Netherlands v England Tips & Betting Preview
Yes, it's a real competition: Gareth Southgate's quest for glory continues.
The Nations League is so much fun.
England’s group stage campaign was littered with memorable moments—Harry Kane’s late winner against Croatia at Wembley to secure qualification to the finals was particularly special—and Gareth Southgate’s merry men have the opportunity to write themselves into the history books this summer.
The first ever Nations League champions…it has a ring to it.
Standing in England’s way first up is the Netherlands.
Much like Gareth with England, Ronald Koeman has transformed the Dutch national side from misfits to magicians. After two consecutive failures to qualify for a major tournament, the Netherlands now look stacked with talent and topped a Nations League group containing the two most recent world champions: France and Germany. Their centre-back pairing of Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt personifies this side: a tasty blend of youth, experience and pure quality.
Speaking of quality, who would’ve thought, just a few years after that Iceland match, that England would be this good? A front three of Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane is laughably exciting. The dynamism of the wingers, coupled with the ruthless efficiency of Kane, will terrorise the Dutch defenders, no matter how good they are.
So, I have two tips for this one, starting with both teams to score. And at $1.75*, it does look generously-priced.
While England is starting to become used to banging goals in like there’s no tomorrow, there’s still a slight issue regarding the keeping of clean sheets.
In their last 13 matches, England have kept just three clean sheets, and considering the Netherlands have scored 13 goals in their last five matches (with four of said matches being against either France of Germany), it’s easy to see why BTTS is a hot prospect.
Will England, with the embarrassment of riches they possess up front, find a way past Jasper Cillessen? Most likely. Will the Netherlands spoil yet another English clean sheet? I wouldn’t bet against it…
But, the all-important question: who will win?
The Dutch are on the up, there’s little doubt about that, and I expect them to be major players in next year’s European Championships.
But, this England side is special. Despite not being quite as star-spangled as the so-called Golden Generation (of failures), this is the most exciting England side in living memory, and the performances we’ve seen under Southgate—in particular that frankly awe-inspiring night in Seville back in October—have been getting better and better.
England are odds-against favourites, which seems about right. The two sides have met just once since 2016—a fixture England won—so there’s little in the way of recent history to look at, but on paper, England look slightly stronger.
There will be numerous players for both sides who will have featured in a Champions League Final just five days before this first match, but in an age where two games per-week is the norm for most top level footballers, it shouldn’t have any major impact.
Both sides are reliant on pace and directness, but England’s strike-force just looks a tad more potent than Ryan Babal, Quincy Promes and Memphis Depay, who have all still been excellent.
I’m backing the Three Lions to roar into the final within the 90 minutes.