FIFA World Cup: Australia vs Netherlands - Preview
Porto Alegre (Brazil): After crushing reigning champions Spain 5-1 "never change a winning team" would be a logical choice, but Dutch head coach Louis van Gaal may decide differently for the match against Australia here Wednesday.
"Oranje" blew away Spain in the second half with a 5-3-2 system, a system Van Gaal opted to conquer the reigning World champions, reports Xinhua.
His tactics worked out well with especially forwards Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie flourishing with two goals each. Wesley Sneijder behind them added two assists.
However, during the final training session Tuesday Van Gaal opted for striker Jeremain Lens with the possible starters and defender Ron Vlaar was playing with the reserves. This could mean Holland will play in a 4-3-3 system with Lens, who played in nine out of ten qualification matches, Van Persie and Robben up front.
"Against Australia I can play with both systems," said Van Gaal. "Therefore I will not be open this time, like before Spain. I will not say which system we play, because that determines the line-up."
"Against a defensive Australia we can put more pressure on them with 4-3-3, but that doesn` t always mean the best outcome," Van Gaal added.
"But to be honest, I expect an offensive Australia, because the coach (Ange Postecoglou), that`s a good one. They pled offensive against Chile as well."
Earlier this week Sneijder and Robben said they would opt for continuation of the 5-3-2 system. "But they have not said that to me," said Van Gaal, while Sneijder was sitting next to him at the press conference.
"I will always listen to my players, and after that make a judgment."
Australia lost their first match 3-1 to Chile, but caused the Chileans a lot of trouble. The result nevertheless means the Socceroos must get a result against the Netherlands to keep their hopes of reaching the second round alive.
History against the Netherlands seems on the side of the Australians so far, because they are unbeaten against the Dutch, winning once and drawing twice. All three previous meetings were friendlies. On June 4, 2006, the match ended in a 1-1 draw, on September 6, 2008 Australia won 2-1 and on October 11, 2009 the match finished goalless (0-0).
Meanwhile the Dutch are fearing a Euro 2008 repetition when they started with a stunning 3-0 win over world champions Italy, followed by a 4-1 victory over France and a 2-0 win over Romania. However, they were ousted in the quarter-finals by Russia.
A win over Australia would see the Netherlands through if Chile avoid defeat against Spain.