A place in the Nations League semi-finals is on the line as the Netherlands and Belgium go head-to-head at the Johan Cruijff Arena.
With three points separating the top-two nations in Group A4, the hosts are in a prime position to lock down a play-off berth.
Following a thumping 4-1 win on matchday one, Lous van Gaal’s men will progress beyond the Nations League group stages for the second time in three seasons even if they lose by a slim margin.
Indeed, the visiting Belgians need to at least match the Netherlands’ victory in the reverse fixture to pip the Oranje to the spot, emphasising the size of the task at hand.
Both sides claimed all three points in their Nations League matches at the start of September’s international break.
The Netherlands’ landslide victory has maintained their 100% unbeaten ratio in the ongoing Nations League campaign (W4, D1), extending van Gaal’s undefeated touchline start to 14 games (W10, D4).
On the other hand, De Rode Duivels’ hard-earned success against Wales made it three consecutive Group A4 fixtures without losing (W3, D1) as they seem to be picking up steam ahead of the Qatar World Cup.
Since there’s no better way to enter the tournament than avenging their largest-margin defeat under Roberto Martinez, Belgium will be out to justify their current FIFA rank (#2).
Van Gaal’s third appointment as the Netherlands boss has proved a turning point for the Oranje, who have bounced back from a Euro 2020 fiasco to land their first World Cup appearance since 2014.
In addition to going unbeaten in all 14 internationals under the former Manchester United manager, the Netherlands have been a genuine attacking threat, netting 11 times during that span.
The Oranje’s purple patch under van Gaal promises to keep their three-game unbeaten streak against Belgium intact (W1, D2) and fire them into the Nations League play-offs for the first time since its inception in 2018.
Belgium’s trophyless ‘Golden Genaration’ may be facing a final opportunity to back their household status with a piece of silverware at Qatar 2022.
So head coach Martinez will be desperate to stretch his side’s ongoing two-match winning run since it could prove a psychological boost they need to thrive at a major international tournament.
However, just one win from their last five international travels doesn’t bode well (D3, L1), though after leaving Wales on the cusp of Nations League relegation (via The Telegraph), they may show up in a confident mood.
Netherlands vs Belgium Potential Line-ups
Netherlands (3-4-3): Remko Pasveer; Matthijs de Ligt, Virgil van Dijk, Stefan de Vrij; Daley Blind, Denzel Dumfries, Teun Koopmeiners, Frenkie de Jong; Cody Gakpo, Steven Bergwijn, Memphis Depay.
Belgium (3-4-3): Thibaut Courtois; Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Leander Dendoncker; Timothy Castagne, Yannick Carrasco, Axel Witsel, Hans Vanaken; Charles De Ketelaere, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard.
How to Watch?
Netherlands vs Belgium, alongside all other Nations League fixtures in September, are available to watch online via football live streams.
Netherlands vs Belgium Prediction
A hatful of permutations on foreign soil cannot encourage Belgium’s bid to avenge the day-one humiliation.
But even if they do, they will feel disappointed as reaching the play-offs was undoubtedly their ultimate aim before the tournament started.
So we’d stick with the Netherlands to preserve their unbeaten streak.
Netherlands 2-2 Belgium
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