Netherlands Strives For Good Memories Versus England

The Netherlands will face England in the second semifinal of the Euro 2024 in Dortmund on Wednesday. The Dutch won their only major international tournament on German soil in 1988. They also beat the English 3-1 in that tournament.
Hence, they will have fond memories of it and will want to use it as a motivating factor. The Dutch coach Ronald Koeman was also a part of that team that attained glory in Germany under Rinus Michels, who was also the coach who guided the Dutch to the final of World Cup in 1974 in West Germany.
Despite having given birth to a lot of legendary players over the years, the Netherlands has not been able to taste much success in international football. The Dutch have come close on a number of occasions, like in the 1974, 1978 and 2010 World Cups, when they lost in the final.

The Netherlands Should Attack England

England has not exactly set the tournament fire with its performance so far. However, the Three Lions have done the most important thing in football, which is to win matches. However, as the likes of Denmark and Slovakia have shown already, the English could come under severe pressure if the high press and quick, attacking passing is applied against them.
The Netherlands will start the match with a 3-4-3 formation, with left-winger Cody Gakpo being the team’s in-form player, who has already scored three goals in the tournament and is the joint top-scorer in it. He likes to cut inside from the left flank and take shots at the opposition goal and should be having a tough battle with Kyle Walker, the right-sided centre-back in England’s back-three.
In fact, Gakpo’s battle with Walker might go a long way in determining the fate of the match. However, Memphis Depay, the Dutch centre-forward, has had an ordinary tournament so far and will like to put an end to his recent goal-drought in his 98th appearance for his country.
Donyell Malen has also failed to impress on the right flank and will have to play well on Wednesday if the Dutch are to breach the English defence. Netherlands’ front three will also depend a good deal on passes from Xavi Simons. Virgil van Dijk is the star centre-back of the Dutch team, is also capable of playing long balls forwards and his passing ability might also come handy for his team.

The Dutch Defenders Have Their Work Cut Out

The Dutch might have to play with a high defensive line if they are to apply pressure on the English defence. However, their doing so will also open up space for the dangerous Bukayo Saka, who has been England’s best offensive player. Saka also likes to cut in from the right flank often and take a shot. He also scored a goal in that manner against Switzerland.
In such a scenario, Nathan Aké, the Netherlands’ left-sided centre-back, will have to do his bit to stop Saka’s incisive runs inwards from the right flank. Van Dijk’s ability to cover a lot of ground should also prove to be useful for his team. However, he should also spend much time contending with Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham.
Overall, Koeman cannot afford to remain overly defensive, as England will enjoy it if there is not much pressure on their defence. If the Dutch are to win the match, they will have to take the matter into their own hands and attack the English to carve out a victory.

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