Netherlands look to go top of their Nations League group when they clash with Italy on Wednesday. Kick-off is at 7.45pm in Bergamo.

Frank de Boer’s reign as Netherlands boss is off to a poor start after the 1-0 friendly defeat to Mexico was followed up by a poor 0-0 draw in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Netherlands have looked lacklustre, short of ideas and uninspired in attack under De Boer so far, with the national team failing to score, let alone win since he took charge.

It isn’t getting any easier for De Boer as on Wednesday, Netherlands travel to face Italy, who defeated Oranje 1-0 in Amsterdam last month. Another loss would increase the pressure already on the new head coach.

De Boer told press on Tuesday that Netherlands will play better than they did in the 1-0 loss to Italy, “You will see something different than in the first match against Italy. We trained well and have a very positive mood.”

Italy currently sit top of the group but only one point above the Netherlands after they drew 0-0 in Poland. Before that they hammered Moldova 6-0 in a friendly clash.

Team News

Netherlands welcome Memphis Depay back after the forward was suspended against Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, Marten de Roon is suspended.

De Boer now has too choose who replaces De Roon in midfield. That could be Donny van de Beek, meaning Georginio Wijnaldum drops deeper. Teun Koopmeiners could also replace De Roon, or even Kevin Strootman.

Up front, Steven Berghuis should start after his impressive cameo against Bosnia, while De Boer must decide whether he sticks with Quincy Promes on the left.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Cillessen, Dumfries, Blind, Van Dijk, De Vrij, F. De Jong, Wijnaldum, Van de Beek, Berghuis, Promes, Memphis

Andrea Belotti is suspended for Italy, while Gaetano Castrovilli is injured. Ciro Immobile is likely to come into the starting line-up. Stephan El Shaarawy has tested positive for corona virus.

Possible Italy line-up: Donnarumma; Florenzi, Bonucci, Acerbi, Emerson; Barella, Jorginho, Verratti; Chiesa, Pellegrini, Immobile

Odds

Italy 10/11 Draw 5/2 Netherlands 29/10

The pressure is on for De Boer

The positivity around the national team has been drained since Ronald Koeman left, and the team is playing like it did in the dark days under Danny Blind and Guus Hiddink.

Something has to change and there needs to be some fresh ideas from De Boer to stop the rot. Against Italy, he has the chance to end the international period on a positive note and begin to win people around.

A win in Italy would put Netherlands top of the group and big favourites to progress. However, that is easier said than done against a good Italy side, which is hard to beat.

If Netherlands lose and lose badly, the pressure will already be massive on De Boer’s shoulders.




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