*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
The Netherlands won the Euros in ’88, with THAT Marco van Basten volley the standout moment, but they have a mixed history results-wise. The home of ‘total football’, they’ve reached three World Cup finals, but have no title to show for it.
Euro 2020 is the first tournament they’ve qualified for since the 2014 Word Cup in Brazil under Louis van Gaal.
Ukraine – Amsterdam: Sunday, June 13, 8pm
Austria – Amsterdam: Thursday, June 17, 8pm
North Macedonia – Amsterdam: Monday, June 21, 5pm
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
The Dutch came through a group including Germany and Northern Ireland. Avoiding defeat against Northern Ireland was the main thing, although they had some awkward games against them, going 1-0 down at home with 15 minutes to go but still winning 3-1, then drawing 0-0 away in Belfast with the hosts missing a penalty.
Early in the group they lost at home to Germany, but then won in Hamburg six months later. Sandwiched in between all this, they did get to the inaugural Nations League final, topping a group with France and beating England in the semi-final. Things have not been so great recently under Frank de Boer, who became the first Netherlands coach to fail to win any of his first four games.
Frank de Boer replaced Ronald Koeman last summer, who could not turn down the chance to manage Barcelona. He did it all as a player, winning titles in Spain and the Netherlands, the Champions League and UEFA Cup and won more than 100 caps for the national team.
His coaching career was just as successful to begin with: assistant coach as the Dutch got to the final of 2010 World Cup, then taking over his beloved Ajax and winning four successive Dutch titles. He was even rumoured to be on Liverpool’s radar after Kenny Dalglish was sacked in 2012. However, things have gone a bit Pete Tong since.
After missing out on a fifth title on the last day of the season at Ajax, he resigned and went to Inter Milan where he lasted just 85 days in charge. It was even shorter at Palace, where he was sacked after only four Premier League games. Some success followed in the USA with Atlanta United before he replaced Koeman. He hasn’t made a glittering start with only four wins in his first nine games.
A 4-4-3 will be the order of the day. There’s no Virgil van Djik of course, and his absence will be felt. Norwich’s Tim Krul will likely get the nod in goal over previous No.1 Jasper Cillessen and the elderly statesman Marten Stekelenburg (formerly of Everton, Southampton and Fulham). With Krul starting, they’ll be no repeat of the 2014 World Cup antics where Van Gaal brought him off the bench with a minute to go to great affect as he saved two penalties in a shoot-out against Costa Rica.
Luuk de Jong offers something different to Memphis Depay in attack. I like de Jong but the Sevilla striker gives me the same feeling I had about Andy Cole in his early days at Manchester United – he seems to need a good few chances to actually score.
Frenkie de Jong. Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-finals was in large part due to the young de Jong. Barcelona soon snapped him up for €75 million and had the likes of Marc Overmars saying ‘he could become a Xavi or Iniesta’. He can do it all as a midfielder, box to box, holding, playmaker and even partner to Matthijs de Ligt at centre-back.
His most impressive quality is an ability to carry the ball, with that progression important in the modern game. You could toss him a bucket of sh*te and he still would control it without spilling a drop or letting the opposition even having a sniff of it. He is that good.
ONE TO WATCH
Georgino Wijnaldum. He made his full debut for Feyenoord aged just 16 – the youngest ever to play for the first team. Since then he has always delivered.
He went to PSV and captained them to their first title in seven years before going to Newcastle as Mike Ashley’s record signing at the time. After the Toon went down Liverpool snapped him up and he played a key role getting the Reds back on their perch as well as conquering Europe again.
He’s off this summer, but Liverpool fans will always remember his two goals in two minutes on that famous night… one of the all-time great super sub appearances against Barcelona.
The 30-year-old will captain the side in the absence of Van Dijk. In the 14 competitive games he has played for his country since the start of 2019 season, Wijnaldum has scored 11 goals, mostly from midfield. That is 30 per cent of the goals Netherlands scored in those games. It’s a phenomenal return and highlights just how important he is.
Here’s all the key data on the Netherlands squad.
- Squads and statistics correct at time of data sheet creation.
The last time they missed back-to-back major tournaments, they won the next one at Euro ’88… but don’t expect the same here. They might expect to reach the semi-finals but for me, they’ve no chance without Van Djik.
Captain Fantastic in Van Dijk’s absence, he was Dutch top scorer in qualifying with eight goals. Enough said.
READ MORE ON EURO 2021
- Channel your inner Gareth Southgate and win cash!
- Paddy’s top goalscorer betting offer gives you plenty of bang for your buck
- The 11 cities and stadiums hosting Euro 2021 fixtures
- Euro 2021 fixtures, dates and group details
- Euro 2021 tips: Who to back – and avoid – at this summer’s tournament
- Euro 2021 tips: Who to back – and avoid – to be the top goalscorer