Stadion Feijenoord - Euro 2020 Qualification
The Netherlands have a chance to get their Euro 2020 qualification campaign firmly on track as they host Northern Ireland at De Kuip on Thursday. The travelling Green and White Army will be in full voice and Michael O’Neill’s players will need all the help they can get for this difficult assignment.
The Netherlands hammered Northern Ireland 6-0 the last time the countries met, which was in a friendly at the Johan Cruijff Arena back in 2012. The Irish have never tasted victory against the Oranje, with Holland winning three of their five meetings down the years, although their previous meeting before the last was 42 years ago.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk captains the Dutch, with likely future skipper Matthijs de Ligt partnering him at centre-back. Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong is expected to start alongside Georginio Wijnaldum in central midfield, while former Manchester United man Memphis Depay is set to win his 51st cap up top.
Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis has more than double that, with the 34-year-old in line to make his 114th international appearance. Leicester City’s Jonny Evans should start in central defence, with Sarpsborg 08 striker Kyle Lafferty leading the line in what could be a long and arduous night up front.
Netherlands v Northern Ireland Preview and Predictions
Northern Ireland’s 100% start to this tough Euro 2020 qualifying campaign finally came to an end last time out against Germany, and things don’t get any easier for the team ranked 33rd in the world this week. The Netherlands may still be a side in transition, but things are looking a lot brighter for the Oranje these days.
Ronald Koeman has his team playing some attractive football, with a strong blend of youth and experience as they bid to put their recent struggles behind them. He’s probably still short of a ruthless goalscorer, but the hosts should have enough going forward to break down what is usually a dogged Irish defence.
Indeed, the Netherlands have scored four times in three of their four fixtures so far in this qualifying campaign, losing 3-2 to Germany on home soil in their other match. The Oranje exacted their revenge by beating Joachim Low’s side 4-2 in the return, and have now scored 14 times in their four Euro 2020 fixtures.
The Irish meanwhile have only managed seven in five, following their 2-0 defeat to the Germans. O’Neill’s side beat both Belarus and Estonia home and away, which was an absolute necessity to stand any chance of finishing above either Holland or Germany. That remains unlikely though, with the Netherlands the 2/11 favourites to get the win on Thursday. Norn Iron are 20/1, with the draw at 37/5.
Netherlands to win to nil at 3/4
Considering Ireland don’t have a reputation as big goalscorers and failed to register at home to Germany last time out, this looks a good way to boost your odds on the home win.
Netherlands to win 4-0 at 9/1
The Irish are usually well-organised at the back, but the Netherlands have been banging in the goals so far in their qualifying campaign, beating Estonia 4-0 away from home last time out.