Sports Mole previews Friday’s UEFA Nations League clash between the Netherlands and Poland, including team news and predicted lineups.
Ronald Koeman‘s departure to take charge of Barcelona has seen Dwight Lodeweges appointed the nation’s caretaker manager, and the 62-year-old will be determined to pick up a positive result on home soil.
Drawn in Group 1 of League A, the Netherlands face a tough assignment in the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League, with Italy and Bosnia-Herzegovina making up a difficult section alongside a dangerous Poland outfit.
Holland actually reached the final of the 2018-19 competition, ultimately losing 1-0 to Portugal in the final, with Goncalo Guedes‘s second-half strike providing the difference between the two sides in Porto.
Oranje were in impressive form during qualification for Euro 2020, winning six of their eight matches and suffering just one defeat to finish second in Group C behind Germany.
Koeman led the Netherlands to five wins from their final six European qualification matches, and they will be present in next summer’s finals, having surprisingly missed out four years ago in France.
The home side have actually only lost three of their previous 15 matches against Poland in all competitions, recording six wins in the process, including victories in their last three encounters.
Poland, meanwhile, have also already qualified for next summer’s European Championships, winning eight of their 10 Group G matches to finish top of the section, six points clear of second-placed Austria.
Jerzy Brzeczek‘s side are yet to win a UEFA Nations League game, though, losing two and drawing two of their four previous games against Italy and Portugal in the 2018-19 edition.
That said, there is no question that Poland are a side to be taken seriously, having suffered just one defeat in their last 11 matches in all competitions, picking up eight victories in the process.
The White and Reds face another tough group in this competition, but a positive result against the Netherlands on Friday would lead them nicely into next week’s clash against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Netherlands Nations League form: WWDWL
Netherlands form (all competitions): WWWWDW
Poland Nations League form: DLLD
Poland form (all competitions): LDWWWW
There will be some notable absentees for the Netherlands in this game with Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt on the sidelines following shoulder surgery, while the likes of Daley Blind, Davy Propper and Tonny Vilhena will not be involved in the nation’s next two matches.
Stefan de Vrij should join Virgil van Dijk in central defence, while Marten de Roon is likely to get the nod alongside Frenkie de Jong in midfield, with Georginio Wijnaldum featuring slightly further forward.
As for Poland, the absence of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski is the main talking point, with the centre-forward giving an extended rest following the Champions League final.
Lewandowski scored 55 times in 47 appearances at club level last term, while he has netted 61 goals in 112 outings for Poland and will be a huge miss for the visitors on Friday night.
Netherlands possible starting lineup:
Cillessen; Dumfries, De Vrij, Van Dijk, Ake; De Roon, F. de Jong; Babel, Wijnaldum, Depay; L. de Jong
Poland possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Bereszynski, Glik, Bednarek, Karbownik; Goralski, Krychowiak; Szymanski, Zielinski, Grosicki; Piatek
We say: Netherlands 2-1 Poland
This is a very, very difficult game to predict as Poland cannot be taken lightly due to their experience and quality across the field. The Netherlands were in impressive form in the latter stages of 2019, though, and we fancy the hosts to just edge a close encounter on Friday night.
— to www.sportsmole.co.uk