MX23RW : Monday, February 18 13:27:15

Preview: Netherlands vs. England - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of Friday's friendly international between the Netherlands and England.

England make the trip to Amsterdam to face the Netherlands on Friday night with Gareth Southgate looking to move closer to making a final decision on the make-up of his 23-man squad for this summer's World Cup.

As for the Netherlands, Ronald Koeman takes charge of the national team for the first time, with the former Everton man hoping to lead a turnaround in fortunes for a struggling Dutch side.


Ronald Koeman watches on during the Premier League game between Everton and Arsenal on December 13, 2016© SilverHub

Even during his time with Southampton and Everton, it felt only a matter of time before Koeman would be given the reins as manager of the Netherlands, but the 55-year-old probably did not envisage taking over in such circumstances.

Oranje have failed to qualify for two major tournaments in a row - something which had previously not occurred since the early stages of Koeman's playing career - and the former Dutch skipper is now entrusted with leading what remains a talented squad out of the doldrums.

Despite the upheaval in the dugout, the Dutch have still won their last five matches in all competitions. The main contributory factor to failing to reach the World Cup was a 2-0 defeat in Bulgaria 12 months ago but since that setback, eight wins have been registered in 10 games.

Koeman will require time to stamp his own mark on the squad but the foundations are already in place, with clean sheets being kept in victories over Sweden, Scotland and Romania respectively.

The nation are currently going through a transitional period with Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben both retiring from the international stage and Robin van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar reaching the age of 34, but a four-and-a-half-year deal means that the Dutch Football Association sees Koeman as a long-term appointment.

The Netherlands' 2018 schedule is brutal - with friendlies with England, Portugal and Italy being followed by a UEFA Nations League double-header with France and Germany - but it will at least leave Koeman in little doubt as to which players he can build a side around in the coming years.

Recent form: DLWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): LWWWWW


Interim England manager Gareth Southgate on the touchline during his side's World Cup qualifier against Scotland at Wembley on November 11, 2016© SilverHub

England have scored just four goals in their last five fixtures and are without a win in their last five-high profile friendlies, but the general consensus is that the Three Lions are making progress under Southgate.

The 47-year-old has freshened up the squad - while not completely shutting the door on the most established players he has left out - and there is now a feeling that the star names will have to earn the right to represent their country.

That said, it cannot be ignored that England are still a work in progress and even with a favourable World Cup draw, expectations of progressing through to the latter stages of the tournament must be put on the backburner until Southgate has decided on his strongest team and formation.

With more new faces coming into the group and talk of a new system being tested against the Netherlands and Italy, Southgate still seems some way from having complete faith in his selections, but the former Under-21s coach will remain optimistic about the answers and solutions that he can discover from two more fixtures against strong opposition.

There was much to take from the goalless draws, with Germany and Brazil but Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Joe Gomez - two of the star men from those two matches - are either not involved in the squad or are making their way back to full fitness.

Jordan Pickford and Joe Hart were also successful in keeping clean sheets in that double-header, but their opportunity came - in part - due to an injury to Jack Butland, and Southgate must decide whether to give the Stoke City stopper the chance he would have been given back in November.

Recent form: WDLLDD
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWDD

Team News

England goalkeeper Joe Hart in action during his side's World Cup qualifying clash with Slovakia on September 4, 2017© Offside

Southgate is expected to experiment with three at the back against the Netherlands, with John Stones and Harry Maguire likely to play either side of Eric Dier.

Ashley Young may get an opportunity at left wing-back, while Jack Wilshere could get the nod to partner Jordan Henderson in the centre of the pitch.

Southgate must choose between Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford for the number-nine role, while Hart will hope to keep his place between the sticks after keeping a clean sheet against Brazil.

Koeman is expected to make alterations to the Netherlands starting lineup, despite their comprehensive triumph over Romania before the end of 2017.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Georginio Wijnaldum and Quincy Promes did not feature in the first XI on that occasion, but could be handed a recall for Friday's match.

Netherlands possible starting lineup:
Cillessen, Fosu-Mensah, De Ligt, Van Dijk, Ake; Wijnaldum, Propper, Strootman; Promes, Babel, Depay

England possible starting lineup:
Hart; Stones, Dier, Maguire; Walker, Henderson, Wilshere, Young; Sterling, Alli, Rashford

Head To Head

Friday's showdown will represent the 33rd time in which these two teams have faced each other in an international fixture, with England recording 13 victories in comparison to nine wins for the Netherlands.

However, in the seven matches which have taken place since 2001, the Dutch have put together an unbeaten streak which includes four wins and three draws.

The most recent meeting came as recently as 2016 as goals from Vincent Janssen and Luciano Narsingh earned the Netherlands a 2-1 triumph at Wembley Stadium.

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We say: Netherlands 1-1 England

England are marginal favourites to prevail in Amsterdam and the familiarity of the two sets of players may lead to a closely-fought contest. Coupled with a Dutch squad who will want to impress their new manager, we are going to predict a 1-1 draw.

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Who will win Friday's international friendly between Netherlands and England?

England goalkeeper Joe Hart in action during his side's World Cup qualifying clash with Slovakia on September 4, 2017
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