Holland profile – Oranjes have depth for fruitful campaign
Bert Van Marwijk’s team have been conspicuously untroubled so far in this tournament and their lengthy 7/1 winners tag can be explained by facing favourites Brazil (9/4) next. But with a hungry and talented squad that price will tumble if they progress (7/4).
Maarten Stekelenburg hasn’t had an awful lot to do yet but looks assured when called upon. With a few good saves under his belt – notably against Slovakia – the defence in front will have confidence in him. Only beaten so far by two penalties, the second of which he conceded for bringing down Robert Vittek.
Van Marwijk has maintained a settled backline, mixing the experience of Giovanni Van Bronckhorst with the youth of Gregory Van der Weil, with the latter being the only one of the four first-choice defenders to miss any games.
Such consistency will prepare them well for the tough test of Luis Fabiano and co. They last conceded more than one goal in a game 14 matches ago so under 1.5 goals for Brazil, at 8/11 looks tempting.
Holding midfielders Nigel De Jong and Marc Van Bommel lend a grit and balance to Holland, allowing Wesley Sneijder to roam free. He’s got two goals so far and is a generous 10/1 to score first against Brazil.
The two defensive dynamos will be vital in harrying the likes of Kaka and Robinho and could upset Brazil’s stride, leading to a tight encounter. Ibrahim Afellay has come on in three games and looked sprightly, providing a genuine option to change things if needed.
Robin Van Persie says he is fresher for only playing part of the domestic season and it shows. He’s netted only once so far but has been sharp. He’s 6/1 to score first against Brazil.
In 88 minutes of football Arjen Robben has unleashed three trademark strikes; scoring, hitting the post, and bringing a save. He’s 8/1 to score first. Selective running was a feature of Slovakia game and it’s imperative he stays fit.
Robben’s inclusion would mean Dirk Kuyt continues on the left and his pressing could trouble Michel Bastos. Kuyt is 9/1 to get the first goal.
Rafael Van Der Vaart, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Eljero Elia all possess real quality and can add something different from the bench – essential if things are going wrong.