Best Odds: 11/4
Local rivalries are always fun but they aren’t often explored all too much in the realms of international football – but it feels like that’s about to change. In the wake of the Netherlands’ big win over Germany they’ll be turning their attention towards a major friendly against Belgium, in the first game between the two nations in almost two years. The UEFA Nations League is obviously what’s grabbing the attention of most fans during the current break, but it’s worth remembering that the occasional friendly can also throw up some interesting stakes.
The Red Devils were always criticised for not fulfilling their potential prior to this year’s World Cup, but it feels like a 3rd place finish in Russia was about what you’d expect from them. They came up against a superior team in France and there’s absolutely no shame in admitting that, and now, they can turn their attention towards attempting to win UEFA Euro 2020. Many of their top players from the golden generation are still around, and winning the Euros seems like a realistic goal for them.
Youri Tielemans and Timothy Castagne will be expecting to start the game, with Jason Denayer being expected to also make the starting XI amongst some of Belgium’s finest.
After a summer of sitting at home after failing to qualify for the World Cup, the Netherlands have had plenty of time to think things over. Now, under Ronald Koeman, they appear to be on something of an upward trajectory despite not having all too many ‘superstar’ names. They’re an organised unit when they want to be and they’re certainly one of the better teams in Europe, so they must be viewing qualification for UEFA Euro 2020 as the absolute bare minimum goal in the next few years.
Virgil van Dijk will be a big miss for the Dutch in this game, with the Liverpool defender suffering from a rib injury that he picked up during the club’s game against Southampton.
Factors to Consider
- The game will be played at Belgium’s King Baudouin Stadium.
- The Netherlands lead Belgium 55-41 in the overall head to head standings, with 30 draws.
- Belgium haven’t lost to the Netherlands since 1997, with five draws and two wins in their last seven meetings.
- In their last game back in November 2016, the two nations drew 1-1.
- Belgium have won five of their last six, whereas the Dutch have won three.
This should be quite an intriguing contest, because it feels like the stakes are going to be slightly higher than your average international friendly. Belgium have the attacking prowess necessary to push The Netherlands back and get a few goals behind them early on in the game, but the Dutch will be brimming with confidence from the game against Germany. We think it’s going to be hard hitting, with the Netherlands scoring early on before being pegged back. In the end, we’re going to predict an entertaining 1-1 draw.
Best Odds: 11/4
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