Despite a perfect record in the group stages, thrashing reigning champions Spain 5-1 and making themselves one of the favourites, the Netherlands are coming under scrutiny from their own fans.
The Daily Mirror reports that the Dutch media and fans are enraged by incoming Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal’s insistence on playing a ‘back five’.
It seems to them that three wins from three and being the tournament’s top scorers mean very little, when it’s achieved through counter-attacking football.
When it comes to the Netherlands, since the days of Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff there has always been an emphasis on playing attractive football, using ‘Total football’.
A philosophy that United’s fiery new manager does use but he still believes it is not the only way. Those are the same beliefs that saw him lose the General Manager post at Ajax.
But I do agree with him. At a World Cup, the pressure can be so great that you want any sort of goal or to keep a clean sheet in the last five minutes by any means necessary.
Total football is a fantastically attractive theory of how football should be played, but can van Gaal implement in at Old Trafford? I am not so sure.
Total football is built around creating space and time for the player on the ball and involves the entire team, excluding the goalkeeper, rotating and filling in for each other.
I honestly believe that the majority of English teams, United included are too rigid to play this style.
According to many pundits Wayne Rooney is his most effective in the number 10 role. I can’t see him at 28 being happy rotating to right midfield, away from the goal.
There are numerous players I believe would have the same problem like Carrick, appreciated by United fans but if he finds himself in left wing, would he have the skill or speed to have an impact.
It will be interesting but as we saw with England at the World Cup, players have to play in ‘their’ position or else they can’t do what they do.