In this week’s Then and Now feature Soccer Laduma compares the performances of Wesley Sneijder at the 2010 World Cup to what we can expect of him in Brazil.
The Dutch number 10 had an outstanding tournament in South Africa and was one of the pillars behind his country’s road to the final.
He won the Man of the Match award in the first two matches, the 2-0 victory over Denmark as well as the 1-0 victory over Japan in which he scored the winning goal.
Netherlands also won their final group match 2-1 over Cameroon and finished on top of their group. In the 2-1 last-16 victory over Slovakia he again made the score-sheet by scoring the second goal.
Arguably his best game came in the quarter-final against Brazil when he again won the Man of the Match award. He scored both goals in the 2-1 victory over the South Americans, the second goal being the first header of his career.
In the semi-final against Uruguay, Sneijder scored in the 70th minute and the Dutch won the game 3-2 taking his country to the third final in its history.
In the World Cup final, however, he couldn’t prevent his the Netherlands from losing 1-0 to Spain after extra-time.
For his performances during the tournament he won the Silver Ball as the second best player behind Diego Forlan as well as the Bronze Boot.
Sneijder had scored five goals, as many as Thomas Mueller and David Silva, but because the German had three assists and Silva played less minutes he finished third ahead of Diego Forlan (who also scored five goals but played more minutes than Sneijder).
In the 2014 World Cup qualification campaign, the Netherlands won nine games and drew one, topping their group and earning automatic qualification. They were drawn into group B with Spain, Australia and Chile.
On club level, Sneijder won three trophies in 2010, the Champions League, the Coppa Italia and the Seria A. He won’t repeat this success with Galatasaray this year, whom he joined in January 2013, but was again the Man of the Match in Turkish Cup final after scoring the only goal.
Do you think the 29-year-old can guide a young Netherlands squad to a successful tournament in Brazil? Have your say in the comment section below.