The PSV left-back was playing for the Dutch Under-17s one year ago and will now break a record that has stood since 1984 in a tremendous show of faith from Bert van Marwijk
Following the withdrawal of first-choice left-back Erik Pieters, Willems will start in the stead of his PSV team-mate and create history in the process. At just 18 years and 71 days old he will become the youngest player to compete in the tournament, breaking the record previously held by Enzo Scifo who was aged 18 years and 115 days when he turned out for Belgium against Yugoslavia in 1984.
Denmark have been able to call upon Niki Zimling even though he limped out of training on Friday with an injury to his toe. Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen starts behind the lone striker Nicklas Bendtner for Morten Olsen's side with Michael Krohn-Dehli and Dennis Rommedahl occupying the wings in an identical team to that which defeated Australia 2-0 in their previous fixture.
Netherlands (4-2-3-1): Stekelenburg; Van der Wiel, Heitinga, Vlaar, Willems; N. de Jong, Van Bommel; Robben, Sneijder, Afellay; Van Persie.
Subs: Krul, Vorm, Boulahrouz, Bouma, Schaars, Strootman, van der Vaart, L. de Jong, Huntelaar, Kuyt, Narsingh.
Denmark (4-2-3-1): Andersen; Jacobsen, Agger, Kjaer, S. Poulsen; Kvist, Zimling; Rommedahl, Eriksen, Krohn-Dehli; Bendtner.
Subs: Lindegaard, Schmeichel, Bjelland, Okore, Wass, Kahlenberg, Mikkelsen, C. Poulsen, J. Poulsen, Schone, Silberbauer, Pedersen.