Optimistic Prospects In The Face of Disappointing Records: The Netherlands

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The Netherlands

The Netherlands ended up third in the Group A standings of the UEFA World Cup Qualifiers and after lining up just behind France and Sweden they were knocked out form the game. Missing out on the World Cup for a second consecutive time after failing at the European Championship last year, the Dutch got settled among the greatest disappointments during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

The football fans are disappointed and the time for transformation has come for the Netherlands. The team is too important to fail as it does lately. Even players like Bas Dost , Wesley Sneijder , Arjen Robben  and Virgil van Dijk are not enough to save the day and some of them are too old to hold the standards beyond 2022 World Cup. Robin van Preise (34), Sneijder (33) are some of them and the 33 old Roben has already declared his retirement.

In case the team wants to be one of the big players in the near future, a new strategy has to be adopted for the next decade. By chance, for the Dutch there are many gifted players to choose from who will help them put behind the dreadful times they have had recently.

How do the prospects look?

Goalkeepers and Defenders

Following normal logic, one would expect Jasper Cillessen to be the future goalkeeper for the Netherlands. While Jeroen Zoet is lacking the international background and the depth of talent of Cillessen, Maarten Stekelenburg will be getting too old for the forthcoming appearances. Finally, any of them could be hardly compared to a player like Edwin van der Sar, but Cillessen seems like the strong choice for the position.

In terms of defence several curious names appear too. Still playing for Southampton, van Dijk will probably join a Top League side very soon. Since the times of Jaap Satm, he is bringing force for a lacking force at the back for the Duch team. Matthijs de Ligt is a possible choice for his partner for the next few years. The 18-year-old talent already has two call-ups behind his back and it is believed that he has the aptitude to become one of the greatest centre-backs in the world.

It might be rather hard to satisfy the full-back roles, though. There are Daley Blind (Manchester United) and Kenny Tete (Olympique Lyon) who seem to have the leadership experience and suit the roles to go forth. Blind is professing maturity and adaptability as he is playing on several roles simultaneously and both of them are having starter roles in their own teams.

There is a solid base and options for the Dutch to choose from for defenders to go forward including Jeffrey Bruma, Nathan Ake, Stefan de Vrij and Bruno Martins. At the same time, the full back roles suggest peculiar choices such as Rick Karsdorp, Jetro Willems and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.


The midfielders unit we will consider from two perspectives. On one side the defensive players, and on the other the attacking-minded players.

Two names are distinct when we investigate the possible choices for central midfield: Kevin Strootman, from AS Roma and Georginio Wijnaldum, from Liverpool. Both are leading players on their teams and have played in two of the best leagues in the world. Donny van de Beek stands for a future alternative and Blind is a possible choice as well. The 20-year-old Ajax playmaker was an outstanding performer for the Eredivisie giants last season and it is advisable to be introduced gradually to the National Team setup. Leroy Fer, Tonny Vilhena and Marten de Roon have quite good background too.

Although Davy Klassen seems to have not yet got completely used to the Premium League, his talent is obvious and looking at attacking choices, the Everton player is the best one to take the place of Sneijder.

Although, Marco van Ginkel not always advanced as fast as it was hoped he remains another gifted player who has got a lot more to show in the years to come. Provided that he keeps the passion, he can become the country’s best playmaker. Davy Pöpper’s opener with Brighton has been quite pleasing too.


On the side of wingers, the Netherlands’s records are full with prospective players and this is still valid at present times. Jeremain Lens, Quincy Promes, Jürgen Locadia and Memphis Depay are capable of playing on either flank. In terms of strikers, Dost and Janssen should keep their titles for the near future. For sure, the Netherlands need a more productive goal scorer. After a few great years at Sporting Lisbon, Dost has at least won the contest to be the starting forward in the coming few matches.

The Time Line-Up:

Assuming all the above players are in good health, we will make up a simple example to analyse how this time could line-up using 4-3-3 tactic:

AM: Davy Klaassen

CB: Virgil van Dijk

CB: Stefan de Vrij/Bruno Martins Indi

CM: Kevin Strootman

CM: Georginio Wijnaldum

GK: Jasper Cillessen

LB: Daley Blind

LW: Jeremain Lens

RB: Rick Karsdorp

RW: Memphis Depay

ST: Bas Dost

Obviously, at the time this is not the greatest team in Europe but they are stepping forwards in the competition for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the European Championship in the next few years. If the team keeps the pace we can expect to see them among the best in Europe in the near years exactly as they used to be.