The central defender is integral to the Netherlands as they will rely on a strong defence for their progress.
They are able to play as a back 3 with Ake, Van Dijk and De Ligt forming a solid back line, allowing the wing backs to join in the play.
A clean sheet against their main Group A competitors will likely boost the Netherlands, especially as Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaasen were able to seal the win in the final minutes.
Despite the opening win, the attacking potential looks short and will need to improve when they come up against greater opposition in the knock-out rounds.
A potential match with England in the round of 16 will likely depend on the Ecuador result. Any progress past that stage will be difficult for the Dutch who can’t rely on attacking technical ability like in previous editions.
Chance of winning the World Cup: Darkhorse – Could blossom throughout the tournament especially if their attacking talent can fire.