Exclusive Content:

Texans: Can you guess the official state snack?

(NEXSTAR) – While they don't seem to be...

Anybody can play Qatar — World Cup Group A Preview

Memphis Depay
Picture: Getty Pictures

It’s nonetheless laborious to consider that for a staff with the historical past of The Netherlands — three-time World Cup finalist, Euro ‘88 champion — that their current historical past doesn’t even embody qualification as an computerized. They missed the final World Cup, and 2016’s Euros. The latter was the primary European Championships to be expanded to 24 groups, so lacking it took some actual doing. This was a staff that simply forgot to develop a era of gamers after their 2010 Ultimate look in opposition to Spain. And whereas they had been in a position to waddle their approach torturously to a semifinal in Brazil, the shortage of a subsequent era to take over from that one meant that they missed out on two main tournaments.

Whether or not they have the mix proper now continues to be type of questionable, and going again to the longer term in having Louis van Gaal as supervisor in all probability means we’ll get extra of the turgid stuff we received after their upset of Spain within the group stage in Brazil, however needing perhaps probably the most ridiculous Arjen Robben dive (which is saying one thing) to get previous Mexico and a penalty shootout to get previous Costa Rattling Rica. That penalty shootout included van Gaal subbing his keeper on the finish of additional time in order that Tim Krul may face the penalties. Which labored, and resulted in van Gaal being up his personal ass much more than he already was (which can also be saying one thing).

The Dutch returned to the large time in final 12 months’s Euros, the place they regarded dynamite taking part in at dwelling within the group stage, tuning up Ukraine, North Macedonia, and Austria to the mixed rating of 8-2. However then it was the Czechs within the Spherical of 16, they utterly shat themselves, and had been out.

And the issue in that sport nonetheless seems to be to be an issue within the upcoming ones. Memphis Depay regarded very worthy of signing for Barcelona in the summertime of 2021 throughout that group stage in Amsterdam, scoring two targets and including two assists. After which he went lacking with everybody else when it actually mattered, managing only one off-target shot in opposition to Czechia. And this Dutch squad hasn’t actually moved on from him as one of many strikers in van Gaal’s 3-4-1-2.

Depay continues to be just about a nailed-on starter, and so they rotate Vincent Janssen or Steven Bergwijn round him, neither of whom might be counted on for rather more than being current. When the chips are down, the Dutch will nonetheless look to Depay to be a drive, one thing he’s confirmed he can’t do in opposition to high quality competitors.

The Dutch’s different supply of targets from midfield gained’t be round both this time, as Gini Wijnaldum broke his leg for Roma and is out for the event. They’ll hope that torch will probably be taken up by PSV’s Cody Gakpo, who has piled up 9 targets and 12 assists in simply 13 matches thus far within the Eredivisie and really nicely could be the subsequent huge Dutch factor. However as Jozy Altidore proved as soon as and Ricardo Pepi could also be proving now, any jackass can pile up numbers within the Dutch league. He’ll in all probability play simply behind the 2 forwards, and the Dutch will want him to make up for the noise that Depay gained’t make within the knockout rounds.

It’s a disgrace, as a result of the remainder of this Dutch squad could be primed for giant issues. Yeah, Virgil van Dijk has been borderline-woeful for Liverpool at occasions this season, however that is his first main tourney with the Dutch and, if something will snap him into his earlier imperious kind, it’s this. He’s often flanked by Nathan Ake and Jurrien Timber. Frenkie De Jong anchors the midfield, and there’s an enviable choice of gamers to accomplice him within the middle be it Davy Klaassen, or Steven Berghuis, or Teun Koopmeiners. Denzel Dumfries, although not a whole common for Inter, can present a menace down the suitable. Daley Blind had tennis balls on his boots however isn’t going to let anybody down on the opposite aspect.

But it surely nonetheless feels prefer it’ll all fall flat on the sharp finish. They might simply see England within the Spherical of 16, who’re numerous issues they shouldn’t be, however they are often miserly and never the type of protection Depay has proven the knack for breaking via. Or they might see a closely defensive Wales and even Iran. Argentina and France might be ready within the quarters ought to they get that far.

And it’s no assure within the group, as a result of Group A additionally has Senegal, Africa’s finest staff. It was a banner 12 months already for The Lions, as they gained AFCON to kick it off after which kneecapped Egypt for a second time on penalties to qualify for this event. Nonetheless, neither was a classic efficiency, as they didn’t look all that threatening in any of them and managed one aim from open play in 270 minutes. Their newest spherical of friendlies noticed them draw as soon as once more with a Carlos Quieroz-led aspect, this time Iran.

And this staff doesn’t lack offensive expertise. Sadio Mane often leads the road or performs on the left of the entrance three, reverse Ismail Sarr who’s been on the verge of a big-money transfer from Watford for what looks as if 10 years now. They’re often accompanied by Boulaye Dia, who’s scoring on half his photographs for Salernitana in Serie A in the intervening time. However supervisor Aliou Cissé likes to maintain it near the vest, and principally counts on his three forwards to conjure one thing whereas the remainder of the staff is targeted on turning the sphere right into a trench.

Ecuador has turn into one thing of a manufacturing line for younger expertise nowadays, numerous which you’ll see in MLS. Or on Brighton within the Premier League, as they boast three of their gamers, although in all probability not for lengthy, as Moise Caicedo seems to be destined for a transfer to a much bigger membership for a dumpster stuffed with £100 notes. Ecuador will carry the youngest staff out of South America for this, and are type of the alternative of Senegal in that they wish to occasion (which means targets, not that). They put 4 on Uruguay and 6 on Colombia throughout qualifying, and had been solely held scoreless thrice in COMNEBOL’s marathon qualifying schedule — and two of these had been away to Argentina and Brazil, each of whom they drew at dwelling. Their current kind is somewhat wonky, as they threw up back-to-back 0-0 attracts in friendlies with Japan and Saudi Arabia (higher than the USMNT), however these had been clearly friendlies. They’ll throw in a fright to one of many Dutch or Senegal on the very least.

Qatar has two benefits that they are going to hope will make up for the huge expertise deficiency. One, they’re at dwelling. Two, whereas groups will probably be throwing themselves collectively the week earlier than the event and simply hoping for cohesion, this one has been taking part in collectively for some time. They had been friends in each the 2021 Gold Cup the place they regarded like a reasonably tasty counterattacking aspect at occasions, and the 2019 Copa America. They had been presupposed to play within the 2021 Copa America as nicely, however earlier than that received an entire lot of foolish with scheduling and placement. They’ll have extra chemistry than most, and can in all probability take some extent off one of many different three.

Supervisor most probably to be red-carded: van Gaal is approach too targeted on ensuring everybody can see him holding a binder, so we’ll go together with Qatar’s Felix Sanchez. By no means belief the bald man with a beard.


Nov. 20 – Ecuador v. Qatar (11 a.m. EST)

Nov. 21 – Netherlands vs. Senegal (11 a.m. EST)

Nov. 25 – Senegal vs. Qatar (8 a.m. EST), Netherlands v. Ecuador (11 a.m. EST)

Nov. 29 – Ecuador vs. Senegal, Netherlands vs. Qatar (10 a.m. EST)




Don't miss

payday loans online

A regular at L.A. council meetings is arrested in assault

A lady who incessantly protests throughout Los Angeles City Council meetings has been arrested on suspicion of assault in reference to an altercation...

Deadly death cap mushrooms seen around Canberra, ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman warns | The Canberra Times

I'm a reporter at The Canberra Times, and was beforehand a trainee. I've lined varied matters on the masthead, together with courts, federal...