Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Prediction: Scotland vs Netherlands

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions, World Cup 8 Nov 2017

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Verdict: Netherlands win

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: Bet365

Both Scotland and Holland will be making their first international appearances since neither could manage to secure their spot at next summers World Cup finals.

Scotland

As Scotland look to put their World Cup disappointment behind them, they will also be starting life after Gordon Strachan. For Thursday’s game, former Cardiff manager Malky Mackay will take charge of Scotland’s game at Aberdeen. At the start of the year, it all looked to be going so well for the Scots, they started with a fine run of form, before falling short in the final game of the qualifying campaign after a 2-2 draw with Slovenia.

Shortly after Scotland’s exit, manager Gordon Strachan announced his resignation and the Scottish FA are yet to announce a full-time replacement. Despite entering Thursday’s friendly on a six-match unbeaten run, Scottish supporters were shocked by their caretaker managers decision to select such an inexperienced squad, especially against a side with the reputation of Holland.

Mackay has only named seven senior players who have more than 10 caps for Scotland, along with a further 10 players who are yet to make their debut for The Tartan Terriers. After Celtic forward Leigh Griffiths withdrew from the squad earlier this week, Mackay has only two attacking options left and has elected to call up no new replacements.  Placing his faith in uncapped duo Jason Cummings and Ryan Christie, Mackay has chosen to overlook Chris Martin, Jordan Rhodes, and Steven Fletcher, all of whom have scored this season.

Team News

Scotlands inexperienced squad will not be aided by two of their most trusted stars missing out on Thursday night. After missing Celtic’s historic 4-0 win on Saturday, manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed that Griffiths has a slight calf strain and will not be available for Malky Mackay’s squad.

Along with Griffiths, Scotland will also be without captain Darren Fletcher. The Stoke midfielder has withdrawn from the squad despite playing 90 minutes against Leicester last weekend. It looks like Griffiths Celtic teammate Callum McGregor will make his debut along with Nottingham Forest forward Jason Cummings.

Netherlands

Much like their hosts on Thursday night, the Dutch are another side that narrowly missed out on securing their place at next summers World Cup finals in Russia. More worryingly for the Netherlands, this is now the second consecutive major tournament that the famous oranges won’t be making an appearance at.

However, now under the guidance of former Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat, Holland has shown signs of improvement. After taking charge midway through the oranges qualifying campaign, Holland have only lost once in their last six appearances. Despite suffering a 4-0 defeat to France at the end of August, Netherlands have won their other five matches, scoring 18 goals and only conceding two in return.

Granted, Holland’s side might not compare to their successful golden generation, but, Advocaat does have a list of big names at his disposal. With the likes of Memphis Depay, Kevin Strootman, and Georginio Wijnaldum, Advocaat will feel that he has more than enough to outmatch the inexperienced Scots. Under their new manager, the Netherlands are averaging just over two goals a game and will also welcome back Dutch icon Wesley Sneijder to their side, adding another creative outlet to Holland’s team.

Team News

With the exception of the recently retired Arjen Robben, Holland have a fully fit squad to call upon. After missing out on Holland’s final round of qualifiers, 25-year-old Steven Berghuis has returned to the squad after an impressive season at Feyenoord. There has also been a recall for Dutch veteran Wesley Sneijder, now playing in France with Nice, Holland’s former captain will be looking to add to his 132 caps.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Scotland are unbeaten in their last six matches
  • Holland have scored three or more goals in four of their last six appearances
  • Netherlands have won the last three meetings between the two sides, scoring 10 times and have conceded none in reply
  • On-loan Tottenham striker Vincent Janssen has scored four goals in his last five away matches at international level
  • Scotland have failed to score more than a single goal in any of their last 8 international friendly matches

Conclusion

With Malkay Mackay electing to utilise such an inexperienced squad, it looks like Scotland could be in for a tough nights work at Pittodrie. Although Scotland might enter the contest unbeaten in their last six, they will be coming up against a Dutch side who have a much more experienced feel to their team. Coupled Holland only losing one game in their last six, a bet of Netherlands to come away with the win looks like the best bet here.

Verdict: Netherlands win

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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