Netherlands can book their place at Euro 2020 on Saturday when they face Northern Ireland in Belfast. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

Last month, Netherlands put themselves within touching distance of reaching the Euros with a difficult 3-1 win over Northern Ireland and a hard fought 2-1 victory at Belarus.

On Saturday, Oranje can confirm its place at their first major tournament since the 2014 World Cup with either a draw or a win. A win, though, is crucial in order to maintain their place at the top of the group ahead of Germany, with the clash against Estonia still to come on Tuesday.

Opponents, Northern Ireland, who gave Netherlands a real scare in Rotterdam, can also still finish in the top two positions, but they need to win on Saturday, realistically by a scoreline better than 3-1.

Ronald Koeman expects Northern Ireland to be more attack-minded on Saturday evening than they were in Rotterdam. He told his press conference, “I expect that, yes. They play at home and that is what they have done against Germany. We expect them to put high and aggressive pressure on us. Because their only chance is that they win twice.”

Koeman added that he is only focused on sealing qualification to the Euros and they will go for the win on Saturday, “The most important thing is qualification. If that succeeds tomorrow that is great, but if it happens on Tuesday. Then that is also great. We want to win every match and then we will see if that works. ”

Northern Ireland head coach Michael O’Neill was recently confirmed as the new head coach of Stoke City but he will remain in charge of Northern Ireland until the end of the qualifiers.

Team News

Koeman is sweating on the fitness of both Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay ahead of the clash. Neither have been able to participate fully in training but Koeman will make a late decision on both on Saturday morning.

AZ Alkmaar’s young duo Calvin Stengs and Myron Boadu could make their Oranje debut’s while Donny van de Beek could start should Wijnaldum be deemed unfit.

If Memphis is unable to play, Koeman could choose between Wout Weghorst, Luuk de Jong, Boadu or Ryan Babel to play through the middle.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Cillessen, Dumfries, Blind, Van Dijk, De Ligt, F. De Jong, De Roon, Van de Beek, Babel, Promes, Memphis

After scoring the opener against Netherlands last month, Josh Macgennis is pushing for a start up front, but O’Neill may decide to go with Kyle Lafferty.

Northern Ireland could hand a debut to St Johnstone midfielder Matthew Kennedy.

Possible Northern Ireland line-up: Peacock-Farrell, McLaughlin, Cathcart, J Evans, Dallas, McNair, Davis, Saville, C Evans, McGinn, Lafferty

Odds

Northern Ireland 7/1 Draw 15/4 Netherlands 4/9

Who are the Netherlands new boys?

Myron Boadu and Calvin Stengs have both made a big impression for AZ Alkmaar this season and could make their Oranje debuts on Saturday.

Boadu (18) is a striker, who has battled back from breaking his leg last season to score 14 goals and contribute 10 assists in 22 matches.

Boadu has been regarded as one of the Netherlands most exciting young strikers for years and has scored constantly for Dutch youth teams in the past. On Saturday, he could confirm his rapid development by making his Oranje debut.

Stengs (20), who has also battled back from horrific injuries, is an exceptional winger, who has gained comparisons to Arjen Robben for his performances for AZ.

With eight goals and ten assists this season, Stengs has also been a key part of AZ’s rise to second in the league. The winger has excellent skills but the most impressive part of his game is his passing ability. Stengs loves to cut inside and cut open defences with through balls.

Speaking at his press conference, Koeman praised the AZ duo, “They are great players. They are already the best players at their Dutch club and they can become that at Oranje. They are not yet, but that makes sense if you are eighteen (Boadu) and twenty (Stengs). That may come, because they do have that quality if you look at the long term. “

Can Netherlands book their place at Euro 2020 in Belfast?

After two missed tournaments in a row, Saturday could be a huge day for the Dutch national team, but they must be wary of Northern Ireland.

O’Neill’s side gave Netherlands a big scare last month and have proved in the past that they can cause big scalps at home. However, unlike in Rotterdam, Northern Ireland need to win on Saturday and that could see them open up a bit more, which would give more space for Netherlands going forward.

The fitness of Memphis would be a worry due to how crucial the forward has been, but Luuk de Jong or Wout Weghorst could be effective against a physical Northern Irish defence.

Being top seeds for the Euro 2020 draw is crucial, so Netherlands will need to win on Saturday and beat Estonia in three days to ensure they stay ahead of Germany.

Podcast Preview




admin (7530 Posts)

Follow @Footballoranje_ on Twitter