5 Things We Learned from Netherlands 2-0 Chile


1. Arjen Robben Is A Strong Contender For Player Of The Tournament

On a couple of occasions in the first half we saw Arjen Robben stretch his legs and immediately force Chile onto the back foot, whilst right at the end he produced similar to set up Memphis Depay for the second goal.

The 30-year-old seems to have got quicker as he’s got older – he’s certainly got more aerodynamic – and given the way that this tournament has progressed and the style of stretched, sometimes chaotic football we’ve seen within it, his extreme pace is going to cause problems for everyone the Dutch face.

2. Chile Are Going To Have To Do It The Hard Way Again

On both of their last two appearances at a World Cup, Chile were knocked out at the second round stage by Brazil.

Barring something spectacular happening when the Brazilians face Cameroon in Brasilia later, they are going to have to face the same opposition again, and although they are probably now better equipped to play a hardly vintage Brazil side, the prospect of a second round game in what will be a partisan Belo Horizonte doesn’t bode well for them.

3. The Netherlands Need More From Wesley Sneijder

Arguably one of the travesties of the last World Cup was that Wesley Sneijder wasn’t voted the best player of it.

Four years on though, and now 30, Sneijder doesn’t quite have the same impact in the No. 10 role that we used to see from him, and he appears to be somewhat lost behind the roving and powerful force of Robben. He was replaced by instant goalscorer Leroy Fer with 15 minutes to go, and although his status within the squad is surely secure, perhaps a little more competition from the Norwich City man will make Sneijder buck his ideas up.

4. It’s Opening Up For The Dutch

After winning Group B, the Netherlands are now likely to face Mexico or Croatia in the last 16, not an easy task but certainly one that isn’t beyond them.

Win that and they’ll take on the side that emerges from Groups C and D in the last eight. With Colombia and Costa Rica currently topping those sections the reasons for optimism should be high.

5. Dirk Kuyt Can Play At Left Wing-Back

Dirk Kuyt has scored almost 250 goals in his club career, has 24 in his 99 Netherlands caps and developed a happy knack of coming up with crucial strikes at crucial times during his six years’ service at Liverpool. All of which was apparently preparation for a spot at left wing-back here.

Now 33, Kuyt typically put in a workmanlike shift for Louis van Gaal as the incoming Manchester United boss stuck with a formation which has served him well at the tournament so far. He’s unlikely to stay there when knockout combat begins, but if you want some to do a job for you then there are few more reliable.