Another turbulent week for the Dutch national team ends on Tuesday with a friendly against Italy at the Amsterdam Arena.

The clash with Italy was meant to be a glamour friendly after Netherlands dispatched Bulgaria in the World Cup qualifiers. Instead, it is a welcome distraction from what has been another disastrous international break for Oranje.

The horrid 2-0 defeat in Sofia on Saturday has left Netherlands facing an uphill task to qualify for the World Cup and without a head coach after Danny Blind was finally given his marching orders by the KNVB. The coach’s appointment two years ago has proved to be a disaster with the national team only winning seven out of seventeen games since he took over.

Fred Grim will take charge on Tuesday night to start what is hopefully a new and more positive era for the Dutch national team.

Opponents Italy arrive in Amsterdam on the back of a comfortable 2-0 win over Albania which keeps them level on points with Spain at the top of their qualifying group. Giampero Ventura’s side have only lost once since the European Championships last summer and that was a 3-1 defeat at home to France in a friendly.

Team news

Grim didn’t take a press conference before the game so nothing is really known on what formation or tactics he will decide to use against Italy. Arjen Robben remained with the squad after the defeat to Bulgaria but will be unlikely to play while Stefan de Vrij is definitely out through injury.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Cillessen, Veltman, Blind, Hoedt, Martins Indi, Strootman, Wijnaldum, Vilhena, Lens, Memphis, Dost

Ventura is set to use the friendly in Amsterdam to test a number of uncapped youngsters and a new formation, with the Azzurri set to line up in a 3-5-2. AC Milan’s  18-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is set to make his first national team start, while Atalanta striker Andrea Petagna could also come into the team.

Possible Italy line-up: Donnarumma, Bonucci, Rugani, Romagnoli, Darmian, Zappacosta, Verratti, De Rossi, Gabliardini, Petagna, Insigne

Previous meetings

Italy have always been a difficult opponent for Oranje. In 19 previous meetings, Netherlands have only won three times, while nine of those matches ended in defeat. The last tie was a friendly in 2014 which saw Italy run out comfortable 2-0 winners after Bruno Martins Indi was shown an early red card.

The last meeting in Amsterdam came in 2013 which ended in a 1-1 draw. The European Championships in 2008 was the last time Netherlands recorded a victory over the Italians in what was a 3-0 win.


Netherlands 17/10 draw 21/10 Italy 17/10

What we want to see

The press after the defeat to Bulgaria has once again been full of articles around the demise of Dutch football. Tuesday’s match with Italy may not have much consequence but Oranje players must take some responsibility and show some passion, which was sorely missed on Saturday night.

A win against Italy would go some way to lifting the gloom around Oranje and show potential new head coaches that there is plenty to work with going forward.

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