Dutch manager Louis Van Gaal plans to cut off the supply to Lionel Messi when the Netherlands come up against Argentina later today in the World Cup quarter-final, per L’Equipe
The plan is to set up a watertight midfield that prevents Messi from going direct where he can be really dangerous. Frenkie De Jong will be key in this system as it’s his job to play in the pivot as a destroyer in the Dutch midfield quartet.
De Jong knows Messi quite well having been his teammate in Barcelona for three years. The Barcelona legend can punish any team at a moment’s notice if allowed space and time with the ball. The Dutch cannot put a man on Leo because he can drag that player out of position to leave spaces for his teammate.
Van Gaal’s idea is to stay compact, protect the defence as stop the ball from reaching Messi as much as possible
Holland are likely to sit back and invite pressure while looking for opportunities to counter Argentina and score.
This is one game that can hardly be predicted because of how good Holland are tactically and how Messi can turn the game on its head in one moment of magic.
Barca fans who are you rooting for? De Jong or Messi?