Preparations for the World Cup intensify for the Netherlands on Saturday as they face Denmark in an international friendly. The kick-off in the Johan Cruijff ArenA is at 19.45.

It has been four months since Netherlands booked their place in the World Cup with a 2-0 win over Norway, and now the real work begins ahead of the World Cup in November.

Louis van Gaal has used this week to test out a new system, believed to be 3-4-1-2 and that will be used for the first-time on Saturday when Denmark visit the Johan Cruijff ArenA. Van Gaal has missed some training sessions after testing positive for covid, but he will be on the touchline on Saturday.

Opponents, Denmark, have also qualified for the World Cup and they will be looking to build on a strong showing at the European Championships, where they reached the semi-finals.

Denmark won nine of their 10 World Cup qualifiers and finished ahead of Scotland in the table.

Team News

Stefan de Vrij and Justin Bijlow were not named in the squad, while Jurrien Timber, Cody Gakpo and Jordan Teze have all been forced to pull out of the squad injured.

Van Gaal has been tight-lipped over his formation but suggested that Mark Flekken will make his debut in goal, while Nathan Ake or Daley Blind will start as centre-back.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Flekken, Dumfries, Wijndal, De Ligt, Van Dijk, Blind, Frenkie, Koopmeiners, Wijnaldum, Danjuma, Memphis

Denmark may line-up with Christian Eriksen in the starting eleven for the first time since he suffered a heart issue at the Euro’s. However, it is more likely that he starts on the bench.

Former Ajax striker Kasper Dolberg could begin up front. Key defenders Simon Kjaer and Andreas Christensen will miss the tie.

Possible Denmark line-up: Schmeichel; Andersen, Vestergaard, Nelsson; Bah, Hojbjerg, Delaney, Maehle; Skov Olsen, Dolberg, Larsen


Netherlands 10/11 Draw 5/2 Denmark 3/1

Previous meetings

The two nations have met 29 times in total with Netherlands coming out on top in 12 of those, while Denmark have eight wins.

The last meeting was during the infamous 2012 European Championships when Netherlands slumped to a 1-0 loss in their opening group game. It led to 3 straight losses for Oranje.

First glimpse of the Van Gaal masterplan

Louis van Gaal has stated many times that his new system gives Netherlands the best chance of winning the World Cup and we will see it in action for the first time against Denmark and then Germany next week.

With only a few more games before the tournament gets underway, Van Gaal will need to get his message across and it will be interesting to see how this Oranje will differ from Frank de Boer’s 5-3-2.

The worry for Van Gaal will be the attack with Memphis on the bench for Barcelona, while Noa Lang and Steven Bergwijn have been struggling for game time. This means Arnaut Danjuma is the most in-form Oranje attacker at the moment and he will be looking to lock in his place.

There is also the question of who will began as the number ten. Gini Wijnaldum, Guus Til, Davy Klaassen and Steven Berghuis can all play the role, so who will get the nod from Van Gaal?

It should be an entertaining tie on Saturday and a special one for Christian Eriksen, who returns to the ArenA. Hopefully, it will be a big win for Oranje and a positive step towards Qatar.

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