Poland and Netherlands go head-to-head on Wednesday, with both teams in with a slight chance to nab the top spot in Group 1 of UEFA Nations League A.

Poland were the leaders coming into this international break in Group 1 of UEFA Nations League A. However, an unceremonious 2-0 defeat to Italy meant that they have now lost the advantage and are now third on the table, with Netherlands winning their respective fixture against Bosnia & Herzegovina.

The Poles are still in with a chance to qualify for the Championship Playoffs though, with a win on Wednesday night over Netherlands necessary to still be in contention, as their fate will then depend on how Bosnia & Herzegovina fare against current group leaders Italy.

Netherlands were the runners-up in the inaugural edition of the UEFA Nations League, losing out to Portugal narrowly. However, their qualification to the Championship Playoffs is in danger, with the Dutch still a point behind Italy in second place. To qualify, Netherlands would have to win over Poland on Wednesday and hope Italy don’t do so at Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Poland are part of a potential dark horse for the Group of Death in UEFA Euros, with Spain and Sweden alongside them so far in that Group. The Poles would hope to find encouragement and build some sort of momentum within the squad with a potential qualification to the Championship Playoffs of the second iteration of UEFA Nations League A.

Their first meeting in Group 1 this season saw Netherlands narrowly emerge victorious over Poland with a 1-0 scoreline. As the two teams aim for the top spot and qualification to the Championship Playoffs, let us take a closer look at the two squads.

Team News & Tactics

Poland

28-year-old Jacek Goralski will not be available for selection, after having been sent off for accruing two yellow cards in the 2-0 loss to Italy that saw him spend just 32 minutes on the pitch. Mateusz Klich is available once again after serving his suspension.

Jerzy Brzeczek will be able to call upon the same back four as the game against Italy and despite the result, we should see the likes of Bartosz Bereszynski, Kamil Glik, Jan Bednarek and Arkadiusz Reca start against Netherlands, with Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Sczcesny in goal.

Brzeczek will retain the 4-2-3-1 like usual and hence, should start Grzegorz Krychowiak and Jakub Moder at the base of the midfield. Karol Linetty could lose his place to Piotr Zielinski in the hole, with Kamil Grosicki and Arkadiusz Milik out wide replacing the incumbent Sebastian Szymanski and Kamil Jozwiak.

Robert Lewandowski should lead the Polish attack in the crunch game.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Bereszynski, Glik, Bednarek, Reca; Krychowiak, Moder; Milik, Zielinski, Grosicki; Lewandowski

Netherlands

Most of Frank de Boer’s issues will be related to match fatigue or match fitness. Tim Krul should still be in goal for Netherlands against Poland, with Daley Blind and Stefan de Vrij serving as the central defenders in a 4-3-3 setup. Denzel Dumfries shined for Netherlands in their 3-1 win over Bosnia & Herzegovina and is an automatic selection on the right.

de Boer might prefer the experienced Patrick van Aanholt on the left over Owen Wijndal. In midfield, Georginio Wijnaldum is certain to start after playing a winning role against Bosnia & Herzegovina and being the in-form player in general for the nation. Davy Klaassen could make way for Manchester United star Donny van de Beek, with Frenkie de Jong set to complete the star-studded 3-man midfield for Netherlands.

Memphis Depay and Steven Berghuis should start out wide against Poland, with Donyell Malen a likely option through the middle. The PSV forward’s pace could be a threat to the experienced but ageing Polish backline, especially with Luuk de Jong having played a ton of matches since the last international break.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Krul; Dumfries, de Vrij, Blind, van Aanholt; van de Beek, Wijnaldum, de Jong; Berghuis, Malen, Depay

Key Stats

1. Netherlands have failed to win both of their away games in Group 1 of UEFA Nations League A 2020/21.

2. Poland’s last two games have had a red card shown in them for either of the participating teams.

3. Poland have a woeful record against Netherlands, winning just 3 of their 16 meetings. 

4. Georginio Wijnaldum has an absurd strike-rate for Netherlands as a midfielder, scoring 20 goals in 69 games.

5. Georginio Wijnaldum has scored 7 of the Netherlands’ last 13 goals.

Player to Watch

Donny van de Beek

Embed from Getty Images

The Manchester United midfielder should come in for the weary Davy Klaassen for the crunch tie against Poland. Frank de Boer has highlighted Donny van de Beek’s talent a lot and the midfielder proved it in the international friendly, scoring in the 1-1 draw against Spain in this international break.

Donny van de Beek’s industrious nature in midfield combined with his vision and ability on the ball makes for a lethal concoction and de Boer will hope the Manchester United midfielder can utilise the pace of Depay, Malen and Berghuis to full potential with his darting passes.

Prediction

Poland 1-2 Netherlands

This has all the makings of a genuine entertainer. Poland and Netherlands possess weapons of destruction in attack; players who are in form and hungry to prove themselves on the international level. This will be a battle between attacks of similar strength and two brilliant defence records in Group 1 of UEFA Nations League A.

This could play out similarly to their previous fixture in the group, with Netherlands running out narrow victors. Poland will have that extra motivation, playing at home this time around. The difference is likely to be a goal between the two teams.

It might just come down to the overall feel of the game or individual brilliance. But, we believe the Dutch will find inspiration from their magical run in the first iteration of the UEFA Nations League to nick this game away from Poland.

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