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Van Gaal and Van Persie Batter World and European Champions

Robin+Van+Persie+Spain+v+Netherlands+Group+8nE3viQRUmMlHolland thrashed Spain 5-1 in their opening World Cup game this evening, with our Robin van Persie scoring two of the goals.

Spain won the European Championship in 2012, the World Cup in 2010, and the Euros in 2008. They were on for their fourth major tournament trophy win in a row but their hopes will be massively dented following this evening’s game.

It also increases the likelihood of David de Gea getting some game time in the tournament, after Ilker Casillas was guilty of several howlers. Juan Mata might also get a go now too, given how ineffective Spain were up front and how few chances they created.

Louis van Gaal got his tactics spot on. Time and again the Dutch side attacked with confidence and speed. When you consider that Holland’s superstars are few and far between, and the Spanish team is littered with world class players, it’s a huge achievement for our new manager. When you then try and apply this logic to the Premier League and our current squad, it should fill us with confidence over what he may be capable of when he takes charge at United next season.

Of course, we can’t get too carried away, and it would actually suit us better if Holland didn’t succeed and Van Gaal was allowed to return to Manchester sooner rather than later. But it still is fantastic to see our new manager and probably next captain do so well in their opening game of the World Cup.

Ryan Giggs, who is working as a pundit on South African TV, gave his verdict on Van Gaal.

“What did you expect, he’s a Man United manager.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Tommy says:


    Hes had 2 seasons in the premier league not 8 months, hes a top draw talent, the best full back ive seen at Old Trafford in the last 2 years, Overated? No fucking chance

  2. Tommy says:


    Their trying to entice new customer mate, They offered odds of 2/1 on Brazil to wear yellow shirts against Croatia for new customers, maximum £10 stake easiest £20 I ever made, althougth I was shitting it when they came warmind up in blue, and if Argentina win they will have lost a lot of money, maybe they are expecting a whole new customers but all those I know who took advantage of the Brazil offer, signed up and withdrew the winnings, bizarre move on Corals part.

    On Spain, the way they will look at it is its only 1 gamwe, 3 points lost like against the Swiss 4 years ago be tough to come back, The dutch were impressive, helped by some awful defending but its a game of fine margins, if Silva scores the sitter to make it 2 0, its game over, then RVP scored that fantastic header and the dutch tails were up, Got a feeling Del Bosque will go without a forward now, I wasnt impressed with Costas performance and neither will del bosque, id expect Fabregas to be the furthest forward for the Chile game. Wouldnt be too shocked if he had an extra defensive midfielder in to protect that woeful defence. Never been a Ramos fan, hes a mistake waiting to happen and same with Casias, will Del Bosque be brave and play David? I would if I was him

  3. Tommy says:


    I was saying after the Chile match yesterday that theirs been 14 goals in only 4 matches so far in this tournament but thats when the goals end today. The usually boring Greeks are next and England Italys got 0 0 written all over it, Expect a negative day I am. On a brighter note a mate of mine has put £60 behind the bar in walkabout for about 4 of us for the football today, so the matcgh may be dull but at least I get free beer, happy days

  4. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Tommy, yes wasn’t impressed with Costa at all. I won’t judge him on 60 or 70 minutes though.

    I’m in two minds about Spain. A 5-1 defeat flattered them in the end. It really should have been more, and the lack of pace in their team was badly exposed. They will have a lot of doubts in their minds after that game.

    Agree with you on Ramos. He’s forever getting sent off and caught out. Pique was rubbish last night as well. When Pique moved to Barca they were approaching their peak and he barely had anything to do in his first few season their because of what was I front of him. He was instantly labelled as world class by fans and media alike. Pique is a decent centre back, I have nothing against him. But United were right to let him go for his sake because even at his peak he was no where near the level of Ferdinand or Vidic.

