We finish our profiles of Netherlands 23-man World Cup squad by looking at the forwards that Louis van Gaal has picked for Brazil.

  • By Michael Bell
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Looking at the squad heading to Brazil, it is clear that up front is where Netherlands have their strongest talent, and if the forward are on form then the Dutch can be a challenge for any nation.

With Louis van Gaal playing with a 5-3-2 formation in Brazil, its realistic that only Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie will start the matches, but there are plenty of options on the bench.

Who are Netherlands six attackers heading to Brazil?

van persie bRobin van Persie

Age-30 Club-Manchester United Caps-84 Goals-43

Netherlands captain, and all time leading goal scorer, Robin van Persie heads to the World Cup in good form for the national team having netted two in the last two friendlies, and 14 in their last 16 games.

On his day, Van Persie is one of the most lethal strikers in the World, and if Netherlands are to progress through the group stages, the Manchester United forward needs to be on form.

One of the major criticism’s of Van Persie in Netherlands is that he has yet to light up a major tournament in the Oranje, netting only once in both the 2006, and 2010 World Cup finals.

2014 will probably be Van Persie’s last chance to perform in the Worlds biggest tournament, so expect him to be motivated.

Strength– One of the World best goalscorers

Weakness– Can often come too deep when playing in the national team, needs to stay around the box.

lens aJeremain Lens

Age-26 Club-Dynamo Kiev Caps-21 Goals-7

Lens was one of the key men during qualifying for the World Cup, netting five goals in nine appearances, and proving to be useful with his pace down the left hand side.

With Louis van Gaal’s new 5-3-2 formation, it takes away the need for wingers, so if Lens was to get a chance in Brazil, it would be as a second striker, a position that would work well with his pace.

The forward moved from PSV Eindhoven to Dynamo Kiev last summer, but Lens has not yet had the impact in Ukraine that he would have hoped for, netting only 7 goals in 41 appearances.

A useful player from the bench, could prove lethal if used against a tired defence.

Strength– Pace

Weakness– Needs to be more clinical in front of goal

robben seArjen Robben

Age-30 Club-Bayern Munich -Caps-74 Goals-24

Robben is currently the most on form Dutch footballer in the world, after another excellent season in Germany for Bayern Munich. The winger is genuinely world class. Robben scored 21 goals, and added 17 assists in 45 games for the German champions this season.

In Brazil, Robben will play up front with Robin van Persie, which may take away the wingers main strength, which is cutting in from the right hand side. However his pace through the middle could cut through any defence.

Robben was one of the key players which helped Netherlands reach the final in 2010, but he will still be haunted by his one on one miss against Casillas which could have won the Dutch the title.

An on form Robben will be looking for revenge when Netherlands line up against Spain on June 13th.

Strength– Pace and a devastating finish

Weakness– Can be greedy on the ball.

depay bMemphis Depay

Age-20 Club-PSV Caps-6 Goals-0

The wild card in Netherlands squad, Depay has emerged this season as one of the biggest talents in the country, and could go on to be one of the stars in Brazil.

A strong, direct winger, who also has a powerful shot, Depay was PSV Eindhoven’s star man this season, netting 12 goals in 32 league games.

Made his Netherlands debut in the World Cup qualifier against Turkey last year, and has since featured in every friendly match since then, either starting or from the bench.

Strength- Great dribbler with pace

Weakness- Doesn’t score enough goals for the position he gets himself in

huntelaar abKlaas jan Huntelaar

Age-30 Club-Schalke Caps-61 Goals-34

Its often debated whether Klaas jan Huntelaar is a better option for Netherlands up front rather than Van Persie, and many believe Huntelaar has not had a chance to prove himself at a major tournament.

The Schalke forward has a better games to goal ratio in the national team than Van Persie, but in the new 5-3-2 formation, would Huntelaar be effective?

Huntelaar is a deadly finisher in the box, but with no wingers in the side, he would not receive the service into the box to make him effective. Van Persie’s link up play is superior to the former Ajax man, and its for this reason, that he is likely to start every game in Brazil, with Huntelaar once again rooted to the bench.

Its interesting that since Louis van Gaal took over from Bert van Marwijk, Huntelaar has only made five appearances for the national team, netting three goals. Injuries have played a part in this, but it may be that Van Gaal does not rate Huntelaar for his team.

If things start to go wrong in Brazil, Huntelaar will be the name called for by fans to turn it around.

Strength- Deadly finisher

Weakness- Not the quickest

kuyt adDirk Kuyt

Age-33 Club-Fenerbahce Caps-98 Goals-24

The 2014 World Cup will probably be the last major tournament for Kuyt, who has been a terrific servant to the national team over the years.

The Fenerbahce forward played a bit part role in the qualifying rounds for the tournament, usually appearing from the bench, while he was unused for the recent friendly with Ghana.

A hard working player, who can play through the middle or on the right wing, Kuyt is unlikely to see any game time in Louis van Gaal’s 5-3-2 formation, although the coach has tested him out at right wing back.

There is an argument to be made that Kuyt’s place in the squad should have been given to a youngster such as Quincy Promes, Jean Paul Boetius or even Tonny Vilhena, but the 33-year-olds experience could prove to be handy when trying to close down matches.

Strength- A strong battler, who tries 100% in every game

Weakness-Has no pace, would struggle in the 5-3-2 formation




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