Smith: How the Socceroos can defeat the Dutch

Former AIS head coach and Perth Glory boss Ron Smith believes the Socceroos must be alert during set plays against the Netherlands and should aim to use quick counter attacks.

Smith, who has served several different coaching roles with the Socceroos in the past, said Australia’s game plan against Chile was effective.

“I was surprised that Chile lost their control on the game after going 2-0 up and gobsmacked at the way Spain collapsed after a solid opening 30 minutes,” Smith said.

“I thought (our) lads played to the game plan and did very well especially after going 2-0 down after 15 minutes.

“I thought Chile started exceptionally well and then took their foot off the pedal, which helped us consolidate and get into the game.

“Our goal unsettled them and we grew in confidence.

“Our game plan worked very well because Chile tried to play through the centre a lot and lost possession quite often - that allowed us to counter which we did quite well.

“I thought Matthew Leckie had his best game for Australia.”

Smith, who most recently was coaching Pahang FA in Malaysia, said the match against the Dutch will be another major challenge.

“Holland will be more predictable than Chile and I think we'll do well against them,” he said.

“I don't think Holland will dominate in the final third with numbers like Chile but will be more dangerous on the break, particularly through (Arjen) Robben.

Holland are a big team and have scored a lot from set plays so we have to be careful challenging for the ball in our back third.

“I don't think we should change the way we play, but try to keep Holland in their half as much as possible.

“We have to expect intensive pressing by Holland in the midfield and that's where we have to be careful, maybe playing down the flanks and switching a bit more rather than going central. 

“I don't think we will get as much joy in the air against the Dutch as we did against Chile so the quick counters will be our best chance to score.

“The danger for us in trying to win the ball in midfield is the potential for more yellow cards and Millsy (Mark Milligan)and Mile (Jedinak) both being suspended against Spain.”

Smith lamented the loss of Ivan Franjic, and said leaving Luke Wilkshire out of the World Cup squad may come back to haunt the Socceroos.

“It's a real blow for Ivan to be ruled out for the rest of the World Cup and the decision not to select Luke Wilkshire may be the biggest regret in the wash up,” he said.

“Only Ange knows the reasons for leaving Luke out and that's his business, but from afar it is hard to understand I have to admit.

“Luke Wilkshire bleeds green and gold, has experience and versatility and is still playing in Europe, so obviously there are other factors that have come in to play that are private.

“That's football and group dynamics.

“I know it's a cliche but each game at the World Cup has to be taken one step at a time and that's why the coach needs depth in the squad that can be called on.

“Injuries, suspensions and  red cards are all potential events that can change the nature of the game in a few moments.

“These factors and the fact that teams have to win games to progress make it a totally different competition from league football and more exciting.”