Michael Doodeman takes a look at who will take on specific roles for Netherlands in Brazil such as free kick taker, and most likely to take a penalty in a shoot-out.
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Just in the past year, Robin Van Persie took over the armband from Wesley Sneijder. The switch was made by Louis Van Gaal. The manager believed the Galatasaray man was not in the right condition to be captaining the mighty Oranje. The captaincy then switched to arguably Holland’s best player, Robin Van Persie. Since then it seems Van Persie and Van Gaal have developed quite the relationship, and it may not be a coincidence that Van Gaal ended up at Old Trafford. Van Persie is undoubtedly a terrific captain; he is world class, he is a well-liked team player, and he works hard, however, does he have the same compassion and reputation on the international stage as Wesley does? Wesley Sneijder carried Holland to the 2010 WC final, and whether he is playing a friendly or in a World Cup match, when he wears orange, he means business. Robin Van Persie should do just fine captaining the Oranje and it will help having other leaders such as Welsey guiding the team to victory.
This role was also just given out in the past year, and it belongs to Arjen Robben. Although the Bayern man may not be considered the perfect teammate, he has improved significantly in terms of being a team player and a leader on and off the pitch. Robben is another player who is striven with a passion while playing for his country, and the younger players will look to him for guidance. Next in line after Robben to get the armband is the ultimate team player, Dirk Kuyt. Should one of Van Persie, Robben or Kuyt not be on the field, the armband could be passed on to the likes of Stefan De Vrij, Wesley Sneijder or Nigel De Jong.
Depending on the side and position of the field the ball lies, the free kicks will most likely be taken by one of three players. On the left side of the field, the free kick specialist, Wesley Sneijder will take his chances. On the right side of the field, most likely Van Persie will have a crack at it, however Robben will fancy his chances as well. Exceptions could be: Long free kick (shot): Memphis Depay is known to be able to fire a ball into the back of the net from far away. Also, Jonathon De Guzman can strike a ball sweetly.
Usually this role is for left footed players, to deliver an in-swinger. Both Van Persie or Robben could take it, however, Van Persie is the bigger aerial threat in the box and therefore Robben will be taking the majority of the corners.
This corner is usually taken by right footed players to deliver the in-swinger as well. Expect to see Welsey Sneijder taking the majority of these.
The man to take the penalty if he is on the field is definitely Robin Van Persie. His conversion rate from the spot is exceptional for Manchester United and Holland. Should Van Persie not be available to take the penalty, Robben, Huntelaar, Sneijder, or Kuyt will be willing to step up to the spot.
Top 5 for shootout:
In the case of a penalty shoot-out, the Dutch do possess a wealth of good penalty takers. In no order, depending whose on the field, these players will most likely be called upon to slot one home for their country: Robin Van Persie, Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, and Dirk Kuyt. All of these players in their career have been established penalty kick takers for one of their clubs.
Best Dribbler: Arjen Robben
Best Finisher: RobinVan Persie or Klaas Jan Huntelaar
Best Tackler: Nigel De Jong
Strongest Player: Ron Vlaar
Best Passer: Wesley Sneijder
Best Stamina: Dirk Kuyt, Daley Blind or Daryl Janmaat
Best in the Air: Ron Vlaar or Stefan de Vrij
Best tricks/moves: Memphis Depay