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Sneijder Goes Some Way To Answering the Big Question

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 25:  Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder of Real Madrid warm up during the Champions League Round of 16, First Leg match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 25, 2009 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Rich WilcockContributor IMarch 5, 2010

Van Marwijk went some way to answering the big question on Wednesday night, and subsequently going some way to getting a World Cup Squad. 

But the big question does seem to be answered. Sneijder instead of Van Der Vaart. Which, on the basis of form and confidence, seems to be the best way forward.

In an ideal world, we would see both of these players marauding forward, almost at will, creating chances whilst letting Van Bommel, De Jong or Schaars mopping up behind them. For some reason though, it has never worked out with the two side-by-side.

Much like the problem that we see in England with Gerrard and Lampard, Van Der Vaart and Sneijder cannot really perform together. They like the limelight too much. They like to get forward and not get back. Throughout campaigns, we have seen these prodigiously talented players look disjointed in the national shirt. Van Marwijk has gone some way to remedy this.

The first part of fixing it was to change the formation. Out went the 4-5-1 which had given Van Der Vaart and Sneijder room but inevitably meant they were fighting each other. In came the 4-3-3, which has made the wingers a primary focus, taking the strain a little off the attacking midfielder.

The form of the two players has also made it easier for Van Marwijk. He has Van Der Vaart, trading off his potential at Real Madrid whom has become a bit part player, marginalised on the bench. Whilst Sneijder has got his career on track once again, growing into his role as Inter's primary instigator of attacking moves. This, it has to be said, has made Sneijder the obvious choice to start.

For Holland, it is a problem which needed sorted. Wednesday's game saw Sneijder stamp his authority all over the game. He created chances, took chances and looked a much better player with his shackles removed. 

For Van Der Vaart, its bad news. You can't blame him for not firing on all cylinders, his performances have been limited. Only, like Sneijder, when his club football improves will he see his national fortunes prosper.

Van Marwijk doesn't seem to have shut the door on Van Der Vaart. He will be in that World Cup Squad. But he's paid to make tough choices and the Managers before him, had dodged this question for too long. It's high time they should watch Sneijder grow and hope Van Der Vaart follows.

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