Frank de Boer will have one final opportunity to experiment with his Netherlands setup as they take on Georgia in a friendly on Sunday.

With just over one week remaining before the start of the European Championship 2020, the returning Netherlands will wrap up their preparation as they host Georgia at De Grolsch Veste on Sunday.

The Dutchmen returned to action with a 2-2 draw with Scotland in midweek, with Memphis Depay scoring a brace to cancel out a potential winner from Kevin Nisbet.

There are a lot of room for improvement for Frank de Boer’s men ahead of the Euro, and as the tournament approaches, the former Ajax manager is likely to make chops and changes in regards to his tactics.

Netherlands have been quite fortunate, though, as they are placed in Group C of the Euro, where they face the task of overcoming Austria, Ukraine and North Macedonia. The Oranje are also set to play all of their group games at home, in the iconic Amsterdam ArenA.

Georgia, on the other hand, are not competing in the Euro. They started the summer with a 2-1 win over Romania in a friendly but do not play until September when they are expected to take on Kosovo and Spain in a couple of vital matches in European qualifiers for next year’s FIFA World Cup.

Here, at the Hard Tackle, we will take a look at these two sides ahead of this international friendly in Enschede this midweek.

Tactics & Team News

Netherlands

Frank de Boer interestingly experimented with a back three in the game against Scotland. He is likely to revert to a traditional back-four this time around, with Jurrien Timber likely to be sacrificed.

It will pave the way for Stefan de Vrij and Matthijs de Ligt to form the crux of the Netherlands backline, with additional support from the fullbacks in Joel Veltman and Owen Wijndal, with the former coming in at the expense of Denzel Dumfries.

It appears there might be a change in goal as well, with Maarten Stekelenburg replacing Tim Krul. It will be an opportunity for the veteran goalkeeper to provide himself, as Frank de Boer is still indecisive about his number one, in between the sticks.

Further changes could be in order in central midfield, as Ryan Gravenberch gets a chance to prove himself, alongside the Frenkie de Jong and the experienced Ajax teammate Davy Klaassen.

Klaassen should operate in the most advanced role of the midfield trio, while de Jong will look to screen the backline, in a more conservative role. The Barcelona midfielder isn’t expected to play the full ninety minutes, however, as de Boer wouldn’t want to risk any injuries.

As for the attacking department, Wout Weghorst failed to make an impression in the game against Scotland and might be replaced by another experienced forward in Luuk de Jong. The Sevilla forward will hope to partner Memphis Depay and Steven Berghuis, both of who are to operate out wide.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Stekelenburg; Veltman, de Vrij, de Ligt, Wijndal; Gravenberch, F. de Jong, Klaassen; Berghuis, L. de Jong, Depay

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Georgia

Georgia’s marquee manager Willy Sagnol may want to ring in the changes in this dead rubber affair against Netherlands this week, especially after facing Romania only a few days ago.

The former Bayern Munich assistant coach is, unfortunately, missing his star attacker Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, so hopes will once again be pinned on the wide attacking duo of Levan Shengelia and captain Tornike Okriashvilli to offer the creative essence in the final third.

The attack, meanwhile, is likely to be led by Georges Mikautadze after scoring an important goal against Romania. Sagnol does have Budu Zivzivadze as a potential alternative.

Georgia, though, are likely to defend most of the time, which means we could expect a deep defensive block. There could be a start for Guram Kashia at the heart of the backline, with Otar Kakabadze, Davit Khocholava and Irakli Azarovi completing the rest of the back-four.

And finally, in midfield, the onus will be on the experienced Murtaz Daushvilli to screen the backline, with additional support from Giorgi Aburjania and Nika Kvekveskiri.

Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Mamardashvilli; Kakabadze, Kashia, Khocholava, Azarovi; Daushvilli; Shengelia, Aburjania, Kvekveskiri, Okriashvilli; Mikautadze

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Key Stats

  • This will be the first time Netherlands and Georgia will meet each other, which is quite surprising as the two belong in the same continent.
  • This is Frank de Boer’s 11th game in charge of Netherlands, with the former Crystal Palace boss having won just four of his first ten games so far, after initially starting his reign with a 1-0 defeat to Mexico.
  • Georgia, too, have a new coach of their own in Willy Sagnol, who was appointed in February. The former Bayern Munich player has managed four matches, winning one, losing twice and drawing the other.
  • Netherlands have scored at least two or more goals in each of their last six international matches, last failing to match that tally against Italy.
  • All three of Georgia’s wins have come away from home. Their last home victory came against Gibraltar way back in 2019.

Player to Watch

Frenkie de Jong

Frenkie de Jong of Ajax speaks to media during a press one-to-one conference at Saint George's Park National Football Centre in Staffordshire, England on 18th July 2018. Ajax play British team Wolverhampton Wanderers in a pre-season friendly soccer match on Wednesday. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

Time for de Jong to step up and become a leader. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

Although this might be Netherlands’ long-awaited return to a major competition in international football, Frank de Boer will be well aware of the fact that it is a transitional one, as players like Georginio Wijnaldum look to pass the touch to new emerging leaders.

One of those said leaders could be Frenkie de Jong. The Barcelona midfielder is tipped to become the next big thing is Dutch football, having already become an indispensable figure for the Catalonian giants.

The former Ajax star has the leadership, composure and skill to become the face of the Netherlands side going forward, especially keeping in mind the arrival of next year’s FIFA World Cup. de Jong, therefore, will be keen on enjoying a good tournament in Euro 2020 and a solid performance against Georgia could go a long way in helping the midfielder gain the much-needed confidence.

Prediction

Netherlands 2-0 Georgia

Netherlands faced many problems in the game against Scotland, but Georgia is a significantly weaker opponent, especially under Willy Sagnol who is still yet to get his balance right after taking charge in February. We are thus expecting Oranje to dominate this tie, thanks to their attacking firepower, although they need to be careful on the break. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-0 victory for the hosts.

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