Netherlands lock horns with Bosnia & Herzegovina on Sunday in a must-win encounter in the UEFA Nations League.
Frank de Boer will have one more chance to prove himself when the Netherlands play hosts to Bosnia & Herzegovina at the Amsterdam Arena on Sunday. The Oranje have lacked form and stability following the departure of the previous coach Ronald Koeman, with the team providing flat performances Mexico and Bosnia last month.
de Boer is still winless but will take pride from the fact that his men did manage to hold off Spain, in a 1-1 draw in midweek. It should give the hosts some much-needed confidence heading into this must-win fixture.
The Netherlands are currently third in Group 1, having failed to secure a single victory in four matches so far. However, with Poland and Italy facing each other on Sunday, a win against Bosnia & Herzegovina could go a long way in boosting their hopes of reaching the finals of the UEFA Nations League.
Bosnia might just be the ideal opponent as well, as the visitors have endured an awful run of form heading into this game. They are already at the rock bottom of the group table with just two points on the board and are coming on the back of a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Iran in a friendly this midweek.
However, the Zmajevi did manage to secure a goalless draw last time they met the Netherlands. Dusan Bajevic’s men will be hoping to replicate that performance. And, here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides as they lock horns at the Amsterdam Arena on Sunday.
Team News & Tactics
The Netherlands will be without Nathan Ake after he picked up an injury against Spain. He joins Virgil van Dijk in the list of key defensive absentees for the home side. It should cement a place for Stefan de Vrij and Joel Veltman at the heart of the four-man backline, though.
There could be changes elsewhere too with Tim Krul likely to replace Marco Bizot in goal while Patrick van Aanholt could replace the inexperienced Owen Wijndal.
In midfield, however, de Boer could stick to his guns given the importance of this clash. So we are expecting both Georginio Wijnaldum and Frenkie de Jong to retain their place in the starting lineup. They will play a key role in the double-pivot, looking to provide the stability in the middle of the park.
Donny van de Beek, meanwhile, was the scorer of the only goal for the Dutch national team in midweek. He is more than guaranteed to retain his role in the number ten slot, ahead of Davy Klaassen.
The Manchester United star will look to provide creative support in the final third, alongside the wide attacking duo of Quincy Promes and Memphis Depay while the Dutch attack is likely to be spearheaded by Donyell Malen, who is hoping to start ahead of Luuk de Jong.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Krul; Hateboer, Veltman, De Vrij, van Aanholt; de Jong, Wijnaldum; Promes, van de Beek, Depay; Malen
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Much like their opponents, Bosnia, too, are missing some of their key players including star striker Edin Dzeko, who is currently in quarantine after contract Covid-19. He was deputised by Irfan Hadzic in midweek, but as part of Bajevic’s rotation policy, we could see Armin Hodzic lead the line for the visitors this weekend.
The Kasimpasa forward will be hoping for some support from the creative trifecta of Rade Krunic, Edin Visca and Amer Gojak, all of who have the experience of playing at the highest level of football and should not be overwhelmed by this challenge.
In midfield, though, we could potentially witness an enticing duel between Miralem Pjanic and his Barcelona teammate de Jong, who will be operating at the base of the Dutch formation. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top in this one.
There could be changes at the back though, with key Arsenal left-back Sead Kolasinac coming back into the fray. His experience and leadership will be key as the away side looks to preserve a clean sheet, with the help of other defenders including
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Sehic; Cipetic, Hadzikadunic, Sanicanin, Kolasinac; Pjanic, Cimirot; Visca, Gojak, Krunic; Hodzic
- These two sides last met on October as they played out a goalless draw in the UEFA Nations League.
- Netherlands are one of the big teams yet to secure a single victory in the UEFA Nations League so far.
- Netherlands coach Frank de Boer is yet to win a single game after replacing Ronald Koeman in September.
- The hosts have kept only one clean sheet in their last five matches.
- Bosnia’s Dusan Bajevic, at the age of 71, is one of the oldest international managers in Europe.
Player to Watch
Memphis Depay struggled to impress the onlookers in the last game against Spain, which certainly wasn’t a good reflection given the fact the winger was linked with a move to FC Barcelona this summer. He looked abject for the most part of the game, failing to provide much penetration going forward.
On Sunday, however, the Dutchman will have the opportunity to make amends and boost his county’s chances of potentially finishing second or even first in the group.
Although Depay is pretty much a guaranteed starter, the ex-Man United star does need to provide more incision going forward. But for Bosnia, it will be imperative to keep a close eye on the player, who already shares a good connection with the likes of van de Beek and Wijnaldum.
Netherlands 1-0 Bosnia & Herzegovina
The Netherlands haven’t quite responded well to the appointment of de Boer. However, a relatively easy encounter against a struggling Bosnia side should give them the ideal platform to kickstart a good run of form, so we are expecting a narrow victory for the home side this weekend.