Netherlands-Italy Preview: Oranje aiming for first-ever friendly win over Azzurri
The 2010 World Cup finalists have 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.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- 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 finalists 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.
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Top 3 Predictions
Netherlands 1-2 Italy
- 19.48 %
Netherlands 2-1 Italy
- 13.67 %
Netherlands 0-2 Italy
- 10.11 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||Feb 6, 2013||Netherlands 1 - Italy 1|
|International Friendlies (FR)||Nov 14, 2009||Italy 0 - Netherlands 0|
|UEFA European Championship (EC)||Jun 9, 2008||Netherlands 3 - Italy 0|
|Jun 11, 2013||China 0 - Netherlands 2||FR|
|Jun 7, 2013||Indonesia 0 - Netherlands 3||FR|
|Mar 26, 2013||Netherlands 4 - Romania 0||WCQ|
|Mar 22, 2013||Netherlands 3 - Estonia 0||WCQ|
|Feb 6, 2013||Netherlands 1 - Italy 1||FR|
|Returns:||Netherlands £22.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Draw £34.00||Sign up today with BetVictor and get a £25 FREE BET!|
|Returns:||Italy £37.50||Sign up today with BetVictor and get a £25 FREE BET!|
|-||Bruno Martins Indi||Defender|
|-||Stefan de Vrij||Defender|
|16||Robin van Persie||Striker|
|-||Ricardo van Rhijn||Defender|
|-||Jonathan De Guzmán||Midfielder|
|-||Marco van Ginkel|
|16||Daniele De Rossi||Midfielder|
|10||Stephan El Shaarawy||Midfielder|
|-||Morgan De Sanctis|
|-||Pablo Daniel Osvaldo|
|Robin van Persie|
The Manchester United striker is one of the few true stars in the current Oranje set-up, and Van Gaal will be hoping that the attacker can lead his young team-mates the way in the ArenA. Van Persie has occasionally struggled to replicate his club form for the national team, but has been in sensational form this term and will be brimming with confidence.
The controversial attacker capped his return to Serie A by netting a double to help AC Milan to a hard-fought 2-1 win over Udinese in Sunday's league encounter, and Balotelli will be eager to continue his fine form with the national team. Prandelli recently stated that he still believes the former Manchester City man has what it takes to become one of the best in the world, and Wednesday's game is just the opportunity for Balotelli to prove his coach right.
Both Netherlands and Italy have shown over the past years that they are among the world's best, and Wednesday's encounter promises to be an interesting match. Although, Oranje have home advantage, the Azzurri will feel confident heading into the game following their superior head-to-head record. Additionally, the hosts are without several of their recognised stars. Louis van Gaal's young team will be determined to get a good result, though, and a draw seems the most likely result in the ArenA.
Times In GMT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed