The Netherlands will aim to bounce back and start winning their games in this qualification group as they face Gibraltar next.
Ronald Koeman returned to the dugout with the Netherlands and left with a sour taste after overseeing one of the heaviest defeats in their history. The 4-0 hammering at the hands of France was possibly their biggest loss since 1919.
Moreover, the 21-game unbeaten run under Louis van Gaal in normal time is also over for the Oranje. Koeman will look for a swift response from his side and bounce back from their abject performance against the World Cup finalists.
Koeman: "Their 4th goal was also very bad by us. Virgil with a pass to Memphis, Memphis losing the ball. Malacia marking Mbappé from the outside, Timber not having joined the defensive line yet. This CAN'T happen. It was such a weak team performance. I am responsible too." pic.twitter.com/mWQjPbMpwQ
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) March 26, 2023
The Netherlands currently sit at the bottom of their qualification group, with a worse goal difference than their next opponent Gibraltar. The two sides meet, and this clash is crucial for their chances to finish anywhere closer to the top, especially Koeman’s men.
Gibraltar come into this qualifications rounds like any other year as minnows. They opened their journey with a heavy defeat against Greece, with Giorgos Masouras, Emmanouil Siopis, and Anastasios Bakasetas scoring to put Gibraltar near the bottom of the table.
Julio Cesar Ribas will hope this team puts up a fight in this round of games. Gibraltar played their last competitive game in October 2020 in the UEFA Nations League, which tends to show how much behind they have fallen. In their last two games against the Netherlands, Gibraltar have suffered heavy losses, with the Oranje scoring 13 goals in those clashes.
Team News & Tactics
Ronald Koeman will hope to have many of his key stars that missed the France game through illness. Cody Gakpo, Matthijs de Ligt, Joey Veerman, Scen Botman and Bart Verbruggen were all absent. And that might remain the case, although de Ligt and Gakpo were present in training.
— OnsOranje (@OnsOranje) March 26, 2023
Gakpo might return to the side on the left-hand side of the attack and replace Xavi Simons in the front three. Steven Berghuis will remain on the right-hand side of the attack. De Ligt could come in for Lutsharel Geertruida in central defence alongside Virgil van Dijk. Nathan Ake will remain left-back, while Jurrien Timber will continue on the other flank.
Marten de Roon will sit at the base of their midfield and have Georginio Wijnaldum and Kenneth Taylor for the company in the midfield three. Koeman will hope his central players put up a good show, as the Gibraltar game will let them build momentum.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Cillessen; Timber, de Ligt, van Dijk, Ake; Wijnaldum, de Roon, Taylor; Berghuis, Depay, Gakpo
Gibraltar will not have any fitness issues from the Greece defeat. 40-year-old captain Roy Chipolina will lead the side against the Netherlands. He’s not even the oldest player on the team, with Lee Casciaro, who turns 42 later in the year, also set for a start.
📸 from last night’s European Qualifier action against Greece 🇬🇷 in the Estádio Algarve‼️ pic.twitter.com/yEN27Nva8R
— Gibraltar FA (@GibraltarFA) March 25, 2023
Top goalscorer Liam Walker will again lead the line for Gibraltar alongside Casciaro in a two-prone attacking front. Graeme Torrilla and Kian Ronan will assume central midfield duties.
Julian Valarino will provide width from the right side, while left-back Ethan Britto has played the wing role in recent games. Jack Sergeant and Jayce Olivero will play full-back roles at the back, while captain Chipolina and Bernardo Lopes marshall the centre of defence.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Coleing; Sergeant, Chipolina, Lopes, Olivero; Valarino, Torilla, Ronan, Britto; Walker, Casciaro
- The Netherlands have scored 13 goals in their last two games against Gibraltar.
- The 4-0 loss to France was Netherlands’ worst result since 1919.
- The France defeat also ended Netherlands’ 21-game unbeaten run (in normal time).
- Gibraltar have lost each of their last four competitive games in all competitions.
- Gibraltar have conceded 14 goals in their last four defeats.
Player to Watch
Depay has long assumed the central role for The Netherlands, which will remain under Koeman. The new Dutch manager knows the attacker well and will continue to give him the desired place in the setup. However, with a defeat already on the cards for the tactician, he will look at the Atletico Madrid man for answers.
Sure, the Netherlands missed a host of key players in their defeat to France. But in that game, Depay was present and did not assert himself. The attacker must become the central piece in every good action his team makes and impose himself onto defences.
The Netherlands 3-0 Gibraltar
Ronald Koeman will want his side to kick the ball in anger and dismantle Gibraltar at home. The key focus for the manager will remain on achieving a win and building momentum within this group. The current team, which typically is of former boss Louis van Gaal, Koeman will have to trust most of these stars to be together and deliver.
Gibraltar will not come into this game with any confidence and will have to hold a tight ship at the back to keep the scores respectable. The Netherlands will look for a solid win. Still, more importantly, they will want to score plenty of goals to nullify their inferior goal difference at the very start of their qualification rounds.