It’s been eight lengthy years because the Netherlands final performed a World Cup match, a 3-0 victory over Brazil that earned them the honour of third place in 2014. They return now with the identical supervisor, Louis van Gaal, whose techniques made the Dutch one of the entertaining groups in Brazil, however the path left behind by his subsequent successors and then predecessors largely explains why the time in between their final World Cup appearances has been so lengthy, in addition to chaotic.
Missing out on Euro 2016 beneath Guus Hiddkink was adopted by their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup beneath Dick Advocaat, in addition to a lot soul-searching. The Netherlands appeared to regain their spark beneath Ronald Koeman and swiftly reached Euro 2020, however his departure to Barcelona left them in a lurch. The Dutch failed to impress on their return to a significant event and there was little shock when Frank de Boer departed simply two days after their tepid spherical of 16 defeat to the Czech Republic.
And so up stepped Van Gaal, for his third spell in control of the nationwide staff and first job since leaving Manchester United in 2016. Van Gaal – who earlier this 12 months underwent a profitable operation on an aggressive type of prostate most cancers – inherited a squad that’s much less polished than the late golden period of 2014, however nonetheless one that’s loaded with star expertise. Virgil van Dijk, Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt will characteristic at a World Cup for the primary time and beneath Van Gaal, the Netherlands have rediscovered a few of their pleasure, too.
Although they squeezed previous Turkey and Norway in qualifying, their Nations League outcomes since have proven promise – together with a thumping 4-2 win over rivals Belgium. Indeed, after qualifying for the Nations League finals there may be an argument that the Dutch are probably the most in-form European aspect heading into the World Cup. With Van Gaal set to step down as soon as once more after the World Cup, can he depart the nation with one other memorable and surprising run?
Here is every thing you want to know:
Group fixtures(all instances GMT)
Monday 21 November: Senegal vs Netherlands – 16:00
Friday 25 November: Netherlands vs Ecuador – 16:00
Tuesday 29 November: Netherlands vs Qatar – 15:00
Confirmed Netherlands squad
Goalkeepers: Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord), Remko Pasveer (Ajax), Andries Noppert (sc Heerenveen)
Defenders: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Nathan Aké (Manchester City), Daley Blind (Ajax), Jurriën Timber (Ajax), Denzel Dumfries (Internazionale), Stefan de Vrij (Internazionale), Mathijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich), Tyrell Malacia (Manchester United), Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen)
Midfielders: Frenkie de Jong (FC Barcelona), Steven Berghuis (Ajax), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta), Cody Gakpo (PSV), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Kenneth Taylor (Ajax), Xavi Simons (PSV)
Forwards: Memphis Depay (FC Barcelona), Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), Vincent Janssen (Royal Antwerp FC), Luuk de Jong (PSV), Noa Lang (Club Brugge), Wout Weghorst (Beşiktaş)
Ones to watch
Star – Virgil van Djik: An ACL harm cruelly denied the Liverpool defender his first look at a significant event when he missed Euro 2020, and he’ll relish the chance of taking part in in Qatar. He stays one of many world’s high defenders, returning to his finest final season, and though there have been query marks this marketing campaign – the presence of the colossus helps convey certainty and assurance to the aspect that was lacking on the Euros.
Breakout expertise – Cody Gakpo: Manchester United sniffed across the PSV winger this summer season and their curiosity was mirrorer by a number of different Premier League sides. Homegrown expertise not often stays within the Eredivisie for lengthy and the 23-year-old certainty appears to be the following one off the block. A tall, rangy ahead who appears to reduce inside onto his proper foot and is just not shy of taking pictures at purpose, he’s among the many high goalscorers in Europe this season.
The Netherlands ought to high Group A and might catch the attention within the early phases of the World Cup with objectives and entertaining soccer that will even have some speaking up Van Gaal’s aspect as darkish horses. The Dutch’s beneficial draw ought to prolong to the spherical of 16, the place they might face Wales or the United States until England make a multitude of Group B. However there’s a purpose why the Netherlands aren’t fairly within the high tier of World Cup contenders, and that might be came upon within the quarter-finals, most likely by Argentina. Defeated within the quarter-finals.