Manchester United fans have spent much of the World Cup so far swooning over the game-changing tactical smarts of their soon to be string-puller Louis van Gaal.
Like Biff Tannen with his copy of Gray’s Sports Almanac in Back To The Future II, he’s looked like a man with all the answers.
Whether it’s slithering between 4-4-2, 3-5-2 and 3-4-3 to victorious effect or unleashing goalscoring substitutes Leroy Fer, Memphis Depay and Klaas Jan Huntelaar, his punts have invariably copped.
Against Costa Rica he pulled off his most kooky tweak yet, bamboozling Los Ticos by bringing on Tim Krul for his first minutes of the tournament in the penalty shootout.
The ‘Iron Tulip’ has observers the world over, not least in Argentina, wondering “what next Louis, what next?”
Over to the news.bwin.com/en/ telepathy department…
Locking up the premises by employing an auxiliary goalkeeper.
What better way to keep the Albiceleste at bay while simultaneously quelling any dissent from Jasper Cillessen than to use Krul in tandem with, rather than instead of the first-choice stopper?
Having the entire team shave their heads at half-time to make Arjen Robben harder to mark.
Like that famous scene in Total Recall when multiple Arnold Schwarzeneggers appear to flummox his pursuers, the effect of multiple Robbens could give the man himself carte blanche to wreak havoc unfettered.
Heaping pressure on the Argentina defence by bringing back the classic ‘Pyramid’ or 2-3-5 formation.
No whistle-stop tour through the history of tactics is complete without the naively gung-ho one that got the ball rolling.
Playing Dirk Kuyt as a striker.
No one will expect that, least of all the 2004/05 Eredivisie top-scorer turned wing-back.
Coming out like caged tigers in search of their stolen stripes in the first half.
The coup de grace of a tournament-long tease, having studiously failed to lead any of their five outings in Brazil at the interval, the last thing Alejandro Sabella will expect is the Oranje being at the races from the get-go.
Van Gaal’s charges are 11/10 outsiders to qualify for the final.