Netherlands vs. Estonia: Complete Preview for World Cup Qualifier
The road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil continues on Friday, as the Netherlands host Estonia in a UEFA Group D qualifying match at the Amsterdam Arena.
Where: Amsterdam Arena; Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
When: Friday, 3:30 p.m. EDT
Where to Watch: WatchESPN
Group D Standings
After winning their first four qualifying matches, the Netherlands played in two friendlies against fellow European powerhouses, Germany and Italy.
Against Germany on Nov. 14, 2012, the Oranje played to a scoreless draw in front of their home supporters in Amