How do you take one of the most talented teams in Europe and completely have them underperform? You have a coach who is more concerned about playing his favorite players and staying locked in to one formation than making necessary changes for success.
Robin van Persie is not a true striker. Yes, I know that he led the Premiership in goals this year but that was an aberration. His form was amazing and no one can take away his past season but he is not a pure number 9 like Klass-Jan-Huntelaar. If you are going to play one forward up top you want it to be your purest finisher like Germany does with Gomez. KJH is one of purest strikers in the world which he proved during qualifying, scoring 12 goals in just 8 games. RvP should be played as a goal scoring mid-fielder in the 3 behind KJH in place of Robben which leads me to….
Arjen Robben is one of the most talented players in the world, but also one of the most selfish. While he has shown the ability to make the killer pass, he so rarely does it. He has become more like a black hole when the ball is at his feet. In the first game, he shot 7 times and only one was on target. While it would have been a bold move, it also would have been right to sit him down and play RvP in his place.
Two holding mid-fielders that offer nothing going forward or range of passing kills the flow of the team. A change was required in order to knit the defense and attack together. The installation of a deep-lying play maker in the mid-field like Rafael van der Vaart was needed. This would have allowed Sneijder not to have to drop deep to receive the ball allowing him to unlock the defense with his pin point passing.
The 4-2-3-1 can be a very successful system. However Van Marwijk seems to be so locked into that system, even when it’s failing he refuses to change. One of the hall marks of a great coach is the ability to make changes that help his team on the fly; Van Marwijk has not shown that ability.
In the end it is a shame that the Netherlands without some kind of miracle will be gone from the tournament. Once that most likely happens Van Marwijk should be gone too.