5 Reasons Why Netherlands Can Win the 2014 World Cup
On Wednesday, the Netherlands will face Argentina in the semi-final of the World Cup in Brazil.
It won't be an easy match, but should the Oranje win, they'll reach the fourth World Cup final in their history and second in a row following a loss in the 2010 final.
At this stage in the tournament, it's difficult to predict a winner. Luck will play a role, and all four contestants have the ability to pull it off.
Here, we take a look at five reasons why the Netherlands can win the World Cup.
Van Gaal's Interventions
Once a match is underway, it's sometimes difficult to influence it as a manager. With everything from the formation to the tactics set, it's up to the players on the pitch to perform.
This is not the case with the Netherlands' Louis van Gaal. As a manager, it's almost as if he's the Oranje's 12th player, constantly influencing games from the sidelines.
Against Australia, for example, it was his switch from a 5-3-2 formation to a 4-3-3 that allowed the Dutch to change the game in their favour.
Against Mexico, the substitution of Robin van Persie for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar proved decisive, while against Costa Rica, Van Gaal effectively won the penalty shootout by bringing on Tim Krul near the end of extra time.
Whatever problems Argentina will create for the Netherlands, it seems likely Van Gaal can come up with a solution.
Some players are pleasing to the eye. Others are downright effective. No matter which way you look at it, Dirk Kuyt belongs in the second category.
In different matches and during different phases of the game, Kuyt has played as a left-back, a right-back and as a striker. Who knows where he'll end up next?
What's more, Kuyt has proven he's ready for responsibility, taking and converting an all-important penalty during the shootout against Costa Rica.
With injuries effecting the squad, a utility man such as Kuyt might be of vital importance.
During a World Cup, it's often important to have more offensive players who are at the top of their game. For the Netherlands, Arjen Robben is such a player.
After seeing him play a vital role during the Netherlands' campaign so far, it's fair to say that the Bayern Munich winger is currently in the form of his life.
To beat the best teams and go all the way, you need such a player.
Ahead of the World Cup, the Netherlands defence was identified by many as one of the team's weak points.
But now that the Dutch are in the semi-final, it seems as if they have a very solid defence. Besides the match against Australia, which the Dutch won 3-2, it's been generally difficult to score against the Oranje.
Bruno Martins Indi and Stefan de Vrij have grabbed the attention, and even Ron Vlaar, who wasn't considered to be one of the best going into the World Cup, has put in a series of impressive performances.
It remains to be seen how the Netherlands back line will do against the likes of Lionel Messi, but for now it's fair to say that the Dutch can defend as well as they attack.
Everything Is Working Out
Whether it's the team's spirit or Van Gaal's risky substitutions during extra time, everything seems to be working out for the Dutch.
Apparently, Lady Luck is on the side of the Netherlands. It's almost as if it's impossible for opponents to find a way to beat them. This of course motivates the players and will undoubtedly also put fear in the opponents the Oranje will face.
In any case, it's likely Argentina would have preferred to play a much less confident opponent in the semi-final.
And what to think of the other finalists, should the Dutch manage to win on Wednesday?