off target. They have also only managed to score on goal in two matches out the 46 attempts on goal that they have managed, which by anyone’s standards is incredibly poor.
Robin Van Persie did manage to get 3 out of his 4 shots on target during the match though, as well as scoring their only goal of the tournament.
Their forward play was also lacking, as they only found a teammate with 3 of their 14 crosses and were only successful with 4 out the 18 take-ons that they attempted.
One of the main culprits for this was Arjen Robben, as he had another poor game for the Dutch. Robben only managed 28 passes during the match, 12 of the 28 went backwards and only 8 of the 28 were forward passes. Robben was successful with 86% of his passes but he only made 50% of his passes in the final third.
Robben also only made 1 cross in the match and this was unsuccessful, he also tried to take a player on 5 times during the match and yet again was only successful on one occasion. Robben had four shots during the match with only one being on target.
The manager’s tactics were also predictable as their main tactic was find Sneijder with the ball and let him do the rest. This was clear as the Netherland’s second highest pass combination (16 passes) was from De Jong to Sneijder. Germany realised this and managed to limit the influence that Sneijder had on the game with Khedira, Schweinsteiger and Ozil managing him well.
The Netherlands also lacked width during the match, as both Robben and Affelay tucked inside too many times during the match to try to receive the ball from De Jong and Van Bommel and attack through the middle, but this tactic did not work. When the wingers did get the ball on the wings they were very disappointing, as out the 6 take-ons they attempted they only managed one successfully and only 21% of their crosses were accurate. Afellay did not manage to create one single chance in the 45 minutes he played, while Robben only created 3 chances before being subsituted in the 83rd minute.
The lack of width was evident every time Van der Weil received the ball as he made 66% of his passes either backwards or square, as he was limited for options in front of him. Van der Weil only made 16 forward passes and 31% of them were unsuccessful. He only managed to find Robben 7 times with the ball during the match. Although, this may have been down to the dutch’s tactics of trying to play through the middle with Sneijder.
Netherlands Premier League Influence
Robin Van Persie had a better game against Germany than he did against Denmark, by finally getting off the mark for the tournament and managing to get 3 of his 4 shots on target. Van Persie also completed 83% of his passes during the match, but was only successful with 25% of his take-ons. Van Persie did also create one chance for his dutch teammates.
Nigel De Jong won both the tackles he made during the match, made two interceptions and one clearance. He was also successful with 93% of his 72 passes, however each one of his passes was a short pass and 15 of them were to Wesley Sneijder.
Johnny Heitinga lost all 3 of his aerial duels during the match, but did win both his tackles and make 2 interceptions and 2 blocks in the 90 minutes. Heitinga also completed 90% of his passes.
Rafael Van der Vaart came on at half time and completed an impressive 95% of his 43 passes, which begs the question why he didn’t start the match. Although, he didn’t create any chances for his teammates and his only shot of the match was off target.
Stats and Chalkboard via 442 StatsZone (iPhone App)