2022 FIFA World Cup Team Previews: The Netherlands
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is less than a month away from kicking off in Qatar. Over the next 32 days, I will be previewing each team that will be taking part in the world’s most-watched event. Check out all of the team previews that have been done so far. Up next is the Netherlands.
After missing out on the 2018 World Cup, the Netherlands is back on the world’s biggest stage at the 2022 World Cup. They make the trip to Qatar with a rather inexperienced team since the “Oranje” went out in the Round of 16 at the 2020 European Championships. The Netherlands is ranked No. 8 in the FIFA men’s rankings and has not lost since going out in the Euros in June 2021, recording 11 wins and four draws in that span. They will be looking to move up in the rankings by the time the 2022 World Cup is over.
World Cup Appearances
The “Oranje” will be participating in their 11th World Cup in Qatar. Their first World Cup appearance came in 1934. The Netherlands made the 1938 World Cup also but did not reappear until 1974. From 1990 to 2014 they made all but one World Cup, the 2002 World Cup held in Japan and South Korea.
Best Finish at a World Cup
One of the top nations to have never won a World Cup, the Netherlands has finished as runners-up on three different occasions. The “Oranje” made back-to-back World Cup Finals in 1974 and 1978. Both times they lost to the hosts. In 1974, while being led by the legendary Johan Cruyff, they lost to West Germany 2-1 before losing to Argentina 3-1 four years later. It was not until 2010 that the Netherlands returned to the final. There they lost to Spain 1-0 in extra time thanks to a late goal from Andres Iniesta.
The Netherlands has players from some of the most well-known club teams in the sport such as Barcelona, Liverpool, and Ajax. The captain of the “Oranje” and the heart of the defense is Liverpool center-back Virgil van Dijk. While van Dijk leads the backline, Barcelona’s Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong lead the attack and the midfield.
The last time these two played for the Netherlands they suffered injuries and since that happened in September, only de Jong has returned to play. It will be interesting to see how fit Depay is when it gets closer to the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Depay has been the leading scorer for the Dutch team finishing with 12 goals in qualifying. He should be good to go in Qatar, but if he is not then the Netherlands will have to rely on PSV’s Luuk de Jong and Ajax’s Steven Bergwijn to score goals.
Following the 2020 Euros, the Netherlands hired Louis van Gaal to be their manager. This is his third stint as manager of the “Oranje” after being there from June 2000 to November 2001 and from July 2012 to July 2014. Van Gaal has become an iconic manager in soccer having led Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United. His success in charge of Ajax from 1991 to 1997 saw him become a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau in 1997.
Biggest Group Game – vs Senegal on November 21
The first match for the Netherlands is huge since it will set the tone for the rest of the group stage. With it being a lot of the players’ first-ever World Cup appearance there will be some added pressure. A win against an experienced and confident Senegal side will do the “Oranje” a power of good.
The Netherlands is the favorite to win Group A at the 2022 World Cup and rightfully so. If the Dutch do win their group of Qatar, Ecuador, and Senegal, they would have a much easier Round of 16 match against likely either the U.S. or Wales. However, if all goes as assumed they would then meet Argentina in the quarterfinals, and that is where I think the 2022 FIFA World Cup ends for the “Oranje”. My overall prediction is that the Netherlands win Group A but go out in the quarterfinals.
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