The Netherlands get their latest UEFA Nations League campaign underway on Friday with a trip to neighbours Belgium on Friday. The kick-off is at 19.45 BST.

The countdown to the World Cup is on and Louis van Gaal is set to use the Nations League games this month to experiment and tweak his 5-3-2 formation. In March, the Netherlands defeated Denmark 4-2 and drew 1-1 with Germany using the new formation, but neither were competitive games.

Now, Van Gaal has the Nations League starting, with clashes against Wales (twice) and Poland to come after a match against neighbours Belgium on Friday.

It’s a tough test for Netherlands with Belgium sitting second in the World Rankings at the moment and their squad is littered with star names such as Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Romelo Lukaku. However, Netherlands are still unbeaten since Van Gaal returned as Oranje boss.

Team News

Virgil van Dijk will play for Netherlands against Belgium but the defender will then be allowed to leave for his holidays after a tough campaign.

Jerdy Schouten could make his Oranje debut, but Vincent Janssen will miss the game due to his wedding.

There is no place in the squad for the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordy Clasie, Justin Bijlow, Luuk de Jong and Arnaut Danjuma.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Flekken, Dumfries, Blind, Timber, Van Dijk, De Ligt, De Jong, Koopmeiners, Klaassen, Memphis, Bergwijn

Vitesse Arnhem’s loanee striker Lois Openda could make his Belgium debut, while former Ajax stars Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen could play at the back. Former Excelsior defender Wout Faes is also in the squad.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is a major doubt for the game.

Possible Belgium line-up: Mignolet, Alderweireld, Boyata, Vertonghen; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, Carrasco; Hazard, De Bruyne, Lukaku

Odds

Belgium 6/5 Draw 13/5 Netherlands 2/1

Previous Meetings

Belgium are a bogey team for the Netherlands in recent years with the last Oranje victory coming back in 1997. Since then there has been six draws and two losses.

The last two games have both ended 1-1 with the last meeting taking place in 2018. Van Gaal started his second period as Netherlands boss with a 4-2 loss in Belgium back in August 2012.

Can Netherlands keep their unbeaten run going?

The Nations League isn’t the most respected competition but the Netherlands and Belgium will look to use the games as good preparation for the World Cup later in the year. It is a local derby of sorts and Netherlands will be keen to end their winless run against Belgium.

Van Gaal’s squad has raised question marks but it will be interesting to see how his side can adapt to the 5-3-2 over the next few weeks. Belgium will be a tough test for the formation and if Netherlands can come away with a positive result, then it is further evidence that Van Gaal is right to choose it.

Belgium have plenty of strength in attack, but defensively they are not the strongest. Netherlands will look for opportunities with Memphis and Bergwijn’s partnership working wonders against Denmark in March.

Netherlands performances under Van Gaal have been positive so far and hopefully that will continue on Friday.

Netherlands fan living in the UK or Ireland? Sign up to Premier Sports to watch every Netherlands game in the Nations League: https://www.premiersports.com/subscribenow

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