5-3-2 could undo Spain – Robben

The winger believes the Oranje’s tactical shift may be the perfect solution to halting the world and European champions

Arjen Robben says the Netherlands have bought into Louis van Gaal’s new-look 5-3-2 system and believes it could well be the perfect formation to defeat Spain in the World Cup opener on Friday.

The Oranje are famous for their playing 4-3-3 but the 2-0 defeat to France in March prompted a change of thinking amongst the staff and players after they were overrun in that loss.

Van Gaal has since settled on a 5-3-2 system and Robben says the squad are all behind the new approach and dismissed fears it could compromise their attacking instincts.

He told De Telegraaf: “After the France match, I thought long and hard and talked it over with other players. We spent two hours discussing what was best for the team.

The coach came up with the idea of playing 5-3-2 and I bought into it. We’ve always been on board with the Dutch school and intricate football and I believe our strengths still lie in positional play and going forward, but we mustn’t be too open.”

Reigning world and European champions Spain are Netherlands’ first Group B opponents of World Cup 2014 on Friday and Robben believes their tactical shift could prove key.

“We were overrun by France and we knew we would have to be mindful of that against Spain, because otherwise we would have a problem,” he added.

“If we leave big gaps against Spain we will be in trouble. We mustn’t give it away at the back and we have enough training days to ensure the team stay together as a unit.

“We are working really hard on it, including using videos.” 

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