Holland Football: Strengths and Weaknesses

Rich WilcockContributor IMay 18, 2010

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 03:  Jonathan Bornstein of USA tries to tackle Arjen Robben of the Netherland during the International Friendly between Netherlands and USA at the Amsterdam Arena on March 3, 2010 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Ian Walton/Getty Images

No football team is flawless.

Although it is hard to believe, Barcelona has flaws. As do Manchester United and Brazil, even Spain themselves have flaws. Although some teams are good at masking them, making the most of what lets them down, others are not. More often than not, it's this ability in hiding what lets you down which turns teams into winners.

Holland is no exception to this rule. But where are they're strengths, and what exactly are those weaknesses?

If you look at the team sheet, the strength of the team is obvious. When going forward, Holland can look truly exceptional. Moving forward down the flanks, and with space to roam, Holland will make this count.

Arjen Robben is fantastic at getting to the byline, and his pace often outstrips the best of defenders. The same can be said of Rafael Van Der Vaart and Ibrahim Afellay.

However not only does Holland like to get to the flanks, they have an inventive and creative streak which usually manifests itself in the ball being passed into the box as much as possible, when there, the ball usually ends up in the goal.

It's this creation and constant threat which will unsettle the teams they face. At no point should any team believe they are off the hook when Holland is going forward.

They have strength in numbers as well. Maarwijk likes to pack his midfield, whether it is Schaars, Van Bommel, De Jong. They have a magnificent depth in the defensive midfield position, which makes the whole of the midfield an exciting proposition for Holland.

Defensively however, they are a mixed bag. Few question Van Bronckhorst's experience, but many can question his pace. It quite simply isn't there. It leaves them horribly exposed to quick wingers and nifty strikers. In fact, pace at the back is something that is lacking all over.

Heitinga, Boulahrouz, Ooijer and Mathijsen are no spring chickens. It leaves you with the question, that while they have all the pace in the world going forward, when the inevitable counter attacks start raining down on them, where is the cover going to come from?

This question might seem absurd, but where are the goals going to come from?  Van Huntelaar is a pale comparison of the striker who promised so much. Van Nistelrooy hasn't been called upon, and Kuyt and Babel don't have that predatory instinct. So it's left to Van Persie to put up the goal threat and possibly Eljiro Elia, a vastly improved striker from Hamburg, whom if selected, could make waves.

But with that, there are plenty of ifs and buts. What if Van Persie isn't completely fit? What if Van Huntelaar never finds true form again? The striking options are a series of conundrums.

I am not going to say that Holland has a bad side. We couldn't possibly hold that claim to light. But certain questions need answers and the World Cup might be the only place to find them.

As I started this article, I claimed no football team is perfect, which is true. While Holland has problems, the World Cup will not horribly expose them. Their chances remain good, very good indeed.