Sunday, November 19, 2017

Prediction: Netherlands vs Bulgaria

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: bet365

Netherlands slipped to fourth place in the standings after the 4-0 hammering at the hands of France, but they could still revive their qualifying hopes by defeating Bulgaria. The Eastern European side produced a major coup as they beat group leaders Sweden and they can now leapfrog them in the standings with a triumph at Amsterdam ArenA.

Netherlands

Netherlands had long ago established themselves as one of world’s top sides, but never quite managed to live up to the billing, having just the 1988 Euro title to show. The team have been on a constant downtrend of late despite the fact that there is a plethora of talented footballers coming through the youth ranks, and the lack of confidence is proving a serious issue at the moment. After failing to make it to the Euro 2016 finals, Oranje could easily miss out on the World Cup in Russia as well, which could be a national disaster. Dick Advocaat was always going to be under pressure after replacing Danny Blind at the helm, and he couldn’t bring the much needed improvement. Victories over Morocco, Ivory Coast and Luxembourg hinted better times might be ahead, but then came the 4-0 loss to France that all but ended team’s qualifying hopes. With just three games to go, Oranje (10) have France (16), Sweden (13) and Bulgaria (12) all sitting in front of them, so unless they can defeat the Eastern European side in Amsterdam, everything will be over.

Team News

Davy Klaassen, Kenny Tete, Nathan Ake and Donny van de Beek all withdrew from the squad, while Robin van Persie could come in for Vincent Janssen.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria have been on the fringes of international football ever since they surprised everyone to reach the semi-finals of the 1994 World Cup, and they have since only qualified for three major tournaments. The national team have been deprived of high-profile players ever since Dimitar Berbatov and Stiliyan Petrov retired from international football, but the current generation has done much better than predicted. Placed in the same group with France, Sweden and Netherlands, the Lions were not really given any chances to qualify for the tournament finals, but with just three games to go, they are in a good position. Bulgaria have failed to impress on the road, losing to France, Sweden and even Belarus, but their performances at home have been nothing short of excellent. Victories over Luxembourg, Belarus, Netherland and Sweden saw the Lions climb to third in the standings and they now sit just one point behind second-placed Blagult after the 3-2 victory on Thursday. The time has now come to try and secure a good result away from home, but that is easier said than done.

Team News

CSKA Sofia defender Bozhidar Chorbadzhiyski is banned after picking up the second yellow card of the campaign, but there are no other worries for the visitors.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Bulgaria lost all three 2018 WC qualifiers on the road
  • Those three games produced a total of 13 goals
  • Netherlands won just two of last five home games
  • Bulgaria win last two meetings with Oranje
  • At least two goals were scored in each of their seven meetings

Conclusion

This is the final chance for Netherlands to try and rekindle their qualifying hopes and they have no choice but to attack from the off. Bulgaria, on the other hand, could also profit a great deal from winning at Amsterdam Arena and we definitely expect to see an enthralling encounter on Sunday evening.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: bet365

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