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World Cup: Netherlands team profile

The Netherlands are arguably the best footballing nation never to have won a World Cup and they will be hoping to put that right in Qatar.

Runners-up three times, most recently in 2010, the Dutch are 12/1 to be crowned world champions in 2022 and the legendary Louis van Gaal has returned for his third spell as coach of the national team.

The squad includes players from some of Europe's top clubs and the Netherlands will be desperate to make up for their Euro 2020 disappointment when, having won all three group matches, they suffered a surprise last-16 defeat against the Czech Republic.

WhatWorld Cup
WhereQatar
When20th November - 18th December 2022
How to watchAll matches will be shown on either the BBC or ITV
OddsBrazil 9/2, England 11/2, France 6/1, Argentina 7/1, Spain 8/1

What is the Netherlands' World Cup record?

After appearing at only two of the first nine World Cups, the Netherlands made their mark on the world stage by reaching the finals of the 1974 and 1978 tournaments, suffering heartbreaking defeats to West Germany and Argentina.

The Dutch failed to qualify for the 2018 finals in Russia but before then they had been regulars in the knockout stages of World Cups, reaching the semi-finals in 1998 and 2014 and losing, agonisingly, in extra-time against Spain in the 2010 final in South Africa.

PositionYear
Runners-up1974, 1978, 2010
Third place2014
Fourth place1998

Quarter-finals

1994
Last 161934, 1938, 1990, 2006

How did the Netherlands qualify?

After missing out on the previous World Cup, the Netherlands booked their place in Qatar in convincing fashion, scoring 33 goals in 10 games to top Group G.

They lost their opening fixture 4-2 in Turkey but avenged that defeat with a 6-1 rout of the section runners-up in September 2021 and sealed top spot by beating Norway 2-0 thanks to two late goals.

The Dutch continued their prolific goalscoring form in June's Nations League fixtures, taking 10 points from four matches including a memorable 4-1 away win over neighbours Belgium.

Who is in the Netherlands' group?

The Netherlands appear to have a decent draw in Group A against World Cup hosts Qatar, Africa Cup of Nations champions Senegal, and Ecuador, who finished fourth in the South American qualifying standings.

They are 2/5 to win the section although they cannot afford a sluggish start as they face their toughest group rivals, 9/2 Senegal, in their opening game on 21st November.

If van Gaal's men top Group A as expected they would face the runners-up from Group B, in which England face Wales, Iran and the USA, before a possible quarter-final against Argentina.

Who is the Netherlands' manager?

Van Gaal, who succeeded Frank de Boer as Dutch coach after Euro 2020, has had an illustrious career in club management, coaching Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and, less happily, Manchester United.

This is the 71-year-old's third stint as Netherlands boss and he led the team to the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup after they had thrashed holders Spain 5-1 in their opening group game.

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Who is the Netherlands' star player?

Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk will be particularly keen to impress in Qatar as he missed Euro 2020 due to a serious knee injury.

The Dutch captain, who became the world's most expensive defender when he moved from Southampton to Liverpool in January 2018, has won the Premier League and the Champions League with the Reds and was named PFA Player of the Year in 2018/19.

Van Dijk is a towering figure in the Dutch defence, comfortable on the ball and a major threat from set-pieces, and his calmness and leadership should make the Netherlands a more solid unit than they were at the Euros.

Who could be the Netherlands' breakout star?

Midfielder Ryan Gravenberch will be hoping his summer move from Ajax to Bayern Munich enhances his chances of making the World Cup squad.

The elegant but imposing midfielder became Ajax's youngest ever Eredivisie player when he made his debut at the age of 16 in September 2018 and he appeared for his country at last year's Euros, playing the full 90 minutes of the group victory over North Macedonia.

What is the Netherlands' predicted line-up and tactics?

Netherlands predicted line-up (3-4-1-2): Justin Bijlow; Matthijs de Ligt, Virgil van Dijk, Sven Botman; Denzel Dumfries, Frenkie de Jong, Teun Koopmeiners, Tyrell Malacia; Steven Berghuis; Steven Bergwijn, Memphis Depay.

The Netherlands have plenty of high-class central defender options so playing three at the back is a formation that makes sense, especially given the barnstorming performances of wing-back Denzel Dumfries at Euro 2020.

Midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has a fine international goalscoring record but has slipped down the pecking order after a difficult 2021/22 season at Paris St-Germain and the Dutch have no shortage of pacy forwards who could change the game from the bench with Arnaut Danjuma, Cody Gakpo and Donyell Malen all likely to be in van Gaal's squad.

How far can the Netherlands go in Qatar?

The Netherlands have an impressive recent pedigree at World Cups, reaching at least the semi-finals in three of their last four appearances, and they are 11/4 to continue that trend by making the last four under veteran coach van Gaal.

They can have few complaints about their group-stage draw, although Senegal will be tricky opening opponents having conceded just two goals in seven matches on their way to the Africa Cup of Nations title.

The Netherlands, in contrast, could be a team to follow for overs backers. Six of their 10 World Cup qualifiers featured over 3.5 goals while in June's Nations League fixtures they beat Wales 2-1 and 3-2, thumped Belgium 4-1 and drew 2-2 with Poland.

Depay is the main man in the Dutch attack and he makes some each-way appeal at 25/1 to be the tournament's top goalscorer, especially as he is likely to take penalties and direct free-kicks.

However, the Netherlands have goal threats all over the pitch and marauding wing-back Dumfries, who scored against Ukraine and Austria at the Euros and notched twice in four Nations League matches this year, is a player to consider in goalscorer markets on a match-by-match basis.

The Dutch are not quite at the level of market leaders Brazil, England and France, as reflected by their trophy odds of 12/1, but they are worthy favourites to win Group A and their quicksilver attackers mean they will be dangerous opponents in the knockout stages.

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