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Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Player Profile: Virgil van Dijk

Were it possible to go back to 2015, when Virgil van Dijk left Glasgow Celtic for Southampton, every club in Europe would admit their mistake. The defender, seen as ‘too good for Scotland, not good enough for the top’ made a move to Southampton for around £11m. After two years in Glasgow where he looked like he’d outgrown the league on debut, he made the move to England and continued his development.

However, van Dijk was earmarked for major success as early as his youth days with FC Groningen. There, he made a huge impression and moved to Glasgow after the regular Dutch giants turned their nose up at him.

Assured on the ball and built with absolute confidence, van Dijk brings an air of calm that many modern defenders. Exceptional in the air, strong, quick and capable of handling any forward, the Dutchman has rightfully been elevated to a worldwide status. Despite having just 16 caps for a mediocre Holland side at 26 years of age, it would be fair to say that the Breda-born star was overlooked by both Dutch clubs and the Oranje for too long.

Now an established defender for Liverpool, following a protracted and chaotic move that could be worth £75m, van Dijk has become a major part of the future at Anfield. With such a massive pricetag, he’ll be expected to live up to heightened expectations – however, an inner zeal and self-belief that’s hard to break could see him easily achieve his aims.

The 6’4” defender is a regular goal scorer, and has often been one of the most impressive players in his position ever since he arrived in the UK with Celtic. Snobbery aside, some clubs might wish they’d paid the relative pittance that Southampton paid for the Dutch international! 
 
Were it possible to go back to 2015, when Virgil van Dijk left Glasgow Celtic for Southampton, every club in Europe would admit their mistake. The defender, seen as ‘too good for Scotland, not good enough for the top’ made a move to Southampton for around £11m. After two years in Glasgow where he looked like he’d outgrown the league on debut, he made the move to England and continued his development.

However, van Dijk was earmarked for major success as early as his youth days with FC Groningen. There, he made a huge impression and moved to Glasgow after the regular Dutch giants turned their nose up at him.

Assured on the ball and built with absolute confidence, van Dijk brings an air of calm that many modern defenders. Exceptional in the air, strong, quick and capable of handling any forward, the Dutchman has rightfully been elevated to a worldwide status. Despite having just 16 caps for a mediocre Holland side at 26 years of age, it would be fair to say that the Breda-born star was overlooked by both Dutch clubs and the Oranje for too long.

Now an established defender for Liverpool, following a protracted and chaotic move that could be worth £75m, van Dijk has become a major part of the future at Anfield. With such a massive pricetag, he’ll be expected to live up to heightened expectations – however, an inner zeal and self-belief that’s hard to break could see him easily achieve his aims.

The 6’4” defender is a regular goal scorer, and has often been one of the most impressive players in his position ever since he arrived in the UK with Celtic. Snobbery aside, some clubs might wish they’d paid the relative pittance that Southampton paid for the Dutch international!

Thursday, 5 July 2018

World Cup: Brazil vs Belgium

This tie is one of the most interesting of the FIFA World Cup so far: the old guard versus the new pretender. Seen as among the top European sides for the last six or seven years, it’s time for Belgium to make good on their wonderful collection of talent. Can they?


Brazil News
Brazil come into this one after a relatively easy 2-0 win over Mexico in the First Knockout Round. They played quite well, but Mexico looked overly daunted to begin with. For Brazil, we’re expecting to see 2-goal Roberto Firmino come in up-top. He was fantastic for Liverpool at club level, and the form-less Gabriel Jesus needs a rest.

Despite the fact that Casemiro joins Douglas Costa, Paulinho and Danilo as likely missing members, Brazil can come into the tie knowing they have more or less everything at their disposal to win.


Belgium News
The Red Devils are more or less free from any concerns. While Vincent Kompany might miss out again due to fitness and a lack of rest from the last game, we could see Belgium line up with Dedryck Boyata at the back.

Up top, we can expect Romelu Lukaku to continue, with Dries Mertens and Eden Hazard sitting just off him. Axel Witsel and Kevin de Bruyne will run the middle of the pitch, with Nacer Chadli and Thomas Meunier offering pace on the flanks.

It’s a very interesting Belgium side, which should pose threats to the attack-happy full-backs of the Brazil side.


Verdict

Brazil to win but not by much. Tournament experience is something that both sides have a fair amount of, but Brazil just feel like they have a bit more to themselves compared to Belgium. While we expect an excellent match-up, we think Brazil will come out on top come the end.