Netherlands - Slovakia Preview: Oranje looking to bounce back from Bulgaria loss
The 2010 World Cup finalists were beaten by Bayern Munich and Bulgaria last week and will be keen to get back on track on Wednesday as they prepare for Euro 2012's 'group of death'
By Stefan Coerts
Van der Wiel, Heitinga, Bouma, Schaars
Van Bommel, De Jong
Robben, Sneijder, Afellay
Pekarik, Michalik, Hubocan, Cech
Sestak, Hamsik, Holosko
Maarten Stekelenburg missed the match against Bulgaria due to a shoulder injury, but is expected to start on Wednesday.
However, Joris Mathijsen is unavailable due to a hamstring problem, and will be replaced by either Wilfred Bouma or Ron Vlaar.
Sporting Lisbon midfielder Stijn Schaars will start the game at left-back, meaning promising youngster Jetro Willems drops to the bench.
Slovakia will be without experienced players such as Martin Skrtel, Jan Durica and Robert Vittek.
Nevertheless, star player Marek Hamsik is ready to feature after a long season with Napoli to end the campaign on a high.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Netherlands and Slovakia have met only once up till date. Oranje proved to be too strong for the Slovakians in the round of 16 at the 2010 World Cup: 2-1.
- The Dutch were beaten 2-1 by Bulgaria in their last friendly game earlier this month.
- Wesley Sneijder (pictured) will equal Ruud Krol with 83 international appearances if he features on Wednesday, and enter Netherlands' top 10 of most-capped players.
- Slovakia have never featured at the European Championships since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993.
- Besiktas attacker Filip Holosko is the most-capped Slovakia player in the squad for the match at De Kuip with 55 international appearances.
- Winger Miroslav Stoch plied his trade in the Dutch Eredivisie during the 2009-10 campaign, when he scored 10 goals in 32 league games for Twente.
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Top 3 Predictions
Netherlands 2-0 Slovakia
- 16.6 %
Netherlands 3-1 Slovakia
- 14.71 %
Netherlands 3-0 Slovakia
- 12.7 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||30 May 2012||Netherlands 2 - Slovakia 0|
|World Cup (WC)||28 Jun 2010||Netherlands 2 - Slovakia 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|
|16||Robin van Persie||Striker|
|23||Rafael van der Vaart||Midfielder|
The Bayern Munich star has had some rather hectic days behind him following the lost Champions League final against Chelsea, and the friendly match with Oranje versus his own club, where he got booed by the Bayern fans. Robben is likely to feature from the start against Slovakia, and what better way to get his recent troubles off his mind than by putting in a stellar performance on Wednesday?
Hamsik is one of Europe's most sought after players, and he is the undisputed star of the Slovakians. The attacking midfielder enjoyed a fine season at club level, and will be determined to replicate his Napoli-form for his country as well. Hamsik could trouble the Dutch with his intelligent runs off the ball, and a goal in Rotterdam would be the icing on the cake for the midfielder.
Netherlands have shown over the years that they struggle to motivate themselves in friendly games, and this again showed against Bulgaria at the weekend. Nevertheless, with the start of Euro 2012 nearing rapidly, they will be fired up to prove that they have the potential to go far at this summer's tournament. Slovakia caused Oranje a fair bit of trouble at the World Cup two years ago, but it seems unlikely that they are able to beat the hosts in De Kuip.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed