Netherlands continue their World Cup preparations on Saturday as they face Ghana in a friendly at De Kuip.

  • By Michael Bell
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net v ghThe World Cup gets underway in two weeks, with Netherlands set to face Spain on June 13th, but with Louis van Gaal yet to name his 23-man squad, the game against Ghana will prove to be the last chance for some players to impress the coach.

Netherlands disappointed earlier this month when they failed to beat Ecuador in Amsterdam, having to rely on a Robin van Persie stunner to earn a 1-1 draw.  The result means its now four games in a row without a win for the Dutch, meaning a win against a talented Ghana side is crucial to boost the nations confidence.

Van Gaal is set to bring Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben back into the starting eleven after both missed the draw against Ecuador, but Rafael van der Vaart’s chances of making the World Cup ended this week, as the Hamburg midfielder suffered a calf injury. Right back’s Daryl Janmaat and Paul Verhaegh are both fit enough for the game after minor injuries.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Cillessen, Janmaat, Blind, Martins-Indi, De Vrij, Vlaar, Clasie, De Jong, Sneijder, Robben, Van Persie

It will be interesting to see how Van Persie, Robben and Sneijder link up in the new 5-3-2 formation, with the trio’s form key to Netherlands chances in Brazil.

Ghana, like the Dutch are also preparing for a difficult World Cup group, after they were drawn with Germany, Portugal, and the USA. Coach Kweshi Appiah has yet to name his 23 man squad for the tournament, and will use the game in Rotterdam to experiment.

Last Friday, Ghana hammered a local select eleven 6-1, with Christian Atsu, who spent last season on loan with Vitesse, scoring a hat-trick. Their squad is packed full of talented, and well known players such as Andre Ayew, Kevin Prince Boateng, Sulley Muntari, Michael Essien, and Asamoah Gyan.

Ghana line-up: Kwarasey, Inkoom, Schlupp, Sumaila, Akaminko, Mohammed, Adomah, Essien, J Ayew, Atsu, Asamoah

Ghana will pose a major test for Netherlands on Saturday with their work ethic, but they have a weakness at the back that Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie should be able to expose.

Netherlands last faced Ghana in an friendly just before the 2010 World Cup, with the Dutch running out 4-1 winners in De Kuip thanks to goals from Dirk Kuyt, Rafael van der Vaart, Robin van Persie, and Wesley Sneijder.

It was a great win before the tournament in South Africa in 2010, and we all know what happened to the Dutch in that tournament.

Can another win against Ghana set Netherlands on their way to a successful World Cup?




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