Sjors Ultee, from brand new coach of SC Cambuur, is a football analyst for the NOS during the World Cup. On Dutch national team matchdays, he takes a closer look at the opponent on NOS.nl and in the NOS app, so we can look well prepared.
The Netherlands national team will meet the United States team at 4 p.m., thanks to a hard-fought game 1-0 victory against Iran second in Group B, behind England.
What can we expect from the United States? And what can Orange do better? Sjors Ultee has an idea.
Team USA made it through the group stage with only two goals. What did you notice?
“It’s a completely different team from the opponents we’ve had so far. A very fresh team with a lot of energy. Lots of people who move, good in combinations, very dynamic. An attractive team that wants to play with everyone sides to attack.”
“Scoring alone isn’t very easy. That’s because they don’t have a real striker. But up to sixteen, they’re a great team, with that American spirit in them, so hard work A team that also saw it as a top performance for the Round of 16 to get.”
“It’s a big contrast to the way the Netherlands have experienced the World Cup so far. Here we went to the next round in a kind of mourning mood. There it was a big party and you even saw the president in his enthusiastic speech about the victory over Iran.”
“They radiate that energy and that good feeling from all sides. It means that the Orange team come up against a team that has a lot of self-confidence. It’s true that they said they wanted to frustrate the Netherlands Now Ecuador and Senegal have done the same through the very small and collapsing spaces, but the United States is more likely to want to do it in a forceful way.”
What are the strengths of the United States?
“The Americans are very stable and reliable defensively. They only conceded one goal this World Cup and it was a penalty. And that while they’re not digging. They always have a lot of people around the ball and put a lot of pressure on the ball. A very aggressive way of defending.”
Watch the summaries of the matches of the American group:
“It’s also a close-knit team. You can see that in the starting XI, where only the right centre-back and the striker were substituted once. And it’s a young team, but with guys who play at the highest level every week. They come from AC “Milan, Celtic, Fulham, Juventus, Leeds, Valencia, Lille, Norwich, Chelsea, Arsenal. It’s an important aspect of a World Cup to have players who have experience in big games.”
The weak points then, where are the opportunities for Orange?
“As I said, they don’t score easily because they don’t have a real striker. And they depend a lot on their star player, Christian Pulisic.”
“They also have a young and eager team, but so far you see at this World Cup everything becomes much less towards the end of a game. Then they get tired. And of course that adds up. during a tournament it is already the fourth game. So the question is how long they will last with all this energy and when they will break.
Who should we watch out for later, it has to be Pulisic?
“It’s true. The goal that Pulisic scored against Iran, how he sprinted into the box to finish it, and where he also got injured… The pace and the running action, it’s is a typical goal for America and for Pulisic.”
Pulisic puts USA ahead against Iran: 1-0
“Apart from that goal and his assist over Timothy Weah in the game against Wales, he’s involved in almost everything. He has depth and gets into the ball a lot.”
Finally, the key question: how should Orange deal with it later?
“It’s a shame to say it because everyone is already complaining about the game, but the trick will be to make it wonderfully boring. To let the Americans go wild. To pull their backs, make sure they cover up on our back, so there’s room up front against two centre-backs.”
“But then you have to be patient and determine the pace yourself. So that it’s not their energy that makes the difference, but the quality of our attackers. Does it get so boring again? Boring maybe the word negative, patient sounds a bit more positive. Whatever word you use, that’s pretty much the job.
“Who should play then? It’s important to have people up front who can handle these big spaces. Whether you play ‘out of ten’ with Gakpo or Klaassen, and at peak time with Bergwijn or Gakpo next of Depay, it doesn’t mean that they’re all moving players who can hurt the Americans in those spaces.”
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