Best Reds in Brazil?

Mark Froggatt predicts how each country with United players will fare at the World Cup...

Belgium: Quarter-finals
Ecuador: Group
England: Group
France: Quarter-finals
Japan: Last 16
Mexico: Last 16
Netherlands: Semi-final
Portugal: Last 16
Spain: Last 16

09/06/2014 12:15, Report by Mark Froggatt

Blog: Going Dutch

This week, we asked fans which Reds will go furthest at the World Cup. Here,'s Mark Froggatt offers his personal view on the poll...

You might not like my opinion, in fact it will probably annoy you, but I believe Robin van Persie will progress further than any other Manchester United player in Brazil 2014.

Why would that irritate? Because incoming Reds manager Louis van Gaal is in charge of the Netherlands of course and success for them in South America would only delay his arrival at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal has opted for youth in his squad and just seven Dutch players who reached the 2010 final have flown to Brazil. Eleven are under 25, 10 play in the Eredivisie and only van Persie and Arjen Robben are from Europe's elite clubs, which is quite a departure for a nation that traditionally depends on its stars. It's also a reaction to past failures of some big names. Notably, the boss says it’s coming together: “I’ve seen the first signs of a good team spirit developing.”

The Dutch have been dealt a tough draw and find themselves in Group B alongside Spain, Chile and Australia, prompting van Gaal to shrewdly play down his hopes by saying "the chances of reaching the quarter-finals are 20 per cent.” Despite such modesty, he knows that victory in Friday's clash with the slow-starting Spanish would virtually ensure top spot and a last-16 tie with the Group A runners-up, which is likely to be Mexico.

Victory against Chicha's men would then tee up a quarter-final with the Group D winners - I'm going for Uruguay (yes, they’re better than England) - before the victors of that tie lose to Argentina in the semis. All of this is just my opinion, of course, but I can't help feeling we'll have to wait for van Gaal's World Cup glory before we see him at Old Trafford.

More: Poll results: Spain to reign


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