The postponement of Euro 2020 really came at a bad time for the Netherlands.
Having failed to qualify for the last World Cup and Euros they reached the Nations League final and looked to be in good shape ahead of the tournament, but the departure of Ronald Koeman and an injury to talisman Virgil Van Dijk has left their Euros hopes hanging by a thread.
Group C: NETHERLANDS, Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia
Manager: Frank De Boer
Odds (PP): 12/1
Recent Tournaments: World Cup 2018 (failed to qualify), Euro 2016 (failed to qualify).
FIFA World Ranking: 16th
Memphis Depay. With Van Dijk out injured, the Lyon forward will have to step up and become the main man this summer. He was a favourite under Koeman, who now tries to lure him to Barcelona, and has been a mainstay under De Boer. His 20 goals and 12 assists in Ligue 1 this season steered Lyon to a 4th place finish, and he will be looking to get off the mark for the Oranje this summer at what will be his first major tournament since the World Cup 2014.
De Boer has named his 26-man squad, cutting Tottenham’s Steven Bergwijn and Villa’s Anwar El Ghazi from the provisional squad, despite the latter having an excellent season in the Premier League.
In goals the Netherlands are a bit short. First choice Jasper Cillessen, who made just 10 league appearances for Valencia this season, was originally selected but has since been ruled out of the tournament after contracting COVID-19. AZ Alkmaar’s Marco Bizot has been called up to replace him and joins 2014 shoot-out hero Tim Krul, and 38-year-old Maarten Stekelenburg.
In defence Matthijs De Ligt will likely start along with Stefan De Vrij, who enjoyed a good season at the heart of Inter’s title winning defence.
Denzel Dumfries, Patrick Van Aanholt, and the impressive Owen Wijdnal make up a relatively light full back department, with the likes of Daley Blind, Nathan Ake, Joel Veltman and Ajax youngster Jurrien Timber all able to cover full back If needed. Their versatility is what likely justified their selection over the likes of Sven Botman, who had a fantastic season at Lille.
In midfield De Boer’s favoured trio of Frenkie De Jong, Davy Klaassen and Gini Wijnaldum are all selected and should start, with Atalanta’s Marten de Roon and Donny Van de Beek playing back-up, despite the latter spending most of the year on the bench at Old Trafford.
Promising Ajax teenager Ryan Gravenberch also makes the squad.
Up front there is finally a long overdue call-up for Wout Weghorst, who had not featured for the National team since 2019. His 25 goals and nine assists, firing Wolfsburg to fourth place was too much for De Boer to ignore and at 6’6 with a good turn of pace he gives the Netherlands a good dimension to their attack. Backing him up will be another target man, Sevilla’s Luuk de Jong.
Donny Malen, Steven Berghuis, Quincy Promes, and uncapped PSV winger Cody Gakpo were also selected.
One to Watch
Ryan Gravenberch. The 19-year-old is now a mainstay in Ajax’s midfield having broken into the team at the start of this season. At 6’3 he combines physicality and athleticism with great technical ability and is an all-round midfielder. He is unlikely to start this summer but is worth keeping an eye on. He could feature in the final group game against North Macedonia should they have the group wrapped up by then. It will most certainly not be his last tournament.
Goalkeepers: Marco Bizot (AZ Alkmaar) , Tim Krul (Norwich City), Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax).
Defenders: Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Daley Blind (Ajax), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Stefan de Vrij (Inter Milan), Denzel Dumfries (PSV), Jurriem Timber (Ajax), Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Joel Veltman (Brighton), Owen Wijndal (AZ Alkmaar).
Midfielders: Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Teun Koopmeiners (AZ Alkmaar), Donny van de Beek (Manchester United), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool).
Forwards: Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Memphis Depay (Lyon), Cody Gakpo (PSV), Donyell Malen (PSV), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow), Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg).