21st of March 2019 Author: Johnny Karp
The Netherlands start their road towards the 2020 European Championships with a home match, they face Belarus at De Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam on Thursday. The two nations play in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying Group C alongside Germany, Estonia and Northern Ireland. They were in the same group in the qualification campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and at the time the Dutch won 4-1 at home and 3-1 away. However, Belarus did pull off a major upset against Holland in 2007, when they defeated the Dutch 2-1 in Minsk during the qualification campaign for Euro 2008.
The Netherlands are looking to make their return to a major tournament after having missed the 2016 European Championships and the 2018 World Cup. This time they seem in much better shape as they won their UEFA Nations League last year, and they did that against Germany and France. Normally the Dutch shouldn't miss out on one of the top two spots in the group, but playing against teams like Belarus and Northern Ireland is never easy, while Germany should be a lot stronger than last year. The Dutch will play Germany on Sunday, so head coach Ronald Koeman might keep some of his key players rested for that clash.
Belarus are one of the outsiders in this group, they have never reached the final tournament of a major competition and the odds are against them this time as well. However, they have pulled off upsets quite often in recent years and they earned promotion to the third tier of the UEFA Nations League after having won their fourth-tier group quite comfortably. They are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions and have not conceded any goals in those games. The starting eleven should be similar to the one that was used in the UEFA Nations League last year.
Netherlands: Cillessen - Dumfries, Van Dijk, De Ligt, Blind - De Roon, De Jong, Wijnaldum - Bergwijn, Depay, Babel
Belarus: Chichkan - Shytov, Martynovich Sivakov, Polyakov - Savitski, Maevski, Dragun, Hleb, Stasevich - Saroka
My prediction: Netherlands to win 2-0, the Dutch can't afford a false start here, with Germany waiting for them at the weekend.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Netherlands win - 1.12
Draw - 8.50
Belarus win - 17.00
21st of March 2019
22nd of March 2019
Probably the Netherlands fans are quite optimistic for this EURO cycle of qualifications...a lot more that they've been in the previous couple of runs.
They' didn't face any resistance from the underdogs Belarus in that one but when the real test came versus Germany in their second round match the Holland team find a way to loose that one in their typical naive style against the so pragmatic Germans.
So there's a few signs Netherlands will be a lot better team than in the last few years (especially after the Nations Cup good run of results) but I still think they would have to fight really hard for that second spot in the group cause the top one is reserved for Germany.
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