  5. Tommy says:


    I think Piques a good centre half, not quite in the world class catagory but certaintly far better than Ramos. I bet the locals love that, Costa chooses to play for them and they get smashed on Brazilian soil, their not great in the forwards department, Id of took Llorente myself above Torres and Villa. It will be interesting how Del Bosque approaches it, will he make wholesale changes or will he tell them as a group of winners to go oujt and put things right in the next 2 games, tough decisions for Del Bosque to make

  6. Tommy says:


    I think Fabregas will come in for Costa, I think thats a certainty, and then he will have decisions on 1 or 2 others, Can Xavi play 2 games in 4 days at his age? Will he drop Iker? Hes known the real Madrid keeper since he was a kid so trusts him, will he have the guts to play DDG? Tough choices for Del Bosque but hes got a wealth of experience. I find it strange how a keeper who has played 2 league games all season can still be the Spain number 1, OK he plays champions league and cup games, but still it shouldnt really be enough to warrent a start in Del Bosque squad over in inform DDG

  7. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Tommy, Casillas was never one of the worlds top keepers at any stage in his career in my opinion. I’ve seen him drop a vast amount of clambers down the years even before he was dropped by Mourinho. De Gea definitely deserves to be in ahead of him, but I doubt that will happen. Casillas was shit against Atletico in the champions league final as well.

    It’s clear Spain have still got a wealth of talent. But is the same desire still there? Is there a touch of complacency amongst them? Can their midfield make up for a clear lack of fire power up front? Are the likes of Iniesta, Xavi and Alonso on the slide as brilliant as they have been in the past?

    I think there is serious question marks against Spain. Losing 1-0 to Switzerland was one thing, but to get thrashed out of sight in the manner that they did is different altogether. It would be an amazing achievement to come back and win the World Cup after an opening game like that.

    France were world and European champions going into Japan and South Korea in 2002 and still had a wealth of talent, look what happened to them. To win three major tournaments in a row was an unbelievable achievement by Spain, is it too much to ask to win four in a row? On last nights evidence I’d say yes.

  8. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    Surely reports of us paying 27 million pounds isn’t true? It’s got to be less than that. After watching Blind yesterday, it has to get one thinking, is it really worth spending 27 million pounds and possibly 160k a week on a left back just because he’s english?

    I was saying a few weeks back that if Shaw doesn’t work out there’s many left backs out there who will cost much less but can be just as good. I didn’t even really know Daley Blind before watching him in some world cup warm up matches. I was thinking more along the lines of the likes of rodriguez, Coentrao and co. but that Blind kid looks the business and i’m pretty damn sure there’s no way he costs 27 million pounds. Plus he’s versatile. I heard he can also play in defensive midfield and it’s pretty easy to see why with his passing ability. I was very very impressed.

    Whatever we do, one thing is for sure. Whether we get Shaw, Blind or anyone else, We’re getting a VERY GOOD left back next season and FINALLY the left back problem is once and for all solved.

  9. Neil Moore says:

    Ramos is a fucking joke. How many red cards? Is it 18. Clown.

    Hallefuckinglujah finally folk seeing Piqué for the very average player he is. Been saying it for years. As Gary correctly points out he had fuck all defending to do for 4 seasons. Like Mascherano. A fucking defender my arse. As Fergie always said teams have four year cycles. Barca’s is certainly ending looks like Spain’s is too. All these so called replacements like Tello for example from Le Masia just aren’t up to it. Barca were very blessed to have Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets at their peak not to mention obviously Messi.

    Oh I can see a nil nil bore draw but funnily enough I’ve an awful feeling Stevie Me or Sturridge will nick a winner.

  10. Neil Moore says:

    Gary. Said exact same thing about Casillas earlier but I was laughed out the place. I’ve never really rated him.

  11. Mirainashe says:


    I don’t think I can forgive him for it to be honest. And it’s not one thing that SAF has screwed us on, but it’s the most fatalistic. I’m pissed because he didn’t show the club the respect it deserved by making such a half arsed appointment. You can’t tell me he thought long and hard about it because I don’t know, you look at all the managers in the world and no one would have Moyes in their top ten shortlist. So where did he come up with the idea that a consistently average, hater of attacking football like David Moyes was the absolute right man to take United to the next level? I’d take AvB before I even think of Moyes. Doesn’t mean I’ll start hating Ferguson. No. Just won’t cut him any slack for this suicide bombing.

