1. Who is this guy?
Joris Mathijsen is a bit of the invisible man in the Dutch defense. He is neither prone to mistakes nor apt to be dominant. He is simply, almost invariably, very good, yet you rarely hear about his play because it is not quite brilliant enough to register in any "Best of" conversations. In this tournament, he has a chance to make the 23-man post-competition All-Star team, but more likely he will barely miss-out.
2. How has he done in this tournament?
Again, steady if unspectacular, a trait that might find a winger lacking but makes a central defender a cornerstone. The one regret for Mathijsen will be injuring his knee in warm-ups against Brazil, missing that match, where his absence was a big part of Brazil taking an early lead. Fortunately for the Netherlands, they were able to overcome the early deficit. Fortunately for Mathijsen, the knee injury was not serious.
3. What’s his role going to be on Sunday?
He will be the left side of the Dutch central defense pairing, partnering John Heitinga.
4. Which opponent will be his closest on-field match-up?
Mathijsen is going to have to contain David Villa. Fortunately for the Dutch defender, Spain seem to have trouble finding their leading scorer when he’s deployed centrally, but should that change today, Mathijsen, less likely to be caught out-of-position than Heitinga, will be at the back to try and beat Villa to spaces in passing channels and otherwise cut-off angles to goal. It’s not an adventageous match-up for the Dutch, but Mathijsen does have it within his game to contain Villa.