Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Nations League clash between Netherlands and Poland, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
That Netherlands will aim to make it three wins out of three in the UEFA Nations League if Poland start the journey to Rotterdam on Saturday evening.
Louis van GaalThe Netherlands side left late to claim a 2-1 win over Wales midweek, while the visitors were beaten 6-1 by Belgium.
Connor Roberts apparently had some choice words for Burnley’s teammates Wout Weghorst at the final whistle on Wednesday night when the Dutch giants scored a superb header to lead Oranje to a dramatic late success in Cardiff.
Rhys Norrington Davies had previously equalized for Wales in the following 92nd minute Teun Koopmeinersbut Weghorst’s brilliant finish kept up the Netherlands’ perfect run in the Nations League before Roberts asked the striker why he couldn’t repeat such performances for the Clarets.
Weghorst’s effort has kept the Netherlands top of Group 4 in League A with six points from a possible six and preparations for the forthcoming World Cup could hardly be better for the 2010 runners-up.
Since the Netherlands were knocked out of Euro 2020 by the Czech Republic, Van Gaal has now recorded eight wins and three draws in 11 games, and the Dutch have also gone 11 games unbeaten on home soil – winning in six of their last and seven scored at least two goals in each of those successes.
The failure of Van Gaal to keep a clean sheet in four consecutive games may worry Van Gaal, despite experimenting with a heavily modified starting XI against Wales and having previously torn their opponents to pieces in North West Europe .
For 42 minutes of Poland’s midweek contest with Belgium, Czeslaw Michniewicz‘s side were in dreamland after that Robert Lewandowskibut Belgium were quick to jump in and taught their continental counterparts a footballing lesson.
Leandro Trossard Twice off the bench hit next to goals Axel Witzel, Kevin De Bruyne, Leander Dendoncker and Lois Openda to humiliate Poland, but fears of relegation to the B-League should not yet creep up on the visitors of this weekend in Rotterdam.
The opening-day win over Wales leaves Poland comfortably third and three points clear of the Dragons, but Poland, who have maintained their place in League A since the Nations League was formed, face another daunting clash with Belgium.
Lewandowski’s shot against Belgium was, after all, the ninth away game in a row in which Poland have managed to come back, although they have kept just one clean sheet in unfamiliar territory during that period, and that won’t be music to the Brussels ears before the rested attackers of the Netherlands are used.
Furthermore, it has been 43 years since Poland last recorded any victory over the Netherlands, with Oranje claiming a 2-1 win for their fifth straight win of the game in the most recent 2020-21 Nations League encounter.
Form of the Dutch Nations League:
Netherlands form (all competitions):
Form of the Poland Nations League:
Poland form (all competitions):
The Netherlands lost Matthijs de Ligt sustained an unspecified injury in the final stages of the win against Wales and Van Gaal’s defensive third options were curtailed before the game Virgil van Dijk went on vacation.
Nathan Ake however, is primed to move backwards and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see that Jordan Teze Eliminated after Van Gaal gave a brutally honest assessment of his debut on Wednesday night – the same goes for the five-cap striker Cody Gakpo.
Frenkie deJong, Memphis Depay, Steven Bergwijn and Steven Berghuis will all expect to be flipped back onto their sides for Saturday’s game while not yet being a goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen is in the squad after Tim Krul‘s withdrawal.
In contrast, Poland didn’t suffer any physical injuries from their players on Wednesday night, although their morale was badly hit, and some changes are expected on the visitors’ side as well.
Grzegorz Krychowiak left the field at half-time after receiving a booking midweek and is a contender for elimination Bartosz Bereszynski could benefit from a move to a three-man defense to return in its place Robert Gum.
Wojciech Szczesny will expect to finally earn a few minutes in the Polish goal this month, and central defender Kamil Glik is preparing for his 95th cap for the national team.
Netherlands possible starting line-up:
cill eating; Dumfries, De Vrij, Ake, Blind; De Jong, Koopmeiners, Klaassen; Berghuis, Depay, Bergwijn
Poland possible starting line-up:
Szczesny; Bereszynski, Glik, Bednarek; Cash, Linetty, Zurkowski, Frankowski; Zielinski; Buksa, Lewandowski
We say: Netherlands 3:1 Poland
While a change in form and staff should see Poland’s defense tighten at least a little, the visitors’ defensive record away from home is bleak reading and a rested group of Dutch stars should have a twinkle in their eyes here.
Poland are always a threat up front but Van Gaal has had a superb period of rejuvenation at the helm of Oranje and expects his side to move up to nine points with relative ease.
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Our experienced tipsters at Sporita.com predict a home win in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their football best tips.Home win: data