The top spot will be at stake when the Netherlands host Belgium in their final Group A4  game in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday.

The Netherlands will rather try to progress to the when they take on Belgium as they do have the advantage due to their 4-1 win over the Red Devils in Brussels in the first game.

The Netherlands started their UEFA Nations League journey with a perfect win over Belgium and have maintained their hot streak in the competition so far. They are also regarded as potential contenders to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup this year, and Belgium do have a mountain to climb.

The Red Devils endured a shock loss at the hand of the Netherlands at the onset of the latest edition of the UEFA Nations League, which otherwise has been a good campaign for them. Roberto Martinez’s men have managed to grab ten points from a possible 15, and the only loss in the first match seems to have dented their chance of approaching the next stage.

Despite being at the top of FIFA rankings for a record time, Belgium have failed to take up their chances on the bigger stages. With a spot in the Nations League finals in the offing, they must score four goals to topple the Netherlands from the top spot in Group A4.

Louis van Gaal’s current stint with the Netherlands could prove to be a breakthrough in his coaching career as his side is currently unbeaten in 14 games since he has been given the charge. A superb World Cup Qualifying campaign saw the Oranje produce one of the best displays throughout that period, and their perfect blend of youth and experience seem to be the catalyst in their recent success.

The Netherlands can afford a loss but only by a narrow margin, and going into the game, they know it is Belgium who need to produce a miraculous result. Given the Netherlands’ recent performance, only a Kevin De Bruyne masterclass could ensure Belgium’s progress.

Team News & Tactics

Netherlands

The Netherlands might have to alter their plan as Memphis Depay and Steven Berghuis have been ruled out from the game. Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has left the Dutch camp due to an injury alongside Teun Koopmeiners, who sustained a head injury against Poland earlier this week, as the Louis van Gaal does not want to take any kind of risk before the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Van Gaal is unlikely to tinker much with his winning combination so Remko Pasveer will keep his place. Virgil van Dijk, Nathan Ake and Jurrien Timber will man the three-man back line.

With both his preferred midfielders missing Marten de Roon and Kenneth Taylor will be called upon to deal with the midfield battle. Cody Gakpo has been in good form and he will operate from just behind the main two strikers. Steven Bergwijn and Wout Weghorst are expected to form the strike partnership for the Netherlands against Belgium.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Pasveer; Timber, van Dijk, Ake; Dumfries, De Roon, Taylor, Blind; Gakpo; Weghorst, Weghorst

Netherlands lineup

Belgium

Belgium do not have any fresh injury concerns, and Roberto Martinez could pick up the same starting eleven which held onto the last moment to snatch a 2-1 victory over Wales.

Thibaut Courtois will have another opportunity in goal. Zeno Debast, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld will form Belgium’s rearguard, which will see a barge of attacks from the Netherlands’ attackers.

Timothy Castagne could replace Thomas Meunier in the right wing-back position, while Yannick Carrasco will likely keep his place on the other flank. Axel Witsel and Youri Tielemans were solid against Wales, and they will have to replicate that performance versus the Netherlands.

Kevin De Bruyne will have a shot from the right flank, although he will largely veer infield and have a free role. Eden Hazard will likely occupy his favoured left-wing position, with Michy Batshuayi being the sole striker upfront.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Courtois; Debast, Vertonghen, Alderweireld; Castagne, Tielemans, Witsel, Carrasco; De Bruyne, Batshuayi, Hazard

belgium lineup vs holland

Key Stats

  • The Netherlands have 56 victories under their belt, while Belgium have emerged winners in 41 games.
  • The last match between the two was the first group stage game in the UEFA Nations League where the Netherlands humiliated Belgium 4-1.
  • The Netherlands have scored 13 goals in the five group games, while Belgium have managed 11 goals.
  • The Netherlands have scored at least twice in nine of their last ten international matches.
  • The Netherlands are unbeaten in their last 14 games and could extend it to 15 should they avoid a defeat in Amsterdam.

Players to Watch

Kevin De Bruyne

Playing regularly in the world’s most difficult league and performing week in and week out is not a matter of joke, and Kevin De Bruyne has been doing that for years. The midfield maestro likes to find the most difficult pass with ease and his country will rely on him once again, and the onus will be on him to provide another masterclass performance.

Predictions

Netherlands 2-3 Belgium

This particular game has always been a goal feast, and this match should not be an exception. The home side could find some difficulty in the absence of some of their star players, and Belgium could gain some ground as they are under tremendous pressure. The Hard Tackle predicts an evenly-contested affair, with Belgium beating the Netherlands by the odd goal.

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