31st March, Amsterdam Arena, 2045 CET
Spain visit Amsterdam to play against Netherlans tonight and the La Roja players would be looking for a revenge of their humiliating defeat at the hands of Oranje in Brazil World Cup.
Spain had a World Cup to forget as they got out in the group stages itself. There was a pressure on Spanish FA to drop Vicente del Bosque after a disastrous outing in Brazil but they have kept their faith in the former Real Madrid manager. Spain have made a positive start to their transition phase but they are still looking unconvincing.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, Netherlands performed better than expectations in Brazil but now, under new coach Guus Hiddink, they have struggled badly. The game against Spain will be a big test of their character.
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Netherlands played their Euro 2016 qualifier against Turkey on Saturday in which, an injury-time equaliser from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar rescued a 1-1 draw for them.
Louis van Gaal resigned as a coach of Netherlands after the World Cup and Guus Hiddink was appointed as his successor. But Hiddink has so far failed to make his mark as Oranje are currently languishing in the third spot in their Euro qualifying group.
Guus Hiddink has not been able to find the right balance yet and this could be seen from his recent results. There are also reports of Hiddink losing the support of dressing room. Meanwhile, it will be a historic moment for Wesley Sneijder as he will be equaling Frank de Boer’s record of 112 international appearances.
Hiddink has said ahead of this game that Spain will be looking for revenge but his team is ready to stop them.
“The Spanish will want revenge and will want to erase the memory of that World Cup defeat in Brazil,” said Hiddink.
“It will therefore be a difficult match but one that will allow me to experiment.
“Because the crucial match will be the one against Latvia in June.”
In his interview, Hiddink also denied any reports of extra pressure because of their recent poor results.
“I’ve put my bullet-proof vest on,” he joked.
“To tell the truth, I haven’t really read the papers.
“I had training to prepare ahead of tomorrow’s (Tuesday’s) match (against Spain).
“I have paid attention to the shots directed at me. The media are very good at manipulating public opinion.”
Predicted Line Up: Cillessen; Janmmat, Vrij, Indi, Blind; Affelley, De Jong, Sneijder, Depay; Dost Huntelaar
Spain secured an unspectacular victory against Ukraine on Friday. The La Roja has made some progress after the World Cup as they have won four out their five Euro 2016 qaulifiers.
Spain boss Del Bosque has given a chance to new talent like Isco, Alvaro Morata, Paco Alcacer, Juanmi after the World Cup while the likes of Xavi Hernandez, Xabi Alonso, David Villa and Fernando Torres are no longer part of this La Roja squad.
However, in spite of making so many changes in his squad, it seems that Del Bosque is still struggling to find the right balance. Del Bosque started with both, Iniesta and Isco, on Friday and he is likely to stick with them tonight as well.
Iker Casillas has failed to perform according to expectations at Real Madrid in the new year and De Gea is likely to get the chance ahead of him tonight. And if Casillas gets dropped, then Iniesta will wear the armband for La Roja tonight.
Spain were humiliated by Netherlands in the World Cup but coach Del Bosque has said that he is not looking for a revenge.
“I have no thirst for revenge against Netherlands,” Del Bosque told reporters.
“Let’s play a nice game and keep up our hard work. We have scored 14 goals and conceded just three goals since the World Cup.
“While acknowledging that things haven’t been perfect, I see good things. We are heading in the right direction.”
Predicted Line Up: De Gea; Juanfran, Ramos, Pique, Alba; Koke, Busquetes, Iniesta; Isco, Morata, Silva
Netherlands 1-2 Spain
There is no doubt that Spain will be looking for a revenge for their humiliating World Cup defeat tonight. And considering the current form, La Roja look in much better shape than Oranje.
Blast From The Past