MX23RW : Thursday, April 18 13:26:10| >> :600:91316407:91316407:
May 27, 2016 at 7.45pm UK at ​Aviva Stadium
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Preview: Republic of Ireland vs. Netherlands

Sports Mole previews the international friendly between Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands.

Republic of Ireland play host to the Netherlands on Friday evening as they look to gain a morale-boosting result ahead of their attempts to progress from their difficult group at Euro 2016.

Netherlands have not qualified for the tournament in France but they showed in their friendly win over England earlier this year that they are eager to build some momentum ahead of their World Cup qualifying fixtures in September.

Republic of Ireland

Martin O'Neill the manager of the Republic of Ireland reacts during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier play off, second leg match between Republic of Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium on November 16, 2015© Getty Images

Republic of Ireland will be the outsiders when they arrive in France to take on Belgium, Italy and Sweden but Martin O'Neill will have every confidence in his side after a solid couple of years since failing to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

The Green Army required the playoffs to earn their place at Euro 2016 but they have only suffered two defeats in 17 games and they have shown during that period that they are capable of causing a surprise.

O'Neill led his team to four points from two games against Germany while a draw at home to England and a narrow 1-0 victory over Switzerland in friendly matches showed that it would be wrong to write them off when they get their campaign underway against Sweden on June 13.

That said, Ireland cannot afford to lose the momentum that they have built up over the past 18 months, and while O'Neill will not want any more injury issues to occur, he will want his players to treat the game as a competitive fixture.

Their most recent game - the 2-2 draw with Slovakia - lacked the intensity that O'Neill would have called for but with plenty of places up for grabs, that should not be an issue on Friday.

A number of players, including Oxford United's Callum O'Dowda, will be looking to make an impression should they get onto the pitch at the Aviva Stadium in what will realistically be the final opportunity to break into the final 23 before O'Neill makes a concrete decision on his selection for France.

Recent form (all competitions): WLDWWD


Netherlands' coach Danny Blind reacts during the Euro 2016 qualifying fooball match Netherlands vs Czech Republic at the Amsterdam Arena in Amsterdam, October 13, 2015© Getty Images

The Netherlands endured a horrendous qualifying campaign that saw them miss out on a spot at Euro 2016 to the likes of Iceland and the Czech Republic but that will arguably make them more dangerous when they take to the pitch in Dublin.

Since taking over from Guus Hiddink, Danny Blind has been working towards developing a system that will get the best out of the nation's flair players and slowly but surely, he is beginning to achieve the desired results with his team scoring nine goals in their last four outings.

There are still issues with a defence that has not kept a clean sheet for almost a year but Oranje are at their best when they perform on the front foot, and that is likely to be the approach they take when they begin their World Cup qualifying campaign against Sweden in September.

For now, though, it is about building on the 2-1 victory over England at Wembley and blooding several of the many inexperienced players that have come through the Under-21 setup but are lacking appearances on the senior stage.

Over half of Blind's 25-man squad have made fewer than 10 appearances for the national team and with four friendlies to take place in a short space of time, supporters of the Netherlands should expect plenty of changes as Blind looks to begin a new era for the national side.

The absence of the experienced Daley Blind is a blow but that may prove to be a blessing in disguise with more leaders being required to come to the fore if they are to secure at least second place in a qualification group which also includes France.

Recent form (all competitions): LWLWLW

Team News

Republic of Ireland's midfielder James McCarthy (L) vies with Georgia's midfielder Tornike Okriashvili during the Euro 2016 qualifying group D football match between Republic of Ireland and Georgia at Aviva Stadium in Dublin on September 7, 2015© Getty Images

Midfielder James McCarthy has been ruled out for Ireland as he continues to recover from the groin injury sustained playing for Everton on the final day of the season.

Defender Ciaran Clark has also been declared unavailable and both players could find their places in the squad for Euro 2016 at risk should they not appear in Tuesday's game against Belarus.

O'Neill has said that John O'Shea will start the game after failing to secure regular appearances for Sunderland during the Premier League run-in.

Blind is out of the Netherlands squad through injury, while Kevin Strootman is a confirmed starter after being handed the captaincy.

Tonny Vilhena and Steven Berghuis could make their international debut at some stage during the match.

Republic of Ireland possible starting lineup:
Randolph, O'Shea, Ward, McShane, Coleman, Whelan, Hoolahan, Arter, McClean, Keane, Long

Netherlands possible starting lineup:
Zoet; Veltman, Bruma, Van Dijk, Willems; Strootman, Wijnaldum, Bazoer; Promes, Janssen, Memphis

Head To Head

Friday's game will represent the 20th time that the two nations have competed on the international stage, with Republic of Ireland gaining seven wins compared to nine victories registered by the Netherlands.

Since Ireland prevailed in their World Cup playoff in 2001, they have only met twice in friendlies with Ireland earning a 1-0 win away from home in June 2004 but Netherlands gained their revenge two years later.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie all found the net as the Netherlands coasted to a 4-0 success at Lansdowne Road.

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We say: Republic of Ireland 1-2 Netherlands

O'Neill is likely to use the game to give the majority of his squad a chance to impress before he finalises his 23-man squad for Euro 2016, and that will likely allow their opponents to take advantage. Mass alterations may disrupt the flow of the game but Oranje should have enough quality to record another win.

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Dick Advocaat manager of Sunderland looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between A.F.C. Bournemouth and Sunderland at Vitality Stadium on September 19, 2015
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