It is less than a week until Netherlands get their European Championship campaign underway against Ukraine. However, Frank de Boer still has some problems to solve in his squad. Michael Bell looks at the five big issues for De Boer ahead of next Sunday’s big game.

Is it going to be 5-3-2 or 4-3-3?

Frank de Boer is determined that a 5-3-2 formation is the right one for the Netherlands but the performances against Scotland and Georgia have not proved the head coach right.

Netherlands have looked shaky at the back and wasteful in possession using the 5-3-2, with several players looking lost in their roles. Matthijs de Ligt is one of the players to speak out about the formation but it appears that De Boer will stick with it for the clash against Ukraine. Despite the fact that Netherlands has looked stronger in the traditional 4-3-3.

De Boer now has less than a week to make the formation work against a Ukraine side that have players capable of hurting his side if they continue to give away space.

If the formation fails against Ukraine then expect an instant switch to 4-3-3 for the time Netherlands face Austria.

Stekelenburg or Krul in goal?

Maarten Stekelenburg is the oldest player at the European Championships and the 38-year-old could be in line to be the Netherlands number one.

Nobody would have predicted that last summer when the veteran turned up at Ajax to be number two to Andre Onana. However, Stekelenburg has earned his spot and at the moment he looks the safer option than Tim Krul.

The Norwich City goalkeeper has not been impressive in recent performances and looked unconvincing against Scotland last week. Both have tournament experience, but Stekelenburg has the edge at the moment.

What to do with Daley Blind?

After two months out, Daley Blind is back fit and it is likely that De Boer will try to fit the versatile defender into his starting eleven.

Against Georgia, Blind began as a left-sided centre-back but his lack of pace was exposed at times. The Ajax star could also move onto the left of defence or even move into the midfield in a holding role.

Blind’s experience and ability on the ball make him a key player for De Boer, but fitting him into the XI ahead of better, and fitter options may prove costly.

Will De Boer drop De Roon?

Netherlands last two performances have not been great and the one player to come out of them with the most criticism is Marten de Roon, who unbelievably completed 90 minutes against both Scotland and Georgia.

The holding midfielder excels for Atalanta Bergamo, but he has yet to prove he can handle the level of international football and he lacks the ability on the ball needed to play in Oranje. Especially in the game against Georgia, it was painful to see De Roon lose the ball constantly.

De Boer has Ryan Gravenberch, Davy Klaassen, Donny van de Beek and Teun Koopmeiners who can all come in for De Roon, but will the coach make the right decision?

Who partners Memphis up front?

Memphis Depay is in great form and heads into the tournament full of confidence, but who will start alongside him in the attack?

Wout Weghorst has started both warm-up games and looked decent in the win over Georgia. The Wolfsburg forward works hard and his passion for playing in Oranje is second to none. He also offers an aerial threat in the box from set-pieces and can hold up the ball.

However, De Boer also has Donyell Malen, who put in an excellent cameo performance from the bench against Georgia. The PSV forward has bags of pace and he gives Netherlands a big weapon during counter attacks.

At the moment, Luuk de Jong appears to be the third choice, which is not surprising given his lack of form for Sevilla towards the end of the campaign. The tall forward can be a good option for late in a game when Netherlands need to go more direct.




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