The Spain (España) vs Netherlands (Holanda) World Cup match will be disputed on Friday, June 13, 2014 (12:00 PM Pacific Time) at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador. There is no better way to start off the opening group matches, than with the 2010 World Cup winners facing the 2010 World Cup runners-up. This match may demonstrate which team will most likely finish at the top of Group B.
Possible Changes to the Netherlands
Although we can predict many parts of this match– such as Spain retaining possession– one thing that remains uncertain is the Netherlands’ starting line up. Although Louis van Gaal stuck with a 4-2-3-1 formation throughout much of the qualification, the Dutch manager experimented with other varying formations without once practicing a 4-2-3-1 during friendly games. In the friendly against Ghana, van Gaal played with a three-man defense instead of the usual four.
But not all has changed in the Dutch system. The team continues to press high when defending, which thinly masks Holland’s defensive vulnerabilities. Van Persie, Robben, and Sneijder all defend without the ball; the midfield drop just in front the defenders, and the back four play a high line.
These late changes to Holland might create challenges for Vicente del Bosque to figure out van Gaal’s game plan. However, Spain are not a team to go on the defensive and change formation based on their opponents. Spain are proactive. They will maintain a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 formation with with technical midfielders looking to maintain possession. We can expect Jordi Alba to cause havoc on Holland’s right side. He overlaps properly with Andres Iniesta with one-two combinations and speed. Alonso, Xavi, and Busquets are far superior than any possible midfield van Gaal selects for the match. Resisting high pressure from the Netherlands will not be a problem against the master passers.
More Vertical Football
One possibility the Spanish can explore is more direct football. Instead of playing Silva, del Bosque should start Pedro out on the right against Netherlands. Starting Silva/Iniesta on both flanks of the field makes it difficult to retain width and spread the opposition. Pedro can run behind the Holland defense from wide positions. Also, if del Bosque plans to start Costa as the striker, the Brazilian poacher will need someone feeding him the ball from the flanks the wide areas.
Vicente del Bosque will most likely field his typical XI in a 4-2-3-1 with still questions to the striker position. In the last friendly versus El Salvador, David Villa had an exception game scoring two goals. Costa looked near 100% healthy, but will he fit the system?
Spain vs Netherlands Prediction
Considering the tactical problems Louis van Gaal and the Netherlands face heading into the World Cup, Spain are favorites to win the first match of Group B. The Netherlands’ form has dipped since the final of 2010. I cannot imagine Spain will struggle just as four years ago against the Dutch. If the midfield connect with Costa and Pedro exploits Holland’s high line, “La Furia Roja” will win 3-1. This is where Spain will have to depend on the form of their forwards than the technical qualities of their midfielders.
Spain vs Netherlands TV Schedule
The Spain vs Netherlands match will be televised on ESPN and Univision, on Friday, June 13, 2014 at 12:00 PM Pacific. The match will also be streamed via ESPN 3.