The Netherlands get their World Cup campaign underway on Monday with a clash against Senegal. Kick-off is at 16:00 BST.

After missing out on Russia 2018, the Netherlands are back in the World Cup and looking to better their third-place finish from 2014.

Once again they are coached by Louis van Gaal, who will oversee what will probably be his final management position as he is battling prostate cancer.

Van Gaal took over after the failed Euro 2020 campaign and he has overseen 15 games, in which the Netherlands has remained unbeaten. Oranje has reached the last four of the UEFA Nations League and topped their World Cup qualifying campaign ahead of Turkey and Norway.

The Netherlands go into Group A as the favourites to progress but they start the group with what may be their toughest test. Senegal is the reigning African Cup of Nations champions and they defeated Egypt to seal their place in Qatar.

Senegal is currently on a four-game unbeaten run and head coach Aliou Cisse has installed confidence in the African side.

The other two teams in the group are hosts Qatar and Ecuador with the South American side winning 2-0 in the World Cup opener on Sunday.

Team News

Van Gaal is set to be without the unfit Memphis Depay from the start with Vincent Janssen set to start up front alongside Steven Bergwijn.

Andries Noppert is widely expected to make his debut in goal, while Cody Gakpo should be in the midfield.

Netherlands will line up in a 3-4-1-2/5-3-2 for the clash with Virgil van Dijk, Jurrien Timber and Nathan Ake making up the back three.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Noppert, Dumfries, Blind, Timber, Van Dijk, Ake, De Jong, Koopmeiners, Gakpo, Bergwijn, Janssen

Senegal has been dealt a major blow with star man Sadio Mane out for the tournament, but the African side has a very talented squad.

Chelsea duo Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly are two-star names, while Nicolas Jackson of Villarreal or Boulaye Dia could come in for the injured Mane.

Cisse does have issues at left-back with Fodé Ballo-Touré not training on Sunday and Ismail Jakobs ruled out through injury. Moussa N’Diaye of Anderlecht has been called in and he could get the nod on Monday.

Possible Senegal line-up: E Mendy; Sabaly, Cisse, Koulibaly, N’Diaye; PM Sarr, N Mendy, I Gueye; I Sarr, Dia, Diatta

Odds

Netherlands 53/100 Draw 3/1 Senegal 6/1

Previous meetings

Netherlands and Senegal have never met before, so Monday will be a first for both nations.

Can the Netherlands start with a victory?

There is a lot of optimism surrounding the Dutch national team, who head into the World Cup unbeaten in Van Gaal’s third spell in charge of the nation.

Van Gaal led the Netherlands to the semi-finals back in 2014 and he is determined to win the trophy this time around. However, the opening tie will not be easy with Senegal capable of causing a lot of issues, even without Sadio Mane.

The lack of fitness for Memphis Depay is a problem for the Netherlands and Van Gaal will need someone to stand up and score the goals in the opener. Even though, Memphis will probably enter the pitch in the second half.

With ties against Ecuador and Qatar to come, it is important for the Netherlands to get off to a good start and a win would be huge. Three points would be perfect for Van Gaal’s side and it is achievable as long as they do not underestimate the opponents.




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