  12. Mirainashe says:

    You know guys, whilst we still in the aftermath of last night’s crazy match, we are getting a little carried away. If people say Casillas is overrated, what does this mean? I honestly don’t get it. Because if you’ve watched the guy for even half of his career, then you’d not doubt he is one of the best goalkeepers of this century. I rate Buffon higher particularly due to his all rounded ability and scary consistency. But when you want to look at the very best keepers of the past decade and a half then Casillas is top 5 all the time and top three most times. I don’t get how that is described as overrated. Otherwise, it means Van Der Sar is also overrated because he also had his bad moments. Then you have Pique. As soon as you get to a low point, all your ability and qualities are relegated to illusions and flattery. Pique did not join Barça when they were at their peak. He joined when Manchester United was the best football team in Europe. Pique,Busquets,Pedro and Pep came in at the same time. They were all part of the genesis of that great Barça team. As important as Messi,Xavi and Iniesta. Just because he had had a few high profile low points, he is overrated. Forget the absolute rock solid defensive performances during the qualifiers. So who then is not overrated? How many high profile disasters have we seen from players like Vidic for instance? I’m just saying, maybe it’s a human default to feel good when the strong fall.

  13. Justin10RvN says:

    just came here to say “I told you so” about the dutch team, too many shit on eredivisie players here while fawning over the portuguese league players and british kids who have matured quicker than their peers.

  14. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Neil, yep I’m with you on Pique. He’s a good footballer and decent centre back at this level, but he was never amongst the worlds best in that position. I’d never have given him a starting place over Ferdinand or Vidic, though that issue slightly harsh on Pique as they were two colossus’s of the game.

    Mirainashe, Cassilas has dropped more clanger a through out his career than you realise. Mourinho dropped him for a good reason and the same for Ancelotti. World class goalkeepers don’t start 2 league games and sit on the bench for the other 36. Did you watch the champions league final? Cassilas was all over the place and he’s brought that form with him to Brazil.

  15. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Casillas is a decent keeper at best, very lucky to be Real’s number 1 as long as he was. It helped he was a golden boy at the club along with the likes of Raul. Mourinho was right to drop him and Ancelotti has followed suit.

  16. Jackie Spain says:

    Did I notice a change in tactics by the Dutch in the 2nd half? In the first half they just hoofed it up and hoped whereas in the 2nd half they ran with the ball at the Spanish. Hope LvG ignores the hoof!

  17. ashtheking says:

    Sorry to Greeks but Greece are the most boring team to watch. I don’t know how they manage to reach the world championship. Need to attack more

  18. Paul davidson says:

    @iamMatty: thanks are point.

  19. Mirainashe says:

    @ Gary

    I’ve watched La Liga,Serie A and EPL almost as much as the other for as long as I can remember. I actually watched the match in which Casillas was “born” replacing the iconic Real Madrid and Spain GK Cesar. I’ve watched him ever since and he has been one of the world’s best and at some point was the undisputed best throughout his career. Even statistically. I’ve also watched Buffon and the best that the EPL has had to offer and Casillas in every season could be mentioned in the same breath as the very best. He has been largely consistent at the highest level for the better part of over a decade. How many keepers apart from Buffon can say that? Not many that’s who. To then condemn the man’s entire career off the back of recent events is a bit over the top. Did you watch the qualifiers? Yes he was dropped by Mourinho after some indifferent form but it’s the same Mourinho who dropped Mata,Chelsea’s best player to a reserves player. You have to consider the absolute rubbish defence he has had to work behind unlike Buffon,Dida,VDS and Cech. RM even in 2002 were rubbish defensively and so he obviously faced significantly more shots than his counterparts. Obviously being dropped by Mourinho was not without effect. First, it means being out of action which affects form, then it also means a significant drop in confidence which is critical for keepers. How exactly do you think VDS ended up playing for West Brom? Some high profile errors. But we can’t then write off his career as overrated.

