Switzerland vs Holland

Holland’s system of play was a 343 diamond system, which utilized short build up play to move the ball into the inside channels of the midfield, and then penetrative passes were played into the striker or wingers depending on where the opposition back line moved to.

Bogarde & Reiziger were positioned higher up the field in this match, stretching the spaces for the center back to play forward, and would also give them the opportunity to provide width like a traditional full back on the overlap.

Cryuff would move over to the right wing in this match yet remained comfortable moving inside or outside due to his balance with both feet. Hoekstra played more of a traditional winger role, attacking the outside and crossing from the end line.

Seedorf moved to the base of the diamond and would drop back further into the defensive line during periods of build up, which allowed him more time and space to play forward passes.

Bergkamp continued to show good movement as the central striker, quite often pulling into wide areas and attacking the space to find crosses like a winger. De Boer complimented these movements well by attacking the box like a traditional number 9.

Holland Starting X1

Switzerland began with a high narrow front three, which attempted to expose any spaces Holland would vacate during periods of transition. Grassi utilized as a target man would link with Turyilmaz and Chapuisat who operated between the lines but could also attack the wide spaces like a winger.

Switzerlands midfield was very compact defensively, attempting to prevent central passes into the striker behind them, all with the view to transitioning forward at pace. Vogel best illustrated these movements, a true box to box player.

Switzerland full backs offered support from deep but were very rarely found in an attacking position during open play.

Switzerland Starting X1


Value of Chances

xG Timeline:
The first twenty minutes of the match brought very little attack play, as both sides were adapting to each other’s tactical set up. Holland would move their attacking focus to the flanks, and as such began to find a clearer route to goal after 20 minutes. For the remainder of the match Holland were far more consistent in their attack play, which finally brought them a goal and the separation in timelines that best illustrates the shift in dominance in the match.

While Switzerland had less of the ball they continued to look a threat on the counter, and despite recording less attacks would find themselves in the middle of a close encounter for the 1st hour of the match. Cruyff’s opener would signal the start of Holland’s dominance and the Bergkamp winner in the 79th minute would eventually kill things off as a contest.

Chance Quality:
Holland’s style is to break teams down with their build up play and progressive possession, but quite often when that happens the opponent, as was the case in their last match with Scotland, will simply back off and block spaces in which to create chances. Holland overcame this against Switzerland by creating a nice variety of chance creation, attacking different parts of the final third which would culminate in an above average expected goals on target score.

Despite one chance in the second half the overall value of Switzerland’s attack play was fairly low. They did manage to balance their defensive and offensive responsibilities well in the match, creating 10 attacks overall in a game they had to defend for in large periods, they just weren’t able to fashion enough chances to establish themselves as a major threat in the game.

Type of Chances Created

While Holland continue to use build up play to create most of their attacks, it was in moments of transition that they did their best work today. From their 10 build up play attacks only 3 would land on target, whereas from their 6 counter attacks 4 would land on target, one of which resulting in Bergkamp’s goal in 79 minutes. For a team who have lots of possession one stat they wont be happy with, and will certainly look to rectify, is how many of their attacks on target come from their own creation. Holland would have 8 chances on target from a possible 19, with only 4 of them coming from a key pass (Assisting an attack regardless of the outcome). Breaking this down further we can see that through their preferred route of chance creation, wing play, we’d see 4 crosses that created an attack, yet all of them would miss the target completely. The set pass remains Holland’s most creative movement, typically used in a combination move centrally, as three attacks would come from this and two would hit the target.

Unsurprisingly Switzerland continue to do their best work on the counter attack, with two of their three counter attacks landing with an attack on target. Out with this area of their chance creation Switzerland failed to create enough for their front three in the match, nor were they able to create enough transitions through their pressing to really hurt Holland.

Where Chances are Created

Hollands frequency of attacks inside the box continues to impress, with them registering 11 of their 19 attacks from inside the 18 yard box. They’d also continue with a healthy amount of attacks inside the “Golden Zone” (Central area of the 18 yard box), however the major difference from the first game was the amount of chances on target inside the golden zone would double, albeit two of these attacks came in the same move (Bergkamp’s winner) in this game. Holland’s first goal would return a low probability, so while they will be delighted to have scored two in the match the outcome doesn’t represent how well they did in front of goal, as it could have easily returned more. 60% of their expected goals came from attacks that were on target, and 92% of their expected goals came from open play, both of which illustrate that Holland’s attack play is working well and they have improved from the opening game significantly.

Switzerland will be disappointed that two of their best chances missed the target completely, both of which were their sole chances inside the golden zone. Returning 0.76 xG from 10 attacks on goal isnt the end of the world, however they will be disappointed that they couldn’t make better use of their chances inside the 18 and have worked Van der Sar more frequently. 22% of their xG came from attempts on target, which in any game is a stretch to expect a positive outcome from.

Who Created Chances

Holland’s best statistical attacker by some distance was Dennis Bergkamp. He would have 8 attacks of his own, 5 of which were on target, returning the winning goal and an expected goals rating of 0.78. He would also create 2 attacks for his teammates, one of which would result in a chance on target.

Switzerland’s best statistical attacker was again Kubilay Turkyilmaz. He was involved in 4 of Switzerland’s 10 attacks, and would return an expected goals score of 0.22. The variety in attack play he offers his team is the most dynamic & threatening they have, so he will play an important role in their search for a win in the final game.

Match Predictor

Using our very own Retro Football Analysis Match Simulator, we use the probability rating of each attack to calculate the odds of the matches outcome. Here are the results we got back.

Our verdict:

Holland were convincing winners in the end, and the stats certainly back that up. Probably more damning for Switzerland is the predictor showing us a draw was almost twice as likely to happen as a Switzerland win, which should give them food for thought in how they set up their game plan for the final group game with Scotland.

About the Author

Picture of Alistair Bain

Alistair Bain

Alistair is a native of Hamilton, Scotland, and an A License qualified coach with vast experience in the football industry. Currently residing in Charlotte, North Carolina, Alistair's resume includes a variety of roles within football clubs in Scotland, England, and the United States.

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