It’s not just Netherlands fans that should be ecstatic about Louis van Gaal’s 3-4-1-2 master plan, the formation that led to the desolation of the Spanish.
Two wins from as many World Cup matches and eight goals scored, Manchester United supporters are surely hoping their inbound boss incorporates this left-field tactic at Old Trafford.
A trio of centre-halves ensure defensive solidity and a pair of marauding wing-backs offer width.
Two holding midfielders operate a one-sit, one-go situation, providing cover for the advancing wide men, ensuring de Oranje aren’t exposed to counter attacks, as well as bolstering their own surges forward.
Their work with the fire extinguisher frees up a playmaker to poke whatever holes he can in the opponents’ backline for two pacey technicians to work the wrecking ball up top.
Scrawling the finer details of this system on the Red Devils’ tactics board should be a top priority for Van Gaal on his first day at the office and, while new signings are an inevitability, here’s how the current crop look should the Dutchman deploy this strategy:
Departures of veteran duo Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have left the 20-time English champions short in this department, but they do have a strong triumvirate of stoppers who would provide balance across a three-man backline.
Occasional full-back Chris Smalling would be stationed stage right, with left-pegger Jonny Evans on the opposite side, leaving the gurnmeister himself, Phil Jones, to marshal proceedings from the middle.
There are few better suited to a wing-back role than versatile Antonio Valencia, who makes the Energizer Bunny look something of a salad dodger, while influential Patrice Evra offers speed down the left.
Michael Carrick would be the disciplinarian in the anchorman role, complimented by roughhousing Marouane Fellaini, whose threat in the opposition box makes him the ideal candidate to make lung-bursting charges from deep.
You won’t catch Juan Mata halting many advancing opponents, but his nous on the ball makes him the ideal playmaking locksmith at the apex of a midfield triangle.
Three goals in two World Cup outings says all there is to be said regarding how this strategy suits Robin van Persie, while Wayne Rooney is both the technician and willing runner to compliment the Dutch star’s abilities.