Friendly: Netherlands vs England Prediction
England’s relatively smooth qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia has seen Gareth Southgate’s men reach the world finals without a real test of their credentials. That’s why the next few friendly matches are going to be pivotal to discover just how far this young England side can go in 2018. A successful tournament in Russia would banish the nightmare of Euro 2016 and the second-round defeat to Iceland, which, ultimately, cost Roy Hodgson his job.
By the end of March, the attention of the nation will be fixed firmly on the England national squad once again. The Six Nations fixtures will have been completed and the countdown will have begun for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. England’s first warm-up fixture for Russia is on the 23rd of March against the Netherlands in Amsterdam. The Three Lions were defeated 2-1 in their last meeting with a young Dutch side at Wembley back in March 2016, but they failed to qualify for this summer’s finals after finishing third in their qualification group.
England supremo Gareth Southgate may take the opportunity to give a few in-form Premier League players the chance to impress on the international stage and stake a late claim for a place on the plane to Russia. There are many players who have enjoyed solid seasons so far. Liverpool full-back Joe Gomez has been a shining light for the Reds and could be considered as a backup to Kyle Walker. Fit-again Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has enjoyed an injury-free spell with the Gunners this season, and would also be a contender to feature. In goal, Burnley’s rookie keeper Nick Pope has shone immensely since deputizing for the injured Tom Heaton this season and could be considered as an in-form understudy to the likes of Joe Hart and Jack Butland.
It’s quite likely that England’s squad will have a somewhat experimental feel to it. Meanwhile, the Netherlands, who are manager-less at the time of writing, is in something of a transitional period as they come to terms with not being at a major finals for a second successive tournament, having failed to qualify for Euro 2016, too. There were perhaps some green shoots of recovery in November’s friendly fixtures, keeping two clean sheets in comfortable victories over Scotland and Romania, respectively. Nevertheless, with the greatest respect to both those nations, they aren’t the kind of stiff test they need. Despite winning their three remaining World Cup qualifying matches, the Netherlands still missed out on Russia 2018, but with five competitive wins on the bounce, they will be in reasonable spirits against England at the Amsterdam Arena.
Netherlands: Cillessen, Blind, Veltman, Ake, van Dijk, de Ligt, Strootman, Propper, Babel, Berghuis, Depay.
England: Pope, Gomez, Stones, Maguire, Bertrand, Dier, Wilshere, Alli, Rashford, Vardy, Lingard.
Friendly - Netherlands vs. England Prediction:
With six of the last eight competitive games for the Netherlands going over 2.5 goals, and England likely to play a relatively young, attack-minded team, a bet on over 2.5 goals would certainly be a reasonable starting point here. Alternatively, you could go down the both-teams-to-score route, with both sides likely to line up with three front men. Either way, I don't think we’re likely to witness a third successive goalless draw for Gareth Southgate’s men.