Having missed out on World Cup 2018 after finishing third in the 2014 edition, you could say the Netherlands – or should that be Holland? – have a roller coaster relationship with the tournament. Having reached the final in 1974, 1978 and 2010, they hold the record for being runners-up the most times without winning the tournament.
Louis van Gaal has instilled a similar good feeling which led to a third-place finish in 2014 as the Dutch qualified from a difficult Nations League group including Belgium and Wales. They will be looking to go far with the current crop of talent at the World Cup 2022.
Our footy trader Dylan Walsh takes you through what to expect from Group A side the Netherlands.
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Netherlands World Cup 2022 qualifying record
The Dutch qualified for the tournament in a relatively straightforward manner, recovering from a surprise loss to Turkey in the opening game before going unbeaten for the rest of the campaign. They finished with a goal difference of +25, scoring 33 and conceding eight (four of which came in the opening loss). Memphis Depay was top scorer (12) and assist maker (six) for qualifying overall.
Who is the Netherlands manager?
Louis van Gaal has plenty of international experience, having guided the Dutch to third place in the 2014 World Cup and is still a much more popular figure than his predecessor Frank De Boer, who led the underwhelming Euros campaign ending in a last 16 exit to Czech Republic. He’s got a very healthy 73 per cent win rate and they’re currently unbeaten in his current stint.
There is plenty of optimism around the Dutch camp. Known for his straight-talking personality, Van Gaal has been very vocal about Qatar hosting the tournament, calling it “ridiculous” and for “commercial reasons”. Keep an eye on his tournament press conferences, they are sure to provide some moments worth watching!
Netherlands World Cup squad
The Dutch have played a 3-4-1-2 or 4-3-3 with either a creative player in the hole and wing-backs or two wingers supporting Depay up front. Van Gaal has flicked between youth and experience and shown he is more than willing to give someone a chance if they deserve it. Virgil van Dijk is a certain starter with Stefan De Vrij, Matthijs De Ligt and Nathan Ake providing the experienced back up.
Jurrien Timber, Jordan Teze and Tyrell Malacia are the up-and-coming defenders within the squad. Denzel Dumfries provides an attacking threat at wing-back for both club (Inter Milan) and country. He scored twice and assisted once in their Nations League campaign.
In midfield, the Dutch rely on Frenkie De Jong as he ticks the balls over with Davy Klaassen, Teun Koopmeiners and Steven Berghuis playing multiple roles in centre or attacking midfield alongside him. This all links up to Depay and talented youngster Cody Gakpo, who provide the attacking threat going forward.
- Goalkeepers: Justin Bijlow, Remko Pasveer and Andries Noppert.
- Defenders: Daley Blind, Stefan de Vrij, Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Denzel Dumfries, Nathan Ake, Jurrien Timber, Tyrell Malacia and Jeremie Frimpong.
- Midfielders: Frenkie de Jong, Steven Berghuis, Davy Klaassen, Marten de Roon, Teun Koopmeiners, Kenneth Taylor and Xavi Simons.
- Forwards: Memphis Depay, Luuk de Jong, Steven Bergwijn, Vincent Janssen, Wout Weghorst, Cody Gakpo and Noa Lang.
Netherlands Key Player
With 12 goals and six assists in qualifying, Memphis Depay is the Netherlands’ most important player. He had a difficult summer where it wasn’t clear if would stay at Barcelona, but he enjoyed a decent first season with the Catalans, scoring 12 goals in 20 starts.
He is also easily the most experienced forward in their ranks, with Wout Weghorst having an indifferent run for Burnley last term before moving to Besiktas after relegation, and Cody Gakpo having just nine caps (at the time of writing) for the national side. If the Dutch are to go far in the tournament, you would expect Depay to continue his previous form.
Netherlands One to Watch
A Manchester United, Arsenal and last-minute Southampton and Leeds target over the summer, Cody Gakpo missed the chance to show his skills in the Premier League this season but if he continues his early season form with PSV, he could be the breakout star for the winter World Cup. He started the season on fire, scoring eight goals in his first seven starts for PSV, with manager Ruud van Nistelrooy praising the 23-year-old for his focus. Gakpo will know that a good tournament will help his chances of getting that big move in January or in the summer of 2023.
Netherlands World Cup Prospects
Holland were heavy favourites to progress out of Group A where they faced a Senegal side lacking in creativity, a mediocre Ecuador side with no standout stars and the feeble hosts Qatar. After progressing as group winners it’s the USA up next on Saturday.
If they pass the Sates the quality of opposition should be considerably higher and a semi-final appearance would be considered a successful tournament for the Dutch. They are still relatively young and if Depay were to get a serious injury, they would struggle in the forward areas of the pitch.
Despite this, Louis van Gaal’s unbeaten tenure in his third stint as Dutch manager would make you not rule them out as a dark horse to win the whole thing.
Netherlands World Cup betting tips
The road to the quarter-finals is relatively nice and they only have to win one more match for this to click. If they play with any form at all, there is a good chance that they could go this far or even further. NETHERLANDS STAGE OF ELIMINATION: SEMI-FINALS
Netherlands World Cup 2022 Winner Odds
Netherlands World Cup 2022 Fixtures
November 21, 4pm: Senegal 0-2 Netherlands
November 25, 4pm: Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador
November 29, 3pm: Netherlands 2-0 Qatar
December 3, 3pm: Netherlands v USA
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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
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