Portugal - Netherlands Preview: Dispirited Oranje seek redemption against Bento's side
Bert van Marwijk's team still have a chance of advancing from Group B, but will need to beat the Seleccao by two clear goals and hope Denmark lose to Germany
By Karthick Arvinth
Pereira, Pepe, Alves, Coentrao
Meireles, Veloso, Moutinho
Nani, Postiga, Ronaldo
Van der Wiel, Heitinga, Mathijsen, Willems
N De Jong, Van Bommel
Van Persie, Sneijder, Robben
Portugal boss Paulo Bento will have a fully-fit squad for Sunday's clash with Netherlands at Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv.
The 42-year-old could name the same team that beat Denmark 3-2 on Wednesday, with Helder Postiga retaining his place in attack ahead of Hugo Almeida and Nelson Oliveira.
Netherlands have no injury concerns but coach Bert van Marwijk may consider naming a more positive line-up for the must-win encounter.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar could start alongside Robin van Persie in attack, with Barcelona's Ibrahim Afellay likely to make way.
Fenerbahce-bound Dirk Kuyt is also understood to be under consideration for a starting berth in place of Arjen Robben, especially after the latter's petulant reaction to being substituted in the 2-1 defeat to Germany.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Portugal's record in 10 previous encounters with the Netherlands is W6, D3, L1, with the solitary defeat coming in a European Championship qualifier in October 1991.
- The Seleccao can secure qualification to the quarter-finals with victory, unless Denmark beat Germany 3-2, or by a higher-scoring one-goal margin. A draw will be enough provided Denmark fail to win. Portugal will also qualify if they lose by a one-goal margin and Denmark are beaten.
- Helder Postiga's goal against Denmark meant he became only the sixth player to score at three different European Championships after Jurgen Klinsmann, Vladimir Smicer, Nuno Gomes, Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
- Fabio Coentrao, Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul Meireles and Postiga are all a booking away from suspension.
- Netherlands have won just three of their last nine official games. They have never lost two group matches in a European Championship before.
- Bert van Marwijk's side must beat Portugal by a two-goal margin and hope Denmark lose to Germany in order to progress.
- Maarten Stekelenburg (pictured right) is in line to win his 50th cap against Portugal.
- Mark van Bommel, Jetro Willems and Nigel de Jong will incur a ban with their next bookings.
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Top 3 Predictions
Portugal 2-1 Netherlands
- 19.64 %
Portugal 0-2 Netherlands
- 10.01 %
Portugal 1-3 Netherlands
- 8.89 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||Aug 14, 2013||Portugal 1 - Netherlands 1|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Jun 17, 2012||Portugal 2 - Netherlands 1|
|World Cup Qualification 2006 (WC)||Jun 25, 2006||Portugal 1 - Netherlands 0|
|Mar 5, 2014||Portugal 5 - Cameroon 1||FR|
|Nov 19, 2013||Sweden 2 - Portugal 3||WCQ|
|Nov 15, 2013||Portugal 1 - Sweden 0||WCQ|
|Oct 15, 2013||Portugal 3 - Luxembourg 0||WCQ|
|Oct 11, 2013||Portugal 1 - Israel 1||WCQ|
|2||Gregory van der Wiel||Defender|
|8||Nigel De Jong||Midfielder|
|23||Rafael van der Vaart||Midfielder|
|16||Robin van Persie||Striker|
|-||Mark van Bommel|
|-||Luuk de Jong|
The Real Madrid star has endured a nightmarish tournament so far, but his luck may be about to change against a Dutch defence that has looked vulnerable at best and downright sloppy at worst. With the Portuguese attack regaining its verve against Denmark, a return to goalscoring form for Ronaldo is all that is needed to make Bento's side serious contenders for the trophy, provided, of course, they can navigate their way past the group stage.
Van Marwijk looks likely to give in to public pressure and hand the Schalke forward his first start in the tournament, with Robin van Persie possibly employed in a withdrawn role. It could well be the last throw of the dice by the 60-year-old, who will also be urging Van Bommel and Nigel de Jong to do a much better job of shielding the back four from opposition raids and give the team a solid foundation to launch attacks from.
Both teams know they cannot settle for anything less than a victory, which should hopefully lead to an open game of football. In possession, both sides can sting but it is when the ball is lost that will be key. How quickly can Portugal counter and how quickly can the Dutch regroup? This game cannot disappoint and if the Oranje were to go down here, they will go down guns blazing.