This games features two sides who failed to make the World Cup so both coaches will be thinking about trying to build towards the UEFA Nations League and ultimately trying to make Euro 2020. By that point the Dutch will have gone six years without a major finals appearance, far too long for a nation of their football pedigree.
Their latest disappointment came as they finished 3rd behind France and Sweden in their World Cup qualifying group. They’ve since appointed Ronald Koeman as their new boss but the former Southampton and Everton manager has a tough task on his hands given the expectation levels remain high despite a relatively poor talent pool.
Slovakia meanwhile were in the same group as England and Scotland as their bid to make the 2018 World Cup ended in failure. They did actually finish 2nd in that group but they were the unfortunate side to end up as the worst of the group runners up and therefore miss out on a crack at the play-offs.
While the Dutch would have brought colour and great support, in truth neither of these sides will be greatly missed in Russia. This is clearly far from a vintage generation for the Netherlands while Slovakia again showcased that they are a hard-working side but a little short on talent during qualifying.
The one exception is certainly Marek Hamšík and the Napoli could just be the difference maker for his side here. Defensively they have a few promising players coming through such as Milan Škriniar of Inter and they ought to be organised enough to restrict this new-look Dutch attack to relatively few chances. They’ve won their last five home internationals, keeping clean sheets in all of those matches so they will certainly take confidence from that.
It was a mixed start for Koeman as his side lost at home to England before impressively winning in Portugal. Overall though this squad is more notable for the players that are no longer there with the likes of Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben having recently departed the international stage.
There is a lack of genuinely exciting prospects coming through and they may find it tough against well-organised opponents, away from home. Overall backing Slovakia Double Chance looks the smart bet.
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The last competitive meeting was at the 2010 World Cup with the Dutch winning 2-1. They were also 2-0 winners in a 2012 friendly.
Veteran defender Martin Škrtel isn’t in this squad but it’s still a relatively experienced side. Rotherham keeper Marek Rodák is the only uncapped player.
The Dutch squad is very similar to the one that took on England and Portugal in March. Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum are in the squad and will be looking to put Champions League Final disappointment behind them. 18 year old Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt may get another chance to impress.