Netherlands - Bulgaria Preview: Oranje continue Euro 2012 preparation after defeat to Bayern
Oranje were beaten in the friendly match against Bayern Munich on Tuesday, and will be looking to improve their form in Saturday's encounter at the Amsterdam ArenA
By Stefan Coerts
Van der Wiel, Heitinga, Mathijsen, Willems
Van Bommel, De Jong
Robben, Sneijder, Kuyt
Bodurov, Iliev, Ivanov, Zanev
Manolev, Popov, Gargorov
Netherlands will likely be without first-choice goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg due to injury, while Ibrahim Afellay still has club obligations as Barcelona take on Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final on Friday.
However, Stijn Schaars has joined the squad after missing out on Tuesday's friendly against Bayern due to the Portuguese Cup final at the weekend.
Bulgaria coach Luboslav Penev will be without injured shot-stopper Nikolay Mihaylov.
Additionally, Iliya Milanov was forced to withdraw due to fitness problems and was replaced in the squad by defender Aleksandar Aleksandrov.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Netherlands and Bulgaria first met on May 13, 1959 in Sofia, when the hosts beat Oranje 3-2.
- The Dutch recorded a 3-2 win over England in their last friendly game in February.
- Rafael van der Vaart (pictured) is only seven games away from becoming the fifth player in history to make 100 appearances for Netherlands.
- Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has scored the most international goals, 31, from the current Oranje squad.
- Bulgaria have won four out of their nine games against Netherlands, drawing twice and losing the other three meetings.
- Wing-back Stanislav Manolev is the only player in the Bulgaria squad who plies his trade in the Dutch top flight, at PSV.
- The Bulgarians last qualified for a major tournament in 2004, when they lost all their matches in the group stage of the European Championship in Portugal.
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Top 3 Predictions
Netherlands 3-0 Bulgaria
- 19.27 %
Netherlands 2-0 Bulgaria
- 11.22 %
Netherlands 3-1 Bulgaria
- 11.02 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||26 May 2012||Netherlands 1 - Bulgaria 2|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||8 Sep 2007||Netherlands 2 - Bulgaria 0|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||7 Oct 2006||Bulgaria 1 - Netherlands 1|
|5 Mar 2014||France 2 - Netherlands 0||FR|
|19 Nov 2013||Netherlands 0 - Colombia 0||FR|
|16 Nov 2013||Netherlands 2 - Japan 2||FR|
|15 Oct 2013||Turkey 0 - Netherlands 2||WCQE|
|11 Oct 2013||Netherlands 8 - Hungary 1||WCQE|
|2||Gregory van der Wiel||Defender|
|-||Mark van Bommel|
|8||Nigel De Jong||Midfielder|
|23||Rafael van der Vaart||Midfielder|
|16||Robin van Persie||Striker|
|Robin van Persie|
After Huntelaar started against Bayern Munich, Van Persie is likely to get the nod versus Bulgaria. The Arsenal star has had a fantastic season in the Premier League, yet isn't an undisputed starter at Oranje due to the stiff competition up front. The match at the Amsterdam ArenA is the perfect opportunity for the former Feyenoord attacker to show that he deserves a starting berth in the national team, too.
The PSV wing-back is one of the few big names in Bulgaria's squad for Saturday's friendly, and he'll be determined to show what he can do in the country where he plays his club football. Manolev has not had the best of seasons, but the 26-year-old has shown in the past that he could trouble any opponent with his runs forward down the right wing.
The Oranje might have a rather unimpressive record in friendly games, but the Dutch should be able to beat the Bulgarians on Saturday. The hosts have some of the world's best attackers in their squad, while having plenty of creativity in midfield, too. Bulgaria will struggle to contain the Netherlands at the Amsterdam ArenA, and are likely to return home with a defeat.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed