Netherlands travel to face Slovakia on Thursday in their penultimate friendly of the season. Kick off in Trnava is 7.45pm.

Ronald Koeman’s reign as Oranje coach got off to an up and down start in March with a 1-0 loss to England followed up with an impressive 3-0 victory over Portugal.

Netherlands will look to continue the good feeling around the squad at the moment when they face Slovakia on Thursday before a trip to Italy in four days. The two friendlies are seen as preparations for the UEFA Nations League which begins for Netherlands in September with an away trip to France.

Slovakia finished second in their World Cup qualifying group behind England, but missed out on a place in the playoffs. They have a good record at home having not lost a friendly at home since 2011.

Team News

Koeman has already confirmed that he will keep the 5-3-2 formation which worked so well against Portugal back in March.

Ruud Vormer could make his debut, while Koeman confirmed that Jeroen Zoet and Jasper Cillessen will play one friendly each. Georginio Wijnaldum and Virgil van Dijk may be given a rest after their Champions League disappointment.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Zoet, Hateboer, Van Aanholt, De Ligt, De Vrij, Blind, Vormer, Strootman, Propper, Memphis, Babel

Former Groningen midfielder Albert Rusnak is in the Slovakia squad, along with Napoli star Marek Hamsik.

Possible Slovakia line-up: Dubravka, Hubocan, Pekarik, Skriniar, Gyomber, Sabo, Gregus, Hamsik, Kucka, Duda, Nemec

Previous Meetings

Netherlands have only met Slovakia twice with their first meeting a 2-1 Oranje victory at the 2010 World Cup. Two years later, Netherlands again triumphed 2-0 in a friendly.

Odds

Slovakia 12/5 Draw 12/5 Netherlands 11/10

What to look out for

A Memphis Depay on fire

Memphis Depay’s display through the middle against Portugal in March was excellent and convinced Lyon to keep him in a free role since. His form has exploded since with Memphis scoring 10 goals and contributing 7 assists in his last nine league games.

With Netherlands struggling to find a reliable striker, Memphis is the answer for Koeman going forward.

What position for Daley Blind? 

Daley Blind missed Koeman’s first two internationals through injury and a lack of playing time at Manchester United but is back for the upcoming friendlies.

In a 5-3-2, Blind offers Koeman plenty of options and the tie against Slovakia will give us a first indication of the coaches thinking. Will Blind be deployed as a ball playing centre-back, left-back or in the midfield?

Ruud Vormer debut

There are no young talents looking to make their debut this time around, but 30-year-old Ruud Vormer could earn his first cap.

The midfielder was named the Belgian league’s player of the year after contributing 24 assists and 14 goals for Club Brugge this season.

The Dutch media have been awaiting a call-up for the former Feyenoord midfielder and he will finally get his chance to impress over the next week.

Will 5-3-2 work again?

Against Portugal, the 5-3-2 worked perfectly with Netherlands able to soak up the pressure before hitting the Portuguese on the counter-attack. However, how will the formation work against a side that may decide to sit deep and defend?

Slovakia are unlikely to go all out attack against Netherlands so it will be interesting to see how Koeman’s side will adapt to find a way through.




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