Netherlands will look to get their European Championship qualifying campaign back on track when they host Kazakhstan in the Amsterdam Arena on Friday.

oranje djbnbfLast month Netherlands began their group A campaign with a last minute defeat to Czech Republic, but they have a chance to get it back on track when they face Kazakhstan and Iceland over the next week.

Guus Hiddink came under criticism last month after the Czech defeat and the 2-0 friendly loss to Italy, with the coach seemingly unsure on what tactics suit his team best. Against Kazakhstan the Dutch are set to move back to their favoured 4-3-3 formation, and Hiddink has been boosted by the return of Arjen Robben, who missed both defeats through injury.

Right back Daryl Janmaat, and PSV winger Memphis Depay are the major absentees for the match, with Gregory van der Wiel set for a return to the first team, while Hiddink has decided to pick Ibrahim Afellay in midfield, and Jeremain Lens gets the nod at left wing.

Possible Netherlands XI: Cillessen, Van der Wiel, Blind, Martins-Indi, De Vrij, De Jong, Afellay, Sneijder, Robben, Lens, Van Persie

Netherlands have never faced Kazakhstan before, and the country ranked 127 in the World are an unknown quantity for the Dutch, with none of the squad able to name a single player from the Asian country, which borders Europe, when asked by TV programme PowNews.

All but two of the Kazakhstan squad play in their own country, with Konstantin Engel, who plays in Germany with Ingolstadt, and striker Sergei Khizhnichenko, who plays in the Poland, the only exceptions. In their last group match Kazakhstan held Latvia to a 0-0 draw, but the nation have only won once outside their own country in the past five years, a 3-1 win against Moldova in February last year.

Key Dutch players to watch:

Arjen Robben: Netherlands clearly missed the winger during their two defeats last month, and Guus Hiddink will be delighted to have the in-form winger back. At the moment Robben is Netherlands best player, and Kazakhstan will have a huge task trying to stop him.

Gregory van der Wiel: With Janmaat out Van der Wiel has the chance to show Hiddink that he deserves to be the number one choice for the right back position. Van der Wiel has been in good form for PSG so far this season, and its time he replicates this in the national team.

Robin van Persie: The Manchester United striker has been hit and miss so far this season, and was poor in both the defeats to Italy and Czech Republic last month. Against Kazakhstan there is no doubt the captain will get a number of chances to score, but if he doesn’t take them the calls for Klaas jan Huntelaar to take the number nine shirt will increase.

Prediction:

Kazakhstan aren’t the worst team in Europe, but they will undoubtedly be the favourites to finish bottom of Group A, and there should be nothing other than a comfortable win for Netherlands on Friday. Hiddink has his critics already, but a comfortable win and good performance from the likes of Van Persie and Arjen Robben will go a long way into silencing them ahead of the trip to Iceland on Monday.

Netherlands 3-0 Kazakhstan

 




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