This Holland team is not your parent's Dutch team.
Gone is placing a premium on aesthetics, and in its place is a team that has the ability to get results by defending together and countering quickly.
European football correspondent Gabriele Marcotti writes of how this Dutch team worries more about winning games than winning fans.
"It's nice to win rather than just winning sympathy."
The above quote comes from a Dutch blogger just a few hours after Holland defeated Uruguay, 3-2, to advance to the World Cup final.
It's a reference to a basic fact: this Holland team is less talented and plays less entertaining and attack-minded football than its predecessors. But, unlike many of its predecessors over the past two decades, it actually stands ninety minutes away from winning it all.
Note that "good football" means different things to different people. My definition is simple: having a game plan and executing it well. It doesn't matter what you're trying to do, it does matter that you do it in the right way.
Whenever Holland win, you hear the old claptrap about "total football" and the "Dutch way" and "Clockwork Orange".
This team has little to do with all that. Bert van Marwijk's team features a basic 4-2-3-1 formation where the midfield pair (Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel) are purely destroyers and the leftback rarely ventures forward (for that matter, neither does the rightback when Gregory van der Wiel is unavailable, as he was on Tuesday night).
You could say they defend with six guys and try to score with four. But it's an unusual front four.
Dirk Kuyt does what he does for Liverpool: he presses, he makes the right runs, but he's hardly a creative, attacking force. Robin van Persie has picked up the same disease afflicting his Premier League colleagues Fernando Torres, Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney: he's a shadow of himself at this World Cup. Arjen Robben is a legitimate superstar and he is productive, albeit in a Robben way: as an individual virtuoso, rather than a cog in a machine. Which leaves Wesley Sneijder, who's World Cup has picked up where his Champions' League campaign left off: on a high.
The result is a workmanlike team that grinds out results without dazzling. Quite the opposite from some Holland teams of yesteryear, which dazzled without getting results.