UEFA Euro 2020

Netherlands Euro 2020 preview: Key players, strengths, weaknesses and expectations

Tom Gott
Jun 9, 2021, 12:00 PM GMT+1
The Netherlands are looking to make a statement
The Netherlands are looking to make a statement / BSR Agency/Getty Images

The Netherlands are finally back! For the first time since 2014, they've actually managed to qualify for a major tournament. 2014.

It was Ronald Koeman who led them here, but it's Frank de Boer who will take charge of the Dutch this summer as they attempt to make up for seven years of crippling humiliation on the international stage.

Results haven't been the most convincing for the team under De Boer, but if there was ever a time to step your game up to a new level, it's now.

Here's what to expect from the Netherlands.

Route to Euro 2020

Ronald Koeman, Memphis Depay
It was Ronald Koeman who led the qualification campaign / VI-Images/Getty Images

Under Koeman, the Netherlands looked exactly like the team we all expected them to be during their qualification for Euro 2020.

A 4-0 thumping of Belarus got things off to a good start, before a narrow 3-2 loss to Germany was avenged by an excellent 4-2 victory over Joachim Low's side soon after - the kind of result fans expect from their team.

Dominant wins followed over Estonia, Northern Ireland and Belarus, with the only blip coming in the form of a 0-0 draw away at Northern Ireland.

Koeman's side finished second in their group, just two points behind winners Germany.


Frenkie De Jong
De Jong is fast becoming a superstar / BSR Agency/Getty Images

The Netherlands' main strength comes in midfield. De Boer has taken six central midfielders to the Euros, and they're some of the most in-demand talents around.

Frenkie de Jong is the main highlight, and he's joined by Georginio Wijnaldum and Atalanta anchorman Marten de Roon. They're covered by valuable Eredivisie starlets Ryan Gravenberch and Teun Koopmeiners, with Ajax's Davy Klaassen helping out as well.

There's also some fun to be had in attack, where Memphis Depay, Wout Weghorst and Donyell Malen look like a whole lot of fun.


Frank De Boer
De Boer is yet to prove himself at this level / BSR Agency/Getty Images

The Netherlands might actually be a competent team if they weren't led by arguably the worst manager heading to the tournament.

De Boer struggled at Inter, Crystal Palace and Atlanta United, and after somehow earning himself the Netherlands gig, his struggles have continued. The Dutch are guilty of playing some slow, uninspiring football, and their record of just seven wins in their last 15 matches heading into the tournament tells you that the results just haven't been there.

Aside from De Boer, the Netherlands look terrifyingly weak in goal. Having lost Jasper Cillessen to a positive COVID-19 test, the starting spot has been handed to 38-year-old Maarten Stekelenburg, who hasn't been a first-choice goalkeeper at club level since the start of the 2016/17 season.

Players to watch

Matthijs De Ligt
Big things are expected from De Ligt / BSR Agency/Getty Images

For the Netherlands, their big players are fairly obvious, and there's one in every line of the field.

At the back, Juventus' Matthijs de Ligt will expect a big showing, as will Barcelona midfielder De Jong, and in-demand winger Memphis Depay completes the big trio in attack.

Gravenberch, Koopmeiners and left-back Owen Wijndal are all players you need to make sure you keep a close eye on, and don't rule out striker Weghorst being one of the surprise packages of the summer. He hit 20 Bundesliga goals this year for Wolfsburg and enters the tournament in the form of his life.

Final Euro 2020 squad

De Boer named his squad early but was forced to make a handful of adjustments after Cillessen and Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek were forced to drop out.

Goalkeepers: Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Tim Krul (Norwich), Marco Bizot (AZ)

Defenders: Daley Blind (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Inter), Joel Veltman (Brighton), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Nathan Ake (Man City), Denzel Dumfries (PSV Eindhoven), Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Owen Wijndal (AZ), Jurrien Timber (Ajax)

Midfielders: Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax), Teun Koopmeiners (AZ)

Forwards: Memphis Depay (Lyon), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow), Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Donyell Malen (PSV Eindhoven), Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg), Cody Gakpo (PSV Eindhoven)


Daley Blind
The Netherlands don't look like mounting a title challenge / BSR Agency/Getty Images

Even if the Netherlands aren't themselves these days, they shouldn't have any problems navigating Group C, which features Ukraine, Austria and North Macedonia.

After that? It could get ugly for the Netherlands.

If they don't get a favourable draw in the knockout stages, the Netherlands could easily get thumped by any above-average side and may end up wishing that they hadn't even qualified in the first place.

They're a good team with some excellent players, but until they figure out a way to put it all together, there's a very low ceiling for the Netherlands.

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