UEFA ranking: 11
How they qualified: Runners-up of qualifying Group C
Euro 2016 performance: Did not qualify
Previous European Championship appearances: 9
Best result: Winners (1988)
The Netherlands are finally back at a major international tournament after missing out on both Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup. The Oranje are eager to make up for lost time this summer, by hoping to at least emulate their last major tournament where they finished in third place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. While the Netherlands do not boast the talent of previous tournament squads, the team will certainly be hungry after such a long spell away from tournament football.
At 50, Frank de Boer will be one of the youngest managers at this summer’s Euro 2020, but he certainly does not lack experience as either a player or manager. During his playing career, de Boer played at top sides Ajax and Barcelona, where he was an important defensive presence. As a manager, the Dutchman coached Ajax youth sides before being appointed national team assistant manager in 2008, overseeing the 2010 World Cup where the Netherlands reached the final. A six-year spell at former club Ajax followed, where de Boer managed to win four consecutive league titles between 2011 and 2014. Less successful spells at Inter Milan, Crystal Palace, and Atlanta United followed, before taking over as national team manager in September 2020, after the previous manager Ronald Koeman left for Barcelona. In his last role with the national team de Boer witnessed a World Cup final, will he be leading this Netherlands side to another final – this time as a manager?
With regular captain and defender Virgil Van Dijk ruled out of Euro 2020, it is up to fellow Liverpool teammate Georginio Wijnaldum to step up. The 30-year-old midfielder was handed the captain’s armband in Van Dijk’s absence, and he will be hoping to lead the Netherlands to glory this summer. Wijnaldum was key for the Netherlands in qualifying, scoring 8 goals, and providing 2 assists in 7 games. His goals and assists are not the only things he brings to this Dutch team, but vast club and international experience – being the most capped player in the current squad with 73. For the Netherlands to have a successful tournament, they must protect Wijnaldum at all costs, as they can’t afford to lose another key player.
Euro 2020 Chances
Drawn in a relatively easy group on paper, with Ukraine, Austria, and debutants North Macedonia, Netherlands will be fancying their chances this summer. Progressing to the knockout stages is the minimum expectation, and while the Oranje will be desperate to make up for lost time after missing out on the previous two tournaments, a giant Van Dijk-shaped hole in defence and a manager that most recently burned out in MLS will be real worries for Dutch fans this summer.
Memphis Depay has come a long way since his miserable time at Manchester United, and it seems likely he will be joining his old national team boss at the Camp Nou. The 27-year-old’s contract at Lyon expires this summer, and the Dutchman has reportedly been spotted house-hunting in Barcelona. The Lyon captain has been involved in 76 goals in his last three seasons, which prompted Barcelona to seek out his services. It has also been reported that with the Catalan club’s current financial crisis, Depay is willing to take a pay-cut to seal his free transfer to the La Liga outfit.