Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Kuyt, the modern total footballer
July 11th, 2010 2:22AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  netherlands, world cup

MOST COMMENTED

[UNDER THE MICROSCOPE] He scored only three goals in 31 matches for Liverpool this season, and has just one at the World Cup, but Dirk Kuyt, who turns 30 next week, is a key component of the Dutch attack that faces a tough Spanish defense in the World Cup final.

Kuyt espouses confidence that only one game plan can prevail against Spain: Do whatever Germany didn’t do, and do it as often as possible.

“You could see the Germans were afraid of Spain,” said Kuyt of the 1-0 Spanish semifinal win. “They didn't try to attack. We are going to attack and then you will see weaknesses coming to the surface. If you play like the Germans, you are definitely going to lose.”

Insistent attack suits Kuyt’s personality. He’s been a formidable presence for the Dutch, though not as spectacular as midfield catalyst Wesley Sneijder or mercurial winger Arjen Robben.

He played on the right side of midfield in the group phase as Robben recovered from a hamstring injury, then shifted over to the left, where his persistent challenges and brazen dribbles have blunted the likes of Brazilian right back Maicon as the Dutch have won all six of their games.

He’s a forward who can harass and tackle like a defensive mid, or get to the line and hit a cross as a traditional winger, or go up and fight for head balls as would a defender. Normally, Robin van Persie lines up in the middle between Kuyt and Robben, yet when van Persie goes wide or drops back, Kuyt can play effectively as a striker. His runs across defenders are a key element in freeing up Sneijder to thread passes or find shots.

He’s also unlike Rafael Van der Vaart, a skilled attacker some would prefer to Kuyt in midfield. Coach Bert Van Marwijk, who deploys Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel as primarily defensive mids, wants his bite and desire on that flank so the other two can keep the center secure. He also needs Kuyt to lead by example.

“He always gives everyone a signal how it should be done,” said van Marwijk. “And his impact and enthusiasm is very infectious. He is incredibly important.”

In the 1970’s, the Netherlands mesmerized the world with its whirling, stylish Total Football. In Kuyt, the Dutch have someone very close to the Total Team Player.

“The way he fights in this team, his workload rubs off on all the other players,” said captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who as a 35-year-old left back greatly appreciates the range and effort of the man in front of him.

Sneijder headed the winner of a 2-1 quarterfinal triumph over Brazil on a corner kick flicked to him by Kuyt, who beat Luis Fabiano to the ball at the near post and glanced it off the top of his head for Sneijder to stick into the net. Kuyt’s role in that goal sums up his value to the Dutch team; when he’s involved, good things often happen.

In the round of 16, Kuyt ran down a quickly taken throw-in and nodded the ball past Slovakian keeper Jan Mucha, then waited patiently on the left side of the penalty area for help to arrive. When it did, a neat square ball to Sneijder set up the clinching goal.

Kuyt had taken just 11 shots yet five have been on-frame. His only goal came in the opening match against Denmark, when he followed up an Eljero Eliashot off the post. Elia came into the match a sub to spark the left flank, as Kuyt had been deployed on the right in Robben’s absence.

If he’s not pressuring the back line with a determined diagonal run, strong aerial challenge, or forceful dribble, Kuyt is closing down an opponent with the ball or cutting off space. His anticipated duel with the Spanish right back Sergio Ramos will be one of the final’s fascinating subplots, especially if he can emulate one of Germany’s few successes, that of getting Lukas Podolski and substitute left back Marcell Jansen behind Ramos in the second half.

Kuyt will also be asked to help out defensively on a midfielder, perhaps Andres Iniesta, Xavi or Pedro, depending on the flow of Spain’s attack, and win balls in the air on set plays.

There will be sexier, more elegant personalities to peruse during this match, but none will be more committed than the bustling, blond pest of moderate talent yet boundless desire.



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Vicente Del Bosque    
"I have no intention to remain as coach. No matter what the result of the Euros, ...
What They're Saying: Yura Movsisyan    
"I could never repay what they did for me." -- Yura Movsisyan, on Tony Beltran's family, ...
MLS Rookie Watch: Harrison joins race    
Jack Harrison, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, has solidified a starting job ...
U.S. Abroad: Rodriguez moves to Chemnitzer FC    
U.S. U-23 forward Mario Rodriguez, who spent three seasons in the German Regionalliga with Borussia Moenchengladbach ...
MLS Moves: Timbers loan out Asprilla to Colombian club    
Portland's wait for Dairon Asprilla to light up MLS is over. The Timbers announced Thursday a ...
MLS Countdown: NYCFC sharp heading into derby rematch    
Six weeks after the Red Bulls stampeded New York City FC, 7-0, in the first Hudson ...
Euro 2016: Results & schedule    
Belgium will play Wales in the Euro 2016 quarterfinals on Friday. The Red Devils will be ...
Video Pick: The Bundesliga's 10 Strangest Goals    
The folks at the Bundesliga took advantage of the offseason to compile last season's Top 10 ...
Datebook: USA headed to Cuba for friendly in October    
The U.S. men's national team will play a friendly game in Cuba for the first time ...
What They're Saying: Errea export manager Fabrizio Taddei    
"We are working 24/7 with a night shift and so we are every day sending out ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives