Netherlands will kickstart their post-Ronald Koeman era when they take on Poland on Friday, in the UEFA Nations League.

Netherlands will brace themselves for life without Ronald Koeman as interim coach Dwight Lodeweges looks to guide his country to a positive start to their UEFA Nations League campaign on Friday.

The Oranje have been drawn in a tough group, featuring alongside Poland, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Italy, with the former awaiting them at the Johan Cruijff Arena.

This time, however, they have to cope without Koeman, who has left the national team for Barcelona, leaving Lodeweges in charge. The 62-year-old has appeared quite positive heading into this game but he also needs to deliver a positive performance if Netherlands are to have any hopes of advancing through this group.

Poland, meanwhile, are coming on the back of a strong European Qualifiers campaign and as underdogs, they will be expected to take a cautious approach in this game. However, with star player Robert Lewandowski missing, coach Jerzy Brzeczek has a tough job on his hands against Netherlands this week.

And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides as international football gets back underway following a long layoff due to Coronavirus.

Team News & Tactics

Netherlands

There have been some notable omissions from the Netherlands camp heading into this fixture, with the likes of Daley Blind, Davy Propper, Tonny Vilhena and Wout Weghorst not making the team. Tim Krul, however, has returned although it is Jasper Cillessen who is likely to get the nod in between the sticks.

Lodeweges is likely to stick with a strong lineup, meaning we could expect Manchester City’s new signing Nathan Ake to feature at left-back, with Denzel Dumfries starting on the opposite flank, ahead of Kenny Tette and Hans Hateboer.

Virgil van Dijk is a guaranteed starter at the heart of the four-man backline alongside the equally experienced figure of Stefan de Vrij, although Joel Veltman and the young Perr Schuurs are also options.

In midfield, Lodeweges should stick to Frenkie de Jong and Maarten de Roon forming the double-pivot, with Georginio Wijnaldum starting in a slightly advanced role. It will be interesting to see how the Liverpool star, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona, combine alongside de Jong this week.

And finally, in the attack, Memphis Depay and Ryan Babel could get the nod ahead of Steven Bergwijn and Quincy Promes in the wide-attacking positions, with Luuk de Jong spearheading the Netherlands attack.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Cillessen; Dumfries, de Vrij, van Dijk, Ake; de Roon, de Jong; Babel, Wijnaldum, Depay; de Jong

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Poland

Missing out on Lewandowski, who has been given an extended rest, will surely serve as a massive blow for Poland in the next two matches. Fortunately, they do have Krzysztof Piatek waiting on the wings, looking to make an impact just before the Bundesliga stars in two weeks’ time.

Unstoppable. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Lewandowski has been given a rest after winning the Champions League. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The Hertha Berlin man ought to lead the Poland attack in the absence of Lewandowski, and might be partnered by the creative trio of Kamil Grosicki, Piotr Zielinski and Sebastian Szymanski. These three will be in charge of crafting chances in the final third as Poland look to breach the opposition defence.

In midfield, Grzegorz Krychowiak is a guaranteed starter alongside Jacek Goralski in the double-pivot. Their presence in the side could be key in Poland’s second line of press as they look to prevent the technically gifted Netherlands midfielders from dictating the game.

Defensively, Brzeczek could opt for a mix of experience and youthful exuberance, with Michal Karbownik starting at left-back with Bartosz Bereszynski featuring on the opposite side. The central defensive partnership will consist of Kamil Glik and Jan Bednarek, both of whom will look to protect Wojciech Szczesny in goal.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Bereszynski, Glik, Bednarek, Karbownik; Goralski, Krychowiak; Szymanski, Zielinski, Grosicki; Piatek.

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Key Stats

  • Netherlands’ record in 15 games against Poland is W6 D6 L3. The Dutch are unbeaten in their last seven encounters (W4 D3) since 2-0 EURO qualifying loss in Chorzow in May 1979.
  • Poland are yet to win in seven games against Oranje in Netherlands (D5 L2).
  • The teams of Netherlands and Poland have met just once in this decade, with the game ending in 2-1 victory for the Dutch side away from home in 2016.
  • In their last game, Netherlands trashed the visiting Estonia 5-0 in November of last year. They are undefeated in six straight matches, recording five victories in the process, with their last defeat coming at the hands of Portugal in the final of the previous edition of the Nations League.

Player to Watch

Memphis Depay

Man in form (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Man in form (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Depay is, without a doubt, one of the best players in this fixture and particularly for the home side, he will play a key role as the Oranje look to kickstart their campaign on a positive note. His return from injury served as a massive boon for Olympique Lyon, especially in the UEFA Champions League last season. And it should help his country as well.

The ex-Manchester United forward has been linked with a move to FC Barcelona this summer following the arrival of Koeman, meaning a strong performance against Poland could potentially help him earn a move to Camp Nou this summer. So he will be the one to keep an eye on this Friday.

Prediction

Netherlands 1-1 Poland

Despite the absence of Lewandowski, Poland does have a strong team and have improved a lot in recent years. Their counter-attacking game, especially with Piatek leading the line, could cause problems for the Dutch defence. So, The Hard Tackle is expecting the two teams to play out a 1-1 draw in Amsterdam in Friday.

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