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Holland Euro 2012: Let’s Talk Tactics

The 2012 European Championships are just around the corner, as in two days’ time tournament co-hosts Poland face Greece in the opening game, of this summer’s football spectacle. For Bert Van Marwijk’s Dutch side, the coach faces an attacking dilemma, the 60 year old has various options for their opening game against Denmark on Saturday, but with many players such as Ibrahim Afellay showing form in Holland’s warm up games, come Saturday Bert Van Marwijk faces the task of a selection headache, a back five of Stekelenburg, Van Der Wiel, Heitinga, Mathijsen/Vlaar and 18 year old wonderkid Jetro Willems seems a certainty; however with numerous options to choose from in midfield and attack, who will Bert Van Marwijk decide to play in Holland’s opening group game of Euro 2012?

Team 1
Midfield: De Jong(DM), Van Bommel(DM), Sneijder(AM) – Holland could well opt for a defensive basis for their match against Denmark, two defensive midfielders in Nigel De Jong and Mark Van Bommel offer an unyielding presence in-between defence and attack. With the dangerous Christian Eriksen likely to start for the Danes, Holland could well look to De Jong and Van Bommel to stop the difficult presence of Eriksen, from creating chances for Denmark,while Wesley Sneijder will play the attacking role of a possible three man midfield. Sneijder will be set up as the playmaker of the Dutch side, with the will to roam free Holland will expect Sneijder to play some crucial passes and link up with the Dutch front three.

Attack: Robben(RW), Van Persie(LW), Huntelaar(ST) – If Bert Van Marwijk decides on this formation for Holland’s opening group game, this impeccable front three, will most likely start for Holland in their remaining two group game fixtures. Arjen Robben is a dangerous component to Holland’s attack, while Robin Van Persie has been on scintillating form for club side Arsenal. Van Marwijk may well adjust the front three as matches go on, with Robben and Van Persie likely to swap sides. Huntelaar is a main contender for the golden boot this summer; expect to see him start as the lone striker against Denmark on Saturday.

Team 2
Midfield: De Jong(DM), Van Bommel(DM), Robben(RM), Afellay(LM), Sneijder(AM) – This five man midfield formation is another route that Bert Van Marwijk may decide on. Yet again the defensive base of the midfield will consist of captain Mark Van Bommel and Nigel De Jong, who will sit in front of the back four and dismantle the Denmark attacks. The change in midfield may well come on the flanks, instead of a front three Arjen Robben and the on form Ibrahim Afellay may well come into the fray, both players will be pushed back into midfield. Meanwhile Wesley Sneijder will be the creative threat for Holland in this five man midfield; he will most likely sit behind the lone striker.

Attack:Van Persie(ST) – With the Holland midfield playing deeper, Robin Van Persie will most likely lead the line of attack on his own. Van Marwijk has opted for this formation in the past two warm up matches, against Slovakia and Northern Ireland. Even though Huntelaar has been scoring for fun in the qualifiers, Van Persie will most likely be the lone striker, not the biggest presence up front, the Arsenal forward will have to hold the ball up to the best of his ability, with Sneijder, Robben and Afellay offering the support.

Team 3
Midfield: Van Bommel(DM), Sneijder(CM), Robben(RM), Afellay(LM), Van Persie(AM) – Another style of a possible five man midfield, sees captain Mark Van Bommel playing a lone role as a defensive midfielder with Nigel De Jong deputising. Arjen Robben and Ibrahim Afellay will most likely still guard the left and right flanks, possibly swapping as the match progresses. Another change to this formation sees Wesley Sneijder playing a more central role in the midfield, a change from his attacking role. Despite being moved positions Sneijder will still offer his range of qualities, including his passing, and his ability to set up attacks. A final change to this possible five man midfield, sees Robin Van Persie guarding the attacking midfield role. Van Persie has often occupied this position for his country, with the Arsenal man playing a pivotal role in Holland’s attack, fans should expect to see him produce a partnership with Klaas Jan Huntelaar, if this is the chosen formation it should be an exciting attacking bonding.

Attack: Huntelaar(ST) – Huntelaar won’t be short of support if he is played as the lone striker. Huntelaar is more than capable of making this position his own, with Van Persie, Robben, Afellay and Sneijder pushing forward to assist Huntelaar, this formation has an attacking feel to it. With this amount of support, Huntelaar could well be a danger to opposition defences this summer.

Which formation will Van Marwijk opt for?
Van Marwijk isn’t short of quality and he certainly isn’t short of attacking options. With the back five a definite certain, I have filed down Van Marwijk’s possible formations and options from the midfield to the attack. Team 1 has a mixture of defensive and attacking ability, while team 2 has been the preferred formation for Van Marwijk in Holland’s last two games, finally team 3 sees more of an attacking feel to it despite the five man midfield.

However of those three possible formations, I believe that Bert Van Marwijk will yet again experiment with team 2. Against Slovakia and Northern Ireland this formation worked wonders; this means that Klaas Jan Huntelaar will most likely be left on the bench, with Ibrahim Afellay being selected in a wide midfield role. Van Marwijk has tested this formation and it has worked, so I believe the 60 year old has faith in this starting eleven, and this is the starting eleven we should expect to see against Denmark on Saturday evening.

Expected team – Stekelenburg(GK), Van Der Wiel(RB), Heitinga(CB), Mathijsen/Vlaar(CB), Willems(LB), Van Bommel(DM), De Jong(DM), Robben(RM), Afellay(LM), Sneijder(AM), Van Persie(ST)

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