Preview: Netherlands vs Montenegro – prediction, team news, lineups
The Netherlands and Montenegro will meet for the first time when they meet at Philips Stadion for the fifth match of their World Cup qualifying campaign in Group G.
Both nations have identical records from their first four games, claiming seven points, with the hosts just ahead of the visitors in goal difference.
Louis van Gaal, who returned for his third spell on the bench as coach of the Dutch national team, could not start with the victory as his team drew 1-1 in Norway on Wednesday night.
Erling Braut Haaland continued his strong start to the season in front of goal, as the ‘Striking Viking’ scored the first goal for the Norwegians in the 20th minute, however, the Netherlands responded when Davy Klaassen scored the tying goal from close to 16 minutes. later.
Group G is now shaping up to be one of the most competitive groups in the European qualifiers, with just one point separating the four best nations. The Dutch missed a chance to climb to the top of the group midweek, but with Montenegro gaining a point against group leaders Turkey, the gap to the top is still only one point.
The Netherlands have an impressive record in the World Cup qualifiers under Van Gaal, losing just one of their last 18 matches.
Two major home games against Montenegro on Saturday and Turkey next Tuesday are yet to come for Oranje, and expectations are high for them to claim six points, putting them in the driver’s seat at the end of this current international break.
Montenegro has surprised many during the playoffs so far and scored another impressive result on Wednesday when they salvaged a 2-2 draw in Turkey.
Goals from Cengiz Under and Yusuf Yazici gave the hosts a two-goal lead after half an hour, however, the visitors cut one five minutes before halftime thanks to Lazio’s Adam Marusic, before substitute Risto Radunovic will score a spectacular draw in the 97th minute.
The Brave Falcons have claimed seven points in their first four games, nearly half of the 16 they amassed in 10 qualifiers for the 2018 tournament.
Montenegro heads to their game in the Netherlands with a poor record against nations ranked in the top 12 by FIFA, losing five of their last six games and conceding 19 goals in the process.
If they want to qualify for their first major tournament in their 14-year history as an independent nation, then claiming points on Saturday could be crucial for Miodrag Radulovic’s team.
Netherlands possible starting lineup:
Bijlow; Dumfries, De Vrij, Van Dijk, Blind; Klaassen, De Jong, Wijnaldum; Berghuis, Depay, Gakpo
Montenegro possible starting lineup:
Mijatovic; Vesovic, Savic, Vujacic, Tomasevic; Marucic, Scekic, Kosovic, Haksabanovic; Bosovic, Durdevic