International friendly preview: Netherlands - Italy

The 2010 World Cup finalist has never emerged victorious from a non-competitive tie against the surprise package of last year's European Championship.


Van Rhijn, De Vrij, Mathijsen, Martins Indi
Clasie, Maher, Strootman
Kuyt, Van Persie, Lens

Abate, Barzagli, Astori, Santon
Montolivo, Pirlo, Giaccherini

Candreva, Balotelli, El Shaarawy

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal will have to make do without the services of players such as Michel Vorm, Nigel de Jong, Erik Pieters and Luciano Narsingh due to injury.

Additionally, experienced players like Maarten Stekelenburg, John Heitinga, Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben were all left out for various reasons.

Van Gaal is therefore expected to field a relatively inexperienced starting XI, and as many as seven players younger than 25 could feature from the start. Daley Blind, Ola John and Jonathan de Guzman could all make their Oranje debut on Wednesday.

Cesare Prandelli was dealt a bit of a blow on Monday when Juventus forward Sebastian Giovinco was forced to pull out of the squad due to a thigh problem.

Furthermore, Giorgio Chiellini, Federico Balzaretti, Christian Maggio and Claudio Marchisio are unavailable due to injury as well.

  • Netherlands and Italy have met 17 times so far, with the Dutch coming out victorious on only three occasions.
  • Jonathan de Guzman (pictured, right) can become the second Canada-born player to make his Holland debut after John van 't Schip in 1986.
  • Robin van Persie needs only two more goals for the 2010 World Cup finalist to equal the legendary Johan Cruyff's tally of 33.
  • Italy recorded a 3-1 win over Oranje the last time these teams locked horns in the Amsterdam ArenA back in 2005, but had to settle for a 3-0 loss and a scoreless draw on the two occasions after that.
  • Captain Gianluigi Buffon is currently 13 caps short of record-holder Fabio Cannavaro, who represented the Azzurri 136 times.
  • Salvatore Sirigu, Marco Verratti (both Paris Saint-Germain) and Davide Santon (Newcastle United) are the only three players in the Italy squad who ply their trade abroad.