The only BIG conclusion that could be drawn after only 4 games in Euro 2012 is that Russia are playing better “DutchBall” than the Dutch themselves.
Andrey Arshavin and co are playing a cohesive, flexible, technique based 4-3-3 – much like the Dutch like to play.
And it’s not very surprising.
Vitaly Mutko, the strongest man in Russian sport, wanted the Russians to copy the Dutch blueprint for success and he brought Guus Hiddink and Dick Advocaat, two very experienced Dutch coaches, to pass on their information to the national football set-up. Roman Abramovich, who is investing heavily in Russia’s football infrastructure is also a big fan of Dutch football and has surrounded himself by Dutch advisers.
So the information of how to play like the Dutch was there for Russia. Now, they needed to find the right players from a population of 141,750,000 to play that kind of game – a considerably easy task if you take into account that the Dutch found these sort of players in a population of 16,847,007.
Add to that a growing middle class, a local league that is getting stronger (the percentage of active internationals in the Russian league stand at 28.6% - a greater proportion than in France, Italy, and Spain) and an absolutely awesome national anthem, and you get one scary football nation.