The Nations League gets underway for the Netherlands on Friday with a clash against Poland in an empty Johan Cruijff ArenA. Kick-off is at 7.45 pm.

For the first time since November last year, the Netherlands national team will be in action as they take on Poland in their first Nations League clash.

They do so under the guidance of Dwight Lodeweges, who has taken temporary control of the Dutch national team after the departure of Ronald Koeman to Barcelona.

Under Koeman, the Netherlands enjoyed a good phase, reaching the Nations League final, while also qualifying for the European Championships next summer.

Netherlands will now look to continue that fine form, beginning on Friday against Poland. A tie with Italy also awaits on Monday, while Bosnia & Herzegovina also completes the group.

Poland are currently ranked 19th in the World and they finished bottom of their last Nations League group that contained Portugal and Italy. However, they were saved from relegation when UEFA changed the format.

The nation had much more success in their Euro 2020 qualifiers, finishing top of their group, ahead of Austria, who will be in Netherlands group at the tournament next year. Poland head into the game having won their last four internationals in a row.

Lodeweges expects a tough game physically, “It is a team that presents you with choices. An adult team that plays very realistically, with a number of big boys in it.”

Team News

Matthijs de Ligt and Daley Blind were not named in the squad due to injury issues, while Stefan de Vrij was forced to withdraw. Denzel Dumfries will also miss the clash with his wife expecting.

Three players are in line for their first international caps with Mohamed Ihattaren, Perr Schuurs and Owen Wijndal all in the squad. Lodeweges is open to giving them their debuts, “Yes, otherwise I wouldn’t select them. I am not afraid to use them. They make a great impression on the training sessions. “

With De Vrij out, Nathan Ake will start, while Hans Hateboer is likely to begin at right-back. Lodeweges now needs to decide whether to push Ake onto the left and play Joel Veltman in the centre, or give a debut to Wijndal or Schuurs.

New Manchester United signing Donny van de Beek will be eager to start, but is likely to be on the bench.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Cillessen, Hateboer, Ake, Veltman, Van Dijk, F. De Jong, De Roon, Wijnaldum, Promes, Bergwijn, Memphis

Poland will be without talisman and their best player Robert Lewandowski after the Bayern Munich striker was allowed to miss the games in order to rest.

However, Poland still have a host of good players, including former Ajax striker Arkaduisz Milik who is likely to start up front.

Possible Poland line-up: Szczesny, Kedziora, Rybus, Bednarek, Glik, Krychowiak, Goralski, Grosicki, Szymanski, Milik

Odds

Netherlands 8/15 Draw 16/5 Poland 5/1

Previous Meetings

Netherlands and Poland have met 15 times previously, with Oranje winning six of those, while three have ended in defeat.

The last was a friendly in 2016 which the Netherlands won 2-1.

Can the Netherlands get off to a good start?

Poland will offer the Netherlands a tough game on Friday and will be the type of opponent they can expect to come up against at the European Championships next summer with Ukraine and Austria in their group.

However, the mood in the Oranje camp looks excellent despite Ronald Koeman’s departure and Netherlands will be eager to get off to a good start.

If the midfield and attack can click from the start they should be able to find a way through an organised Polish defence.

It will be interesting to see if Lodeweges tweaks the formation slightly and the potential debut of Mohamed Ihattaren is exciting for Oranje fans.

If Netherlands wants to win the group then they must beat Poland on Friday with a much trickier tie with Italy awaiting.




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