Football writer David Winner disclosed why the Netherlands' performances were disappointing despite collecting seven points out of their three Group A games.
Speaking on Off The Ball, Winner reflected the Netherlands topping their group, where he weighed in on their pragmatic style of play.
Louis Van Gaal’s side scored five goals across their three group games. However, dropping points against Ecuador has raised questions about their defensive philosophy.
“They have been very underwhelming,” Winner said. “They were flattered by the 2-0 against Senegal.
“They really had trouble with Ecuador, they were out muscled, out thought to a large degree. They couldn’t cope with the Ecuador press.
“They managed two shots in the whole game, a record that goes back to 1966. No European team in the world cup has had so few shots in a game.
“It looks like a very workmanlike, unexciting team.”
Van Gaal won't win the World Cup with this Netherlands side
Winner doesn’t think the Netherlands has what it takes to win the World Cup.
Johan Cruyff and Louis Van Gaal are known for not seeing eye-to-eye in the past. Winner revealed why winning the World Cup would be extra special for the Dutch manager.
“They are playing like Greece in 2004, or Germany in the 1980s,” Winner added. “Their football is not a thing to love.
“Van Gaal sees himself as a disciple of Rinus Michels, rather than Cruyff, and Michels was often very pragmatic. Michaels won the 1988 Euros playing 4-4-2.
“Van Gaal, he wants to win it. I don’t think he can. It’s the one moment that would put him ahead of Cruyff. The rivalry between those two is still going on.
“It’s a big part of the story for Van Gaal.”
The Netherlands will face the United States in the last 16 of the World Cup.
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