The final set of FIFA World Cup 2014 group games is upon us—where on earth did the time go?
Here, we analyse Netherlands vs. Chile: a game which will decide who takes top spot in Group B and who takes second place.
After a miraculous victory over Spain, knocking the defending champions out of the competition in just the second game, Chile are set to make a few changes with their place in the knockout stages secured.
Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and Mauricio Isla will sit out due to injury (niggle), suspension or a combination of both, paving the way for Miiko Albornoz, Jorge Valdivia and Felipe Gutierrez to come in.
Albornoz has the best chance of securing a regular spot, with Isla playing OK and running hard in the first two games but ultimately lacking finesse. That's not a criticism; it's a yearn for more.
La Roja are likely set to continue using the 3-4-3 formation, and it will be interesting to see how long Jorge Sampaoli leaves key players such as Alexis Sanchez on the pitch.
The Netherlands will be without a few key players too, with Robin van Persie suspended and Bruno Martins Indi out with a concussion.
The key dilemma is whether or not to switch away from the 3-5-2 formation that did so well against Spain yet so poorly against Australia, and the personnel available will influence the choice.
Memphis Depay played the part of super-sub and essentially won the Dutch the game against the Socceroos, but Jeremain Lens looks a more obvious start up front if the shape remains.
Arjen Robben will be captain for the game, while the perennially forgotten Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will likely remain forgotten.
2 Tactical Clashes
1. You May Need 3
The chief influence in Van Gaal's selection of formation should not be who is available to him.
Chile's front three, despite subbing Valdivia in for Vidal, is fierce; the No. 10 is slightly withdrawn and won't trouble a defender consistently, but the outside CBs are going to matched up one vs. one with Sanchez.
Having a third man in the middle to cover, for insurance purposes, could be a very attractive proposition.
2. Ditto the Other Way
Chile's 3-4-3 was only tested vertically by Diego Costa, and even then his surges forward were sporadic at best.
The Dutch seem likely to continue with two forwards, so it will be interesting to see how La Roja's defensive setup handles the pace and directness of Robben plus one.
Gary Medel ate Costa alive, but how will he cope when he's not free to dive in and intercept Javi Martinez-style?
Bleacher Report will do a tactical preview and review of every single 2014 FIFA World Cup game. Stay tuned to this link and check it every day for more.
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