For the last two World Cup games for the Netherlands, a certain young winger has come in and provided an extra punch for the highest scoring team in this tournament.
You can view the other installments of our series looking at Super Subs from the 2014 World Cup here.
Memphis Depay, the 20-year-old winger mentioned above, is one of the hottest names coming out of the World Cup and will likely see a move to a premier (not necessarily Premier League) club at a fee much higher than his “market value” of £4,400,000.
After not getting into the Netherlands’ opening contest against Spain, Depay was inserted just before half time against Australia. In the 58th minute, the PSV Eindhoven youngster contributed to the second goal for the Netherlands.
The Australian defense left Depay with a very clear decision when he received the ball. By pushing forward, two of them anyway, the defense allowed Robin Van Persie to get behind while staying on sides. While this wasn’t an amazingly difficult play, the fact that a young sub made the correct play on his first attempt is encouraging for his future.
Ten minutes later, Depay put his name in the most important section of the score sheet – under the goals column. The shot selection is a lot like a player in the NBA taking an uncontested deep three, but getting the ball on the net results in unexpected things. Depay saw an opening and may have been hoping for a rebound, but Mat Ryan misplayed the ball and it would prove to be the 3-2 game winner. No matter the shot selection, it was a beautiful and powerful strike for Depay.
Immediately after scoring the game-breaker, Depay almost sealed the victory with a pass in the box to Arjen Robben after using his speed to get by his defender and make a straight run toward the goal. The pace that was shown allows for Depay to take advantage of being a sub when his defender may be feeling the weight of playing for an hour.
While still tied 0-0 with Chile in their final group stage match, Depay came on in the 69th minute and fired a shot from near the top of the penalty box in the 76th minute that was narrowly saved by Claudio Bravo. The run, dribble, power and accuracy of the shot were exactly the characteristics that were shown in the contest against Australia.
The second goal, coming in stoppage time, was scored by Depay and assisted by Robben, two of the fastest people in the tournament. The finish is great, but what can truly be seen in this clip is the speed that Depay shows to catch up with Robben to provide a target for the hard cross.
In just 63 minutes in the World Cup through three matches, Depay has recorded two goals and one assist. The winger is the only player under 70 minutes with multiple goals in this tournament.
We can expect Depay to be featured on a continued world stage with a new club and to be a starter for the Netherlands at the next World Cup.