Euro 2020: Netherlands eye big splash in first major tournament since 2014

Frank de Boer's ability to combine the talented youth with the experienced players and bring the best out of them as a team will be crucial to their success at Euro's.

Netherlands football team; Credit: Twitter/@OnsOranje

Netherlands will be playing in their first major tournament since their third place finish in 2014 FIFA World Cup. Since the World Cup in Brazil the Dutch are going through one of their worst phases in football history. Head coach Frank de Boer, who took charge of the team last September after Ronal Koeman left for Barcelona, is still yet to prove himself at the big stage. Like always, there is no shortage of talent. But it is De Boer’s ability to combine talented youth with the experienced players and bring the best out of them as a team will determine how far the Dutch will go in Euro 2020.

The Netherlands has a history of ‘so close yet so far’, when it comes to major tournaments. Winning the 1988 Euros was their only major title triumph. They have made it to the semi-finals and finals of major tournaments on a number of occasions. But they never get through the final hurdle.

They failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018. After that, Netherlands appointed former national team defender Ronald Koeman as the head coach.

Under Koeman, the Dutch started to play some fighting football; they defeated Germany 4-2 at Hamburg during the qualifiers was a testament to that. Meanwhile, he guided the team to a runner-up finish in the  UEFA Nations League finals in 2019.

When things appeared to be moving in the right direction, Koeman left to join Barcelona. It was another Dutch defender in De Boer who took charge of the team.

His managerial career is not so impressive but he won four Eredivise titles with Ajax. But the 51-year-old former national team captain knows the Dutch football very well.

He was their assistant manager when Netherlands reached the 2010 World Cup final.

Core of the team

A strong 26-man team was selected for the Euros. But De Boer took no replacement for the injured Donny van de Beek means they will go into Euros with 25 players.

The core of the team is pretty strong. Frenkie de Jong and Georginio Wijnaldum are the key midfield duo and Matthijs De Ligt is vital in defence. Marten de Roon and Memphis Depay will be key to their hopes up the field.

Defender Virjil van Dijk, meanwhile, is a notable absentee from the squad because of a knee injury.

Depay, who is expected to make a move to Barcelona this summer after scoring 20 goals for Lyon in Ligue 1 has been in scintillating form and will have the task of finding the back of the net. Barcelona midfielder De Jong is going to pull the strings and dictate the game. The 23-year-old is going to be their key to success in the competition.

30-year-old Winjaldum is going to be the work horse in the middle of the park, helping the defence and supporting the attackers whenever able to get forward. In the absence of Van Dinjk, 21-year-old De Ligt will partner Serie A champion Stefan de Vrij in the central defence.

Netherlands are placed in Group C and will open their campaign against Ukraine on Sunday before taking on Austria and North Macedonia on June 18 and 21 respectively.

Squad

GK – Jasper Cillessen (Valencia), Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Tim Krul (Norwich City)

Defenders: Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Daley Blind (Ajax), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Stefan de Vrij (Inter Milan), Denzel Dumfries (PSV), Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Joel Veltman (Brighton), Owen Wijndal (AZ).

Midfielders: Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Teun Koopmeiners (AZ), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moskva), Jurrien Timber (Ajax), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool).

Forwards: Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Memphis Depay (Lyon), Cody Gakpo (PSV), Donyell Malen (PSV Eindhoven), Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg).




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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