Monday, September 20, 2021

Prediction: Netherlands vs Montenegro

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 3 Sep 2021

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Verdict: Total goals under 3.5

Best odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: 888sport

The qualifications for the World Cup next year in Qatar continue at the weekend, and in the fifth round of Group G, Netherlands will welcome Montenegro to the Philips Stadion in Eindhoven on Saturday evening.

Netherlands

The Dutch team will have been disappointed by the result they got from their trip to Norway on Wednesday, where Davy Klaassen’s 36th-minute strike only managed to cancel out Erling Haaland’s opener from the 20th minute, and though they were widely regarded as the favourites, the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Their regret that they couldn’t take all three points from Oslo will only be greater due to the fact that they had 66% possession and took 17 shots in total, compared to Norway’s seven. There’s nothing left for them now but to look forward, even though the standings in the group certainly don’t reflect their hopes for this stage of the process.

Having previously lost 2-4 away to Turkey, beaten Latvia 2-0 at home and smashed underdogs Gibraltar away by 0-7, Netherlands have seven points to their name and sit second, while Montenegro and Norway in third and fourth have the same tally. Leaders Turkey have eight.

The match on Saturday is another good opportunity to create a gap between them and the visitors, though there isn’t much chance for them to break to the top with Turkey going to Gibraltar next.

Team News

Louis van Gaal went with a four-at-the-back system against Norway, and even though the result was not what he’d have hoped for, he’s likely to employ it again on Saturday, with Virgil van Dijk and Stefan de Vrij in the heart of the defence.

Klaassen is set to keep his place in the middle of the park, alongside Frenkie de Jong and Georginio Wijnaldum. Memphis Depay should lead the line upfront, but this is the area where Van Gaal has numerous options. He could go with Cody Gakpo and Steven Berghuis flankin the Barcelona forward again, but the likes of Steven Begrwijn, Donyell Malen and Wout Weghorst will all be hoping to get picked too.

Montenegro

Not many will have expected Montenegro to stand a chance of qualifying for the World Cup, but here we are, the first stage almost halfway gone, and they are only a point behind the group leaders.

Faruk Hadzibegic’s team have so far beaten Latvia away by 1-2 and Gibraltar at home by 4-1, before losing to Norway at home by 0-1. Their 2-2 draw away to Turkey in the fourth round came as a big surprise, as a goal from Adam Marusic in the first half and a very late one by Risto Radunovic nullified Turkey’s two-goal lead, created by Cengiz Under and Yusuf Yazici.

They will be hoping for something similar in Eindhoven on Saturday. Whether they are capable of that remains to be seen.

Team News

Uros Djurdjevic and Drasko Bozovic are expected to lead the line in the absence of Stevan Jovetic. The Hertha Berlin man had to pull out of the squad through injury.

Having scored against Turkey, Marusic should be picked to maraud up and down the right flank again, with Sead Haksabanovic on the other side. Aleksandar Scekic and Nebojsa Kosovic will likely be in the middle of the park, with Stefan Savic and Igor Vujacic marshalling the back line.

Conclusion

Despite the obvious difference in quality between the two teams, it has to be stated again that Netherlands enter the match on the back of a disappointing draw, while Montenegro go in on the back of a morale-boosting one and with very little to lose.

Nonetheless, the fact that the Dutch are huge favourites shouldn’t be overlooked either. Their triumph is still the likeliest outcome, though with not too many goals.

Verdict: Total goals under 3.5

Best odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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