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  • 29 February 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • Wembley Stadium, London
  • Referee: F. Brych
  • • Attendance: 76283

England - Netherlands Preview: Stuart Pearce faces tough first assignment

The former Manchester City boss will lead the Three Lions against the Oranje following his appointment on a temporary basis after the resignation of Fabio Capello


Richards, Jones, Cahill, Cole
Gerrard, Parker, Milner
Sturridge, Welbeck, Young

Boulahrouz, Heitinga, Mathijsen, Pieters
Van Bommel, Strootman
Kuyt, Sneijder, Van Persie

For England, Micah Richards is in line to start at right-back after Kyle Walker and Glen Johnson withdrew from the squad due to injury.

James Milner is in contention to start in midfield as Gareth Barry is struggling with a back problem, whilst Tom Cleverley also had to withdraw due to an ankle problem.

Darren Bent suffered ankle ligament damage on Saturday and Wayne Rooney withdrew from the squad due to a throat infection, making way for a new look attack

Fraizer Campbell of Sunderland received his first England call-up after returning from long-term injury but is likely to start on the bench.

The Oranje are missing regular right back Gregory van der Wiel through injury meaning the experienced Khalid Boulahrouz is likely to start.

Tottenham's Rafael van der Vaart withdrew from the squad after an ankle injury at the weekend.

In attack, Arjen Robben may feature but has been struggling to return to full fitness after groin surgery in October.


  • Stuart Pearce’s first game as caretaker manager takes place in a friendly that was rescheduled following last summer's London riots. The match was originally to be played in August.
  • Manchester United’s Tom Cleverley received his first call-up England ahead of the cancelled game, and will have to wait again to make his debut after withdrawing from the squad with an ankle problem.
  • Robin van Persie’s (pictured right) last goal for the Netherlands, his 25th, moved him to 10th place in the list of top scorers for the Oranje, one ahead of Marco Van Basten. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar stands at 7th on the list with 30.
  • England qualified undefeated for Euro 2012, where they will face Ukraine, France, and Sweden in the group stage. They won their group after a tense 2-2 draw with Montenegro sealed their progress and have since won friendly matches 1-0 against Spain and Sweden.
  • England’s overall record against the Netherlands reads won five, drawn nine, and lost four. However, their last four fixtures going back to 2002 were all draws. 
  • The last game in August 2009 finished 2-2 in Holland after Jermain Defoe appeared as a second-half substitute to pull England back from two goals down.
  • Netherlands lie in third place in the Fifa World Rankings, two places above England in 5th, having reached the World Cup 2010 final in South Africa under coach Bert Van Marwijk, where they lost 1-0 after extra time to Spain.
  • The Oranje qualified comfortably for Euro 2012 where they will face Germany, Portugal and Denmark in the group stage. They won nine of their 10 games in qualifying, losing only their final match against Sweden. However, their form has since deserted them with a 0-0 draw against Switzerland and a 3-0 defeat to Germany their last results in friendlies.

Players to watch

S. Gerrard

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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  • 0
  • 0
The dynamic Liverpool midfielder returns to the national team following a lengthy absence through injury.

Currently the favourite to take on the England captaincy, he will be motivated to demonstrate his suitability for the role ahead of other candidates such as Scott Parker and Joe Hart.

K. Strootman

Position: Midfielder

Games: 2

  • 0
  • 0
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The 22-year-old central midfielder signed for PSV Eindhoven from Utrecht at the start of the season and has won praise for his vision and range of passing.

The playmaker will look to press his claim for a starting place in central midfield ahead of Nigel De Jong in good time for Euro 2012.

Editor's Prediction

With England light in attack, Stuart Pearce may look to emulate the defensive display that saw the Three Lions earn a 1-0 win against World Champions Spain in November.

Holland may also be looking to experiment ahead of Euro 2012, and the changes made by each team in the course of the match may disrupt any flow, reducing the ability of either team to gain fluency in attack.

Last Five Matches

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Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

England ENG
England England
Netherlands NLD
Netherlands Netherlands

Top 3 Predictions

England ENG
1 - 2
Netherlands NLD
England ENG
2 - 1
Netherlands NLD
England ENG
1 - 3
Netherlands NLD