Netherlands get their Euro 2020 campaign underway on Sunday against Ukraine in the Johan Cruijff ArenA. Kick-off in Amsterdam is at 20.00 BST.

For the first time since the 12th of July 2014, Netherlands will step onto the pitch at a major tournament when they face Ukraine in Amsterdam on Sunday evening.

After two missed tournaments, the Dutch national team is back and they are looking for glory at Euro 2020. However, expectations have been dampened since Frank de Boer took over from Ronald Koeman a year ago.

Preparations have not been smooth with De Boer trying to implement a 5-3-2 formation just weeks ahead of the clash with Ukraine. A 2-2 draw with Scotland saw De Boer widely criticised before Oranje defeated Georgia 3-0 in a not overly convincing performance.

Netherlands must now raise their game for a difficult opening tie against a Ukraine side that topped their qualifying group ahead of Portugal and Serbia. Andriy Shevchenko’s side also won their two warm-up games against Northern Ireland and Cyprus, and they are expected to make the knockout rounds in this tournament.

Team News

Matthijs de Ligt is out of the game with a groin issue meaning that either Jurrien Timber or Nathan Ake will come into the starting line-up.

De Boer has confirmed that Maarten Stekelenburg will start in goal, but the coach still has to decide who will start in midfield and who will partner Memphis Depay up front. At the moment, Marten de Roon and Wout Weghorst seem the most likely starters.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Stekelenburg, Dumfries, Wijndal, De Vrij, Timber, Blind, De Roon, Frenkie, Wijnaldum, Memphis, Weghorst

There is an expectation that Shevchenko will match Netherlands and go with a five-man defence for the clash, despite qualifying in a 4-3-3.

Former PSV Eindhoven loanee and Manchester City star Oleksandr Zinchenko will start in midfield along with danger-man Ruslan Malinovskyi the one to watch.

Possible Ukraine line-up: Bushchan; Karavayev, Zabarnyi, Kryvtsov, Matviyenko, Mykolenko; Shaparenko, Sydorchuk, Zinchenko; Malinovskyi, Yaremchuk

Odds

Netherlands 4/7 Draw 11/4 Ukraine 11/2

Previous Meetings

The two nations have only met twice before with Netherlands recording a 3-0 victory in 2008 before a meeting two years later ended in a 1-1 draw.

Sunday will be the first competitive meeting between the two nations.

Key Players

Memphis Depay

Memphis Depay would have missed the tournament if it was played last year but he is fully fit and has had an outstanding campaign for Lyon.

The soon to be Barcelona striker netted 20 times and provided 12 assists in Ligue 1 this season. He is also on fire for Netherlands having netted seven goals in his last seven internationals. He got three in the two warm-up games.

Memphis heads into the tournament as one of the most dangerous forwards in Europe.

Ruslan Malinovskyi

The 28-year-old attacking midfielder is the key-man for this Ukrainian side and could punish the Netherlands defence if given any time on the ball.

Malinovskyi has had a very impressive campaign for Atalanta, providing eight goals and 12 assists in Serie A this season. Six of those goals and nine of the assists came in the final 11 games of the campaign, meaning he is heading into the Euros in outstanding form.

A good start key

Expectations around the Dutch national team are low heading into the tournament and many are tipping Ukraine to win this group ahead of Oranje.

Frank de Boer will be aiming to prove the doubters wrong and get off to a good start in the tournament. Topping the group will be key and starting with a win against a tough Ukraine side would set Netherlands on the right path.

It is going to be great to see Netherlands back at a major tournament and in front of 12,000 fans in the Johan Cruijff ArenA. Lets hope the Oranje players rise to the occasion.




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