Sun | Dec 10, 2023

FLOW Qatar Spotlight | The tiresome Messi show and an old fogie shows them how its done

Published:Saturday | December 3, 2022 | 9:06 PMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter, Livingston Scott/Gleaner Writer, Orane Buchanan/Staff Reporter, Paul-Andre Walker/Sports Editor
Head coach Louis van Gaal of the Netherlands walks during the World Cup round of 16 footbal match against the United States, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar today.
Christian Pulisic of the United States (centre) and Frenkie de Jong of the Netherlands (right) vie for the ball during their World Cup round of 16 football match at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar today.
Players of the Netherlands celebrate their side's second goal by Daley Blind during the World Cup round of 16 football match against the United States at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar today.
Argentina's Lionel Messi (centre) and teammates celebrate after their team's 2-1 victory over Australia during the World Cup round of 16 at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar today.

A real coach’s victory

Daniel Wheeler

Louis van Gaal produced a tactical clinic against the USA. They were more than happy to give the Americans the ball to see what they could do with it and knew that Holland's quality in the final third would be good enough to punish them on the break. The US full backs were at fault for all three goals. USA couldn't adjust and The Netherlands have given themselves a real shot at a World Cup title, finally. The main priority for the USA when they host in 2026, find a striker. And maybe there needs to be a new voice as head coach to captalize on probably the most talented young team the USA have had in decades.

England will not be that overconfident playing a Senegal team playing with house money. This might be the game where the absence of Sadio Mane reveals itself for Senegal.

Europe-Concacaf gap still wide

Livingston Scott

With just Memphis Depay, Virgil Van Dijk, Frankie De Jong and Denzel Dumfries, who has two assists and a goal, the Dutch maintained their standard of qualifying for all but one of the World Cup quarter-finals they have participated in since 1994, with a relatively comfortable 3-1 win over the USA, who gave a gallant effort nonetheless.

Despite the US's effort, it was clear the Europeans were a level above their Concacaf counterparts.

Is this finally the year of the Oranje?

Orane Buchanan

World number eight ranked Netherlands are still one of three teams left in the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar that are yet to lose a match. Some would say they are flying under the radar. They have thrice played second fiddle at the World Cup and were left to watch as the confetti fell upon their opponents. Could this be their year?

Despite all the talks around the United States’ speed prior to kick-off, the Louis Van Gaal-coached Oranje kept their poise and composure to deliver a stellar performance. Neither the football purist nor the lovers of Dutch football have forgotten about the 1978 World Cup final where Argentina, led by Mario Kempes, defeated them 3-1. Forty-four years later, they have the chance to return that pain. But can they?

The Messi show needs to stop

Paul-Andre Walker

I’m certain that headline will have the Lionel Messi fans up in arms. But I come in peace. I watched today as Messi, first opened the scoring, and then when Australia tried to pour everything into an equalizer, sythed open the opposition and set up very presentable chances for others to go on and finish off their brave opponents.

The misses that came on the back of that is my reason for saying the Messi show needs to stop. Argentina has been blessed with a number of gifted technicians but over the course of the last decade they have become more and more dependent on the magic of one player. As good as that player is, if the other 10, like his goalkeeper did, don’t stand up and be counted, there will indeed be five World Cups where Messi participated and found himself short of the glory.