    Then Pique, who has been a mainstay for both club and country as part of two of the best defences in world football is not to be considered amongst the best defenders because of recent form. Look at the record for Spain since 2009 to date. Barcelona’s defence was also one of the very best and at some point the best between 2008-2012. So who had been a part of a more consistent defence? Between Vidic and Rio Ferdinand I’d go for the latter who actually commits less errors than Vidic. But they truth is they have been at the top between 2007-2011. So else are we judging by. Most of them have been one hit wonders. Pique,Puyol,Terry,Rio,Vidic,Thiago Silva have been the most consistent at the highest level for the past five or so years, which makes them the best over that period.

  20. WeAreUnitedd says:



    people are sometimes so stupid, Casillas overrated? Pique overrated? Buffon overrated.

    Soon enough when Pirlo or someone truly great will make a mistake will be called overrated

    YOU KNOW WHAT? people over here have called Messi overrated and barca too. They have even talked about Zlatan being overrated, so don’t take it too seriously when we talk about great players, because people somehow manage to be delusional when players make errors.


  21. ashtheking says:

    One game doesn’t make Casillas a bad keeper. He may not be the best but for sure not overrated.

    Rooney is really having a good game. Now all he needs is to get the goal and kick start his World Cup campaign. Rooney may not be a Ronaldo or messi but he is a top player. He made that pass look so simple. Also special kudos to welbeck, the man links really well. With Uruguay losing their game a draw could be dangerous for both Italy and England.

  22. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Casillas is over rated. The exact reason why he’s sat on Real Madrid’s bench for 2 years. Poor decision making, not tall enough, not strong enough, poor on crosses. He was good when he started, but he’s lived of his reputation for far too long.

  23. Justin10RvN says:

    ….I think Pique is overrated, not because of any one mistake per se, he just doesn’t fill me with confidence, especially without Puyol beside him. When I see a player run at Pique I half expect the player to score, the good thing for Pique and either Casillas or whoever Barca throws in goal is that the midfielders in front of him only give up the ball once every hour so he doesn’t have to defend to often. Casillas on the other hand is a damn good keeper, best? Maybe for a year or so, he isn’t the keeper he used to be so saying he’s overrated could be argued for but lets not pretend the guy isn’t still a top keeper and has been for a decade.

    Flame away friends!!


    I didn’t see a good game for Roo, the cross was inch perfect, but what else? He let Candreva and Darmian do whatever they wanted the entire first half. He got worse attacking as the game went on, he found a good space once in the second half and drug the shot wide, not really a good game for someone who see’s himself as among the best imo.

  24. John says:

    Pique is a good defender, a step below defenders like Vidic, Ferdinand and Puyol but a good central defender nonetheless. His maximum is a step below the level of Vidic imho.

    Casillas is someone in the stature of Van Der Saar, a level below Buffon. I am not comparing attributes of Casillas with Super Van but just the stature. He is bit out of form atm but that’s mostly psychological that happens to almost every player in this world. And that doesn’t mean his past is erased or he is finished as esp GK can play till around 40 yrs of age.

    If I am not wrong Casillas was a GK we used to get linked with before Van Der Saar and quite frankly most of us wished him to sign for us. There is no doubt he is a class player and class professional. He might be better retiring from national team and concentrating on club imo.

    The most overrated thing in football world is England national team. It’s just media hype! Let these media be focused to Argentina for example then I think Carlos Tevez would have made 5 times the Wayne Rooney but it isn’t so it’s all overrated. There are good players as well but they are 3 level below what media makes us believe to be or what those deluded players of that island believe to be.

    The thing with England is, they have good players (not what they are in media, just good) but for the love of God they simply can’t show natural comfort with the ball when surrounded by couple of opponent players.

    The coaching set up of England national team reminds me of Moyes era! Roy Hodgson, I mean, c’mon why the fuck he is given the job????????!!!!!! Roy Hodgson and Gary Neville??!! :D :D

    Gary Neville can be a good man-manager and is a good pundit but technically and tactically as well as when it comes to neoptic/ biased crucial judgments, that guy is also not good enough in my view. Now, just a view on his “present” nothing to do with his past or in future, Gary Neville is just NOT good enough to be coach or a manager although he can sweet talk in skysports.

