Louis van Gaal has named a 39-man provisional Netherlands squad for the World Cup, but who will be the 13 players dropped? Michael Bell takes a guess at what will be the final squad.


Van Gaal has picked five goalkeepers in his provisional squad and I think that Jasper Cillessen is nailed on to be in the squad with the NEC Nijmegen stopper the only one with tournament experience. It is likely that Cillessen could be number one at the tournament.

Remko Pasveer was the goalkeeper in the last two internationals and the Ajax number one should also be on the plane to Qatar.

The final spot is then a toss-up between Justin Bijlow of Feyenoord, Mark Flekken of Freiburg or Andries Noppert of Heerenveen. Bijlow would have been number one if he didn’t get injured last season and I think, Van Gaal will give him the nod.

In: Justin Bijlow, Jasper Cillessen, Remko Pasveer

Out: Mark Flekken and Andries Noppert


Denzel Dumfries is the undisputed starting right-back in Oranje and the big question is who is going to be the back up for the Internazionale star.

Devyne Rensch has Netherlands caps and he has been in recent squads, but the youngster has not been in good form for Ajax and has been dropped in favour of Jorge Sanchez.

That opens the door for Jeremie Frimpong, who has been in excellent form for Bayer Leverkusen this season. Frimpong is an attacking threat and plays weekly in a 5-3-2. Including him over Rensch makes a lot of sense.

In: Denzel Dumfries, Jeremie Frimpong

Out: Devyne Rensch


A position that seems settled is the left-back slot with Van Gaal almost certain to choose Daley Blind and Tyrell Malacia in the squad. Blind has not been in good form this season but he seems undroppable for Netherlands, while Malacia has done a good job so far for Manchester United.

Pascal Struijk of Leeds United and Mitchell Bakker of Bayer Leverkusen have been named in the provisional squad but they are likely just options for the future at the moment.

In: Daley Blind, Tyrell Malacia

Out: Pascal Struijk, Mitchell Bakker


Netherlands will play with three centre-backs at the World Cup with Jurrien Timber (Ajax) and Nathan Ake (Manchester City) set to flank captain Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) at the back.

Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich) and Stefan de Vrij (Inter) will be the back-ups, but that means there is still one spot for a left-footed centre-back. That place should go to Sven Botman, who has had an excellent start to the season with Newcastle United.

That means there is likely to be no spot for Micky van de Ven, but he has done well to get himself on the list after breaking into the Wolfsburg eleven.

In: Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij, Jurrien Timber, Nathan Ake, Virgil van Dijk, Sven Botman

Out: Micky van de Ven


Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong is the main man for Netherlands in midfield and the big question is who will start beside him and in the number ten position. Atalanta duo Marten de Roon and Teun Koopmeiners will be there if fit, but the former has picked up a hamstring injury that could rule him out.

Ajax duo Steven Berghuis and Davy Klaassen are also assured of a place if they remain fit, while teammate Kenneth Taylor could also make it if he continues to impress in Amsterdam.

That means Guus Til of PSV, Jordy Clasie of AZ Alkmaar, and Ryan Gravenberch of Bayern Munich could miss out. The latter, especially, will be disappointed but his lack of playing time in Munich may cause Van Gaal to look elsewhere. That could change, though, depending on De Roon’s injury.

In: Frenkie de Jong, Marten de Roon, Teun Koopmeiners, Davy Klaassen, Kenneth Taylor, Steven Berghuis

Out: Guus Til, Jordy Clasie, Ryan Gravenberch


Up front, Netherlands are set to play two through the midfield with Memphis Depay the undoubted star of the attack. That is if the Barcelona forward can return from injury in time.

Steven Bergwijn has been in excellent form for Netherlands recently and the Ajax man will be in the squad, along with Cody Gakpo of PSV and Vincent Janssen, who is in good form for Royal Antwerp.

In terms of picking a centre-forward with height, Luuk de Jong is back fit for PSV and his experience may see him get the nod over Wout Weghorst, who plays in Turkey with Besiktas.

Donyell Malen and Noa Lang are not playing regularly at the moment and they could miss out with Arnaut Danjuma returning from injury. The Villarreal star offers pace to the attack and he could make a great option off the bench.

Then it comes down to who Van Gaal wants as his wildcard. Will it be Xavi Simons of PSV, who is taking the Eredivisie by storm or will it be Brian Brobbey. The striker is now starting to show some good form up front for Ajax. For me, Simons offers something different and I think he should be taken to Qatar.

In: Memphis Depay, Steven Bergwijn, Cody Gakpo, Vincent Janssen, Luuk de Jong, Xavi Simons, Arnaut Danjuma

Out: Donyell Malen, Wout Weghorst, Noa Lang, Brian Brobbey

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