Amsterdam plays host to four Euro football games this summer and Netherlands could well dazzle at home and on the road as the country seeks to end a 33-year wait to win another major international trophy.
The Netherlands last tasted Euros success back in 1988 when they beat the Soviet Union 2-0 in the final in Munich. Since then, the team has reached three Euros semi-finals before being eliminated in each one – and in 2016 the Dutch didn’t even qualify for the tournament. What’s perhaps more alarming is they failed to reach the World Cup three years ago.
This is therefore the Netherlands’ first international competition since winning the third-place final at the World Cup back in 2014. Seven years is a long time for a nation used to international success to wait – and expectations are building ahead of the Euro finals.
This year could be bathed in orange if the Dutch can navigate through a straightforward group stage – and their recent results suggest this shouldn’t be a problem. The Netherlands battled through a Euros qualification group that included Germany, Northern Ireland, Belarus, and Estonia to reach the finals – and they claimed a famous 4-2 victory over the Germans in Hamburg along the way. Two of the three top goal scorers in the qualifying group were Dutch and the team is blessed with a hoard of young attacking talent ready to be deployed this summer.
It is still uncertain with which formation The Netherlands will play during this Euros. However, The Netherlands played a 4-3-3 system in their last matches. This formation works similarly to that of Premier League side Liverpool. A flat midfield three can quickly transform into a malleable triangle, with the middle man sitting deep. The forwards intermingle in search of space, while the full-backs are encouraged to bomb on and stretch play with their overlaps. Unfortunately, this can lead to gaps at the back that have been exploited in recent months – Turkey scored four past the Dutch in a World Cup qualifier back in March.
Still, supporters back at home will expect this Netherlands Euro squad to top Group C that includes North Macedonia, Ukraine and Austria. All three of their group games will be played at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, while winning Group C could see them face Sweden, Scotland or even Portugal in the last-16. They kick off the tournament against Ukraine on 13 June and play Austria – arguably their hardest group opponent – four days later. Win those two and they’ll already be through, yet North Macedonia could provide an upset when they make their Euros bow.