    Favouritism, neoptism, biased attitude, resistance to change etc etc are closed minded stuffs, derailing football progress in England.

    They chose Roy Hodgson like moyes was chosen by fergie! And, youth job was given to Stuart Pierce/ psycho I think, say no more. :)

  25. John says:

    The fundamental factor is perception in England from what little I know. People there seem to believe that there are not enough British managers or coaches because they are not given chance or trusted like foreigners. They moan and moan as if some aliens are stealing their bonafide jobs!

    The best thing English clubs can do to help national team is sending youngsters in loan to good club in other leagues instead of Championship. Same stuff with coaches as well, clement with Ancelloti is a good example. Just share and learn. Give and take!

    The arrogance of people there esp fucking knights or “sirs” ( people at decision making position) is such that they have just stalled the progress of football in England. I doubt the way England used to play 25 years ago and now is any different! I
    Playing style to type of players, name varies but style is constant and the style is they just don’t seem to love the ball like Latin players and most nowadays in Europe do.

  26. John says:

    Not to mention the obvious tactical weaknesses!!

  27. John says:

    The post match interview of Roy Hodgson reminds me of moyes. He seems to be happy to lose with heads held high in other words a honourable defeat. That should be ok occassionally not the level of satisfaction!

    Why on earth he can’t drop one of Sturridge or Rooney and have to adjust both sacrificing a better player on his natural position?

  28. ashtheking says:


    Harsh on Rooney mate. Yes he should have scored but I thought the way he was spreading passes was good to see in England shirt. Note this is not his best but I have never seen Rooney play even like this for England in major tournament .

    Now tell me what was the great captain doing. Gerrard again had a quite day but he will get a free pass. I sometimes feel he is the real problem. Offers nothing.

  29. Justin10RvN says:


    agree on Gerrard, he’s been a passenger on any squad he’s been apart of for the last half decade. I chuckle every time I see him TRY to spread the ball around like a Pirlo or Scholes, half his passes look like a man with 2 left feet hit them, but god forbid he get one diagonal on target because as soon as that happens commentators decide to talk about nothing but that one pass Gerrard hit in the 8th minute regardless of whether his team is being smashed, it annoys the fuck out of me haha.

  30. ashtheking says:


    Exactly. Gerrard being a captain must do more. Look at other country’s captain. Rvp, pirlo, zidane in his days, . The point is gerrard is alwaysa. Overrated player but their fans won’t accept that. They think he is the best, he is their pirlo, he is better than scholes. All this bull shit is costing them.

    As far Rooney goes, when he got criticsm in 2010 I agreed with people as he was shit but yesterday he was good. He played out of position yet he was spreading passes better than gerrard. I hate this hypocrisy and it’s because of these reasons I hope England win fuck all.

  31. Paul davidson says:

    @John: pls, give it to them. Your analysis is way too. Perfect. Thumbs up, bro

  32. Tommy says:

    @dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT

    Lets get one thing straight, Luke Shaw wouldnt be signing because hes english, so please stop this nonsence

  33. Tommy says:


    In fairness mate, I like Pique I think hes a decent centre half, nothing sprcial though, I wouldnt mention Spains defensive record, I could be playing at the back but if the opponents dont have the ball youre not going to concede, thats why they never conceded because of that midfield and not because of Pique, Romos or the over rated Casias. Hes always had high profile clangers through out his career and id sugest he stayed their number one for so long because he is pretty much mr Real Madrid and managers never had the bottle to drop him, same as with raul, in his prime a top player but he was hanging on at Madrid in his last 2 years because of who he is.

  34. Tommy says:


    You just have to look at how weak he was when challenging RVP for the ball, a good goal keeper in his prime which is what he should be would never have made that error. thats what DDG was doing when he first came o England and youd expect that from a young keeper but a man of Ikers experience simply awful, going ddown expecting a free kick give me a break

  35. Neil Moore says:

    Ha. Casillas isn’t in Edwin’s league. Edwin was calmness personified and never flapped. As Gary said he’s Madrids poster boy. Oh and I will say Zlatan is over rated because he fucking is. Turns up when he can be arsed.


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