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The Shorty: Netherlands To Win & Over 1.5 Goals
The Netherlands are quite a tricky team to gauge. One moment they are ripping Germany apart in their own backyard and the next they are 3-0 down to Turkey after 46 minutes. The Dutch appeared to be real contenders for Euro 2021 when they sealed their qualification in November 2019, but their credentials have probably taken a hit with the loss of Virgil Van Dijk.
Frank De Boer’s charges are not nearly as formidable without the Liverpool central defender among their ranks and it’s difficult to see them challenging for silverware in the summer without him. Having said that, they find themselves in a relatively straightforward group and should have no problems reaching the knockout stages for the first time since Euro 2008.
Wednesday 19:45 – Netherlands v Scotland
Sky Sports Main Event
They should also have little problems disposing of Scotland on Wednesday. The Scots have steadily improved during Steve Clarke’s two-year reign, but they still struggle against genuine top-tier nations.
Scotland were trounced by both Belgium and Russia shortly after Clarke’s appointment and are likely to struggle against a similarly abled Dutch squad on Wednesday night. They are also likely to have one eye on their Euro 2020 opener against the Czech Republic, which will be critical to their hopes of progressing to the knockout stages.
Value Play: Netherlands To Win To Nil
The Netherlands may be without their best defender, but they still boast a strong partnership in Daley Blind and Matthijs De Ligt and they are a good bet to keep a clean sheet against a Scottish side that struggles to score goals against top-level nations. Clarke’s men scored one goal in four meetings with Russia and Belgium in 2019, while they drew blanks on three occasions in the Euro 2020 play-offs and the UEFA Nations League last autumn.
Prior to their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign, Scotland had netted one goal or less in 11 of their 16 games under Clarke, only breaking that habit against Kazakhstan, Cyprus, San Marino, and a second-string Czech Republic outfit. They have also failed to score in six of those 16 games.
Scotland appear to have addressed their goalscoring issues since the beginning of their World Cup qualifying campaign, scoring seven goals in their opening three games. However, this must be taken with a pinch of salt considering they put four past the Faroe Islands in their most recent outing.
It remains to be seen if they can continue their goalscoring exploits against top-level opposition.
Long Shot: Netherlands To Win 2-0
The Dutch may have thrashed Gibraltar 7-0 in their most recent World Cup qualifier, but they displayed a worrying lack of a clinical edge in their more meaningful qualifiers against Latvia and Turkey.
De Boer’s outfit had a whopping 36 shots and enjoyed 77% in their home victory over Latvia, but only had two goals to show for it and were almost caught on the break when the game was delicately poised at 1-0.
They similarly enjoyed 66% of possession and had 20 shots on goal against Turkey, but failed to make that dominance count in a 4-2 defeat. They can expect to enjoy similar dominance against Scotland, who will sit in and try to make life difficult for their technically superior opponents.
The Dutch may struggle to break the Scots down, but it could prove to be a worthy exercise ahead of the upcoming European Championships.
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