Will van Gaal be forced to throw in the two towering bobbing heads of Wout Weghorst and Luuk de Jong? According to 90min.com, the two could be called upon to enforce a vertical advantage, by hurling crosses into them against Argentina, which is the shortest amongst the teams left at the World Cup.
With both well over 6ft, they could pose the biggest aerial threats around. “Van Gaal has already said he’d consider bringing them both on and lumping crosses into them in a dire situation, and such a plan would be particularly effective in this match,” 90min wrote.
Curiously, the Netherlands are yet to score in this set piece fashion at this edition. 90min continued: “For one, they have some serious aerial threats in their starting XI in the forms of Van Dijk, Nathan Ake and Virgil van Dijk. What’s more, they have one of the penalty crossers of the ball at the tournament in Gakpo, who has racked up a load of assists from corners at club level.
“Despite that, the team have yet to score from any in Qatar, with Gakpo’s deliveries being dangerous but his team-mates unable to take advantage,” 90min wrote.
Lisandro Martinez will be expected to defend the aerial challenge as the appointed projectile wall, though he’s much shorter than Weghorst and De Jong, according to 90min.
However, Argentina boast of the world’s best player in Messi, and nothing tall or short virtually stops him when he gets going at the other end. So the Dutch could lob it all they want, and Messi might simply finish off their hopes in the quarters with his magic.
Down time before the high wire act
How did van Dijk, Gakpo and Depay unwind ahead of Argentina clash? With a luxury yacht ride, UNO & water paddles
The Dutch national team went sailing at the start of this week on a luxury yacht, to unwind, before they got into the training groove for the cracking clash against Argentina.
Onsoranje, the official social media account posted pictures of Holland boss Louis Van Gall hosting a chilled day out for resting time, organised on a Persian Gulf luxury yacht.
Virgil van Dijk, Memphis Depay, Cody Gakpo and Nathan Ake were seen in pictures on the sunny gathered around in a circle to play a game of UNO.
Others like Steven Bergwijn and Denzel Dumfries, were clicked splashing out on NSP paddle boards at sea, while others went out on a swim.
While the Netherlands reached the quarter-finals with a 3-1 victory over the United States, they run into the Messi’s Argentina, which is riding a high. Knowing well just how high octane that clash could get, boss Van Gaal had decided to take his players out for some proper down-time.
On Friday, they might well be left hopping ragged by Messi and his band of men.