De Oranje might be the favourite in Group C on the paper but they are actually not so much different from their contenders there, especially Ukraine and Austria. They will be taking on Andrey Shevchenko’s side at the opening match in Johan Cryuff Arena. The home advantage shall be optimised here by Memphis Depay and Co to be able to advance from the group stage as the group leader. Yet, Ukraine has proven to be one of the tough team to beat. It will be an exciting clash between the two.
Both teams’ latest news
Netherlands is one of the teams which has named their squad the earliest. Frank de Boer left out Jasper Cillessen who tested positive covid-19, plus Ryan Babel, Steve Bergwijn, Atalanta man Hans Hateboer and Donny Van de Beek who is currently suffering an injury. The former Inter Milan boss determined to include some notable youngsters such as Cody Gakpo, Donyell Malen, Ryan Gravenberch and Jurrien Timber but still rely on the veteran, Marteen Sketelenburg between the sticks.
Ukraine has been sticking to the key men in the current squad plus some youngsters. Those who have been included are Artem Dovbyk, Mykola Shaparenko and Shakhtar young midfielder, Georhy Sudakov. The senior names in the squad are Andrey Yarmolenko and the 36-year old goalie, Andriy Pyatov. The surprising part from this squad is Shevchenko’s decision to exclude Atalanta man Viladimir Kovalenko and the experienced cultured winger Yevhen Konoplyanka due to their injury.
Frank de Boer has been undecided on opting for the traditional 4-3-3 with the transition to 4-2-3-1 or the pragmatic 5-3-2. One thing for sure, Memphis Depay is one of the frontman, Wout Weighorst is another one who is likely to get a nod to accompany the Lyon man and the PSV young star Donyell Malen or Quincy Promes should the former Dutch international in mid 1990s and early 2000s deploy the classic 4-3-3 which is more suitable against the defensive Ukraine.
Andrey Shevchenko has deployed several formation but a 4-3-3 with the transition of 4-5-1, which he opted for while holding France in a 1-1 draw at the last game of World Cup Qualifiers. Roman Yaremchuk will be the targetman upfront. He will gain support from a number of high profile midfielders such as Ruslan Malinovsky, Olexander Zichenko and Andrey Yarmolenko.
Players to watch
Frankie de Jong is definitely the key man in the midfield. The Barcelona man has made 27 appearances and scored one goal. Some other notable figures to watch are Memphis Depay contributing 26 goals in 64 caps and Juventus defender Mathhijs de Ligt.
Atalanta man Ruslan Malinovsky is one of the vital figures in the current squad along with Manchester City left back Olexander Zichenko. Both are versatile and can occupy various roles.
Netherlands vs Ukraine Prediction
Frank de Boer’s side might still be struggling to snatch a win here despite playing at home. Ruslan Malinovsky and Co have been solid at the backline and second line. They only lack of prolific striker upfront. If Netherlands could optimise their attacking prowess, a narrow win could be clinched.
Memphis Depay and Co are the slight favourite in this encounter and projected to win at 6/10, whereas Ukraine is only backed to win at 11/2. The draw result is at the value of 13/5.