Louis van Gaal is back as Netherlands head coach and he begins his third term in charge of the Dutch national team with a tricky World Cup qualifier away to Norway. The kick-off is at 19.45.

The European Championships did not go to plan for the Netherlands, who were knocked out in the first knockout round by the Czech Republic. The defeat cost Frank de Boer his job and now Louis van Gaal is back for his third term in charge.

Van Gaal has a tough task on his hands with Group G set to be tight until the end and Netherlands cannot afford any slip-ups if they are to take top spot. Oranje currently sits second on six points out of three games.

On Wednesday, Netherlands takes on a Norway side that boasts plenty of dangerous players including Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.

The Norwegians also sit on six points in the group, with a 3-0 win over Gibraltar followed up by a defeat at home to Turkey. Norway then saw off Montenegro 1-0.

Team News

Louis van Gaal has kept his cards close to his chest but it appears he will reportedly start with a 4-3-3 in Oslo and Feyenoord stopper Justin Bijlow is set to make his debut in goal.

According to De Telegraaf, Jurrien Timber is at right-back, Davy Klaassen in midfield, while Cody Gakpo and Steven Berghuis will flank Memphis Depay up front.

Matthijs de Ligt is suspended after his red card against the Czech Republic at the European Championships.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Bijlow, Timber, Van Dijk, De Vrij, Blind, Frenkie, Wijnaldum, Klaassen, Berghuis, Gakpo, Memphis

Haaland is the danger man for Norway, but there are plenty of players familiar to Eredivisie fans. Martin Odegaard had a loan spell with Vitesse Arnhem and Heerenveen, while Feyenoord duo Marcus Pedersen and Fredrik Aursnes are in the squad. Morten Thorsby used to play with Heerenveen.

AZ duo Hakon Evjen and Fredrik Midtjso are not in the squad, while Groningen striker Jorgen Strand Larsen also misses out.

Possible Norway line-up: Nyland; Ryerson, Gregerson, Ajer, Meling; Odegaard, Thorsby, Berge, Hauge; Haaland, Sorloth

Odds

Norway 16/5 Draw 14/5 Netherlands 4/5

Previous Meetings

Netherlands and Norway have met on 20 previous occasions with Netherlands winning nine of those, while Norway have tasted victory in five matches.

Netherlands have won the last four meetings with the last a 2-0 win during qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

Key Players

Virgil van Dijk

The Liverpool star is back in the Netherlands squad after missing the European Championships and he will once again captain Oranje on Wednesday.

The centre-back is crucial to Netherlands success and he will be determined to make the World Cup, having not yet played at a major tournament.

Van Dijk has impressed for Liverpool so far this season and now he will partner Stefan de Vrij up against Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland. Both will need to be in good form to prevent the striker netting.

Erling Haaland

The Borussia Dortmund star is possibly the most in-form striker in Europe at the moment and he will be the main danger man for Norway.

In 12 caps for Norway, Haaland has seven goals, while he has six goals in five games for Borussia Dortmund so far this season. His total for Dortmund is a frightening 63 goals in 64 games.

The powerful striker will be looking to down the Netherlands and will be giving Van Dijk and De Vrij a big test.

Can Netherlands get a crucial victory?

This is a tough first test for Louis van Gaal, who has had only two days to work with the players and get his message accross.

On paper, Netherlands should beat Norway but the hosts have the best striker in the world at the moment and he could take advantage of Van Dijk’s rustiness. Keeping Haaland quiet is definitely the key to victory, but Netherlands will also need to watch for Odegaard and Sorloth, who are very good players.

If Netherlands can come away with a victory then it is a huge result with home games to come against Montenegro and Turkey. A draw would not be the worst result, but a loss would leave Netherlands in a very dangerous position.




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