International Soccer

Netherlands predicted lineup vs Romania

Having faltered at the last 16 during Euro 2020, the Netherlands are aiming to vanquish old demons when they take on Romania this Tuesday.

A shock defeat to Czechia ended dreams of a second European Championship title three years ago and they will be aiming to avoid the same fate in the last 16 of Euro 2024. Romania have proven themselves capable opponents at the tournament, but the Dutch are still strong favourites for this one, and justifiably so given the depth and strength of their squad.

However, after some slight alterations against Austria last time out, Ronald Koeman should return to a more familiar starting XI. Joey Veerman, Lutsharel Geertruida and Donyell Malen all came into the team during the 3-2 defeat, but none of them are likely to retain their starting spots.

Here is how the Netherlands could line up against Romania in the last 16.

Jeremie Frimpong

Jeremie Frimpong could return to the starting lineup / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

GK: Bart Verbruggen – Despite not entirely convincing against Austria, Verbruggen has been Koeman’s first-choice ahead of Mark Flekken and Justin Bijlow. The young Brighton goalkeeper only boasts the 15th best save percentage (75%) in the tournament.

RB: Denzel Dumfries – Having been an unused substitute against Austria, Dumfries should return to the starting XI. With physicality, pace and the ability to drive forward with the ball, he’s the Netherlands’ best option.

CB: Stefan de Vrij – Having kept Matthijs de Ligt out of the team so far, the Inter defender is unlikely to lose his starting berth. Having said that, the Dutch defence hasn’t been impenetrable so far, with room for improvement for De Vrij and his teammates.

CB: Virgil van Dijk – The skipper has taken his good 2023/24 form into Euro 2024, even if he hasn’t been as impeccable as he was for large parts of last season with Liverpool. Romania forward Denis Dragus will want to avoid him at every opportunity.

LB: Nathan Ake – The Manchester City defender lasted just 65 minutes before being replaced against Austria. However, he has enough credit in the bank to avoid being dropped, and he will be employed to keep Romania’s most creative outlet, Dennis Man, quiet.

CM: Tijjani Reijnders – Injuries to Frenkie de Jong and Teun Koopmeiners have left the Dutch short in midfield. Reijnders has played every match as a result, with the Milan midfielder having done nothing more than a mediocre job in the centre of the park.

CM: Jerdy Schouten – The 27-year-old has offered a little defensive protection to the Dutch backline, but Romania could exploit his lack of tournament experience if they can counter-attack quickly on Tuesday afternoon.

RM: Jeremie Frimpong – A right-wing back for Bayer Leverkusen, Koeman doesn’t trust Frimpong to play in defence. As a result, he may well be shifted further forward, a role he has performed for the German champions and for his country against France in the group stage.

AM: Xavi Simons – It took Koeman just 35 minutes to realise he had made a mistake by not starting Simons against Austria. The former Barcelona boss is unlikely to make the same error again.

LM: Cody Gakpo – Netherlands’ brightest star of Euro 2024 so far, Gakpo was superb during the group stage. Two goals and several delightful displays have shown new Liverpool boss Arne Slot where the attacker is most impactful.

ST: Memphis Depay – A well-taken goal against Austria opened free agent Depay’s Euro 2024 account, with the 30-year-old leading the line effectively. A battle with the ferocious Radu Dragusin will be intriguing to witness.


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