Although there was no Englishman representing Aston Villa in Brazil, we still have a claret and blue contingent competing at this year’s World Cup. With a trio of Villa players representing their national sides, what might this mean for the Villans next season?
Ron Vlaar has been solid in Brazil. Hailed as Holland’s best defender by many pundits, he has been quite consistent considering the last two seasons he has endured at Villa Park. These performances reignited rumours than Louis Van Gaal wants to take Vlaar to Old Trafford with him and sparked new rumours that clubs like QPR are interested in the man nicknamed ‘Concrete Ron’. It would be hugely disappointing if we lost our captain to Harry Redknapp’s newly promoted side but it wouldn’t necessarily surprise me.
Against the World Champions of 2010, Spain, Vlaar never looked like he would be beaten. He kept Diego Costa in his pocket and had no issues dealing with Fernando Torres. In fact, Torres went down in the box after a Vlaar challenge and made himself look rather foolish. This performance by Vlaar (and some confused commentary) led to many Villa fans tweeting about ‘#Roncrete’.
His second game saw Vlaar put in another good performance, this time in a win against Australia. Although the Dutch shipped a couple of goals, the Aston Villa man was not at fault for either of them.
In the final game of the group stages, Vlaar and the Dutch defence kept a very good clean sheet, which reflected a combination of good defending and shoddy attacking.
Vlaar and The Netherlands’ next game is against Mexico. It will be a challenge for the Dutch defence, with Javier Hernandez, Oribe Peralta and Raul Jiminez posing the biggest possible threat for the ‘Oranje wall’. It promises to be an exciting game. Let’s just hope Ron can do his nation proud before continuing his form in B6 next season.
New signing Philippe Senderos has experienced an indifferent World Cup. The new man has made just one appearance, coming on as a ninth minute substitute in the game against France. No defender will look good when a team ships five goals and Senderos was no different on this occasion. Despite the poor performance, the Swiss are through to the second round and our first signing of the summer is the second Villa player still involved in the 2014 World Cup.
Finally, Brad Guzan is still in the tournament, without the American having kicked a competitive ball. The USA stopper has been playing second fiddle to the reliable Tim Howard, who’s favoured by the team’s coach, Jurgen Klinsmann. The Americans got through a tough group ahead of Portugal and will play Belgium on Tuesday in a game that promises excitement.
We can hope that Phillipe Senderos and Brad Guzan get some time on the pitch before the tournament ends for their respective countries and that our captain, Ron Vlaar, continues his solid form for the Netherlands and carries it into the new season with us.