5 July 2014 04:44
Former Netherlands international Edgar Davids questioned the widespread praise of Brazil 2014, claiming the tournament is “a bit mediocre”.
This year’s FIFA World Cup has been hailed as one of the best editions in recent memory with plenty of comebacks, goals and high-tempo contests.
The group stage finished with 136 goals, more than any of the four previous tournaments, while only nine of the first-round games ended in a draw.
The round of 16 and quarter-finals have also included plenty of drama – if not so much free-flowing football – with two penalty shootouts, late goals and some unbelievable goalkeeping.
Despite that, Davids has not been impressed by the level of football.
“I think it’s a bit mediocre but nevertheless exciting. I do not think it’s a super high level and there are no real favourites,” the 41-year-old told BNR Radio on Friday.
Davids also questioned Netherlands’ performance so far in Brazil, despite the fact Louis van Gaal’s team have won all four matches.
The Dutch have received some criticism at home for playing a 5-3-2 formation and focusing on counter-attacking football.
“When you see them against Mexico in the first half, do you think they’re still in the dressing room?” Davids said.
“But let’s be honest, they do not play well. Wesley Sneijder for example, who is used to standing very close to the goal, he now needs to do a lot of defending.”
Sneijder scored five goals at the World Cup in South Africa four years ago as Netherlands made the final but the attacking midfielder has only hit the back of the net once in Brazil.
With Van Gaal happy to see his team use long passes and diagonal balls to move the ball quickly, Sneijder has often been bypassed in midfield but the 30-year-old does not care if it means he can help Netherlands win their maiden world title.
“You need discipline to perform … I do not give a damn about what the world expect of me,” the Galatasaray man said.
“I want to be world champion.”
Netherlands’ next match will be against Costa Rica in the quarter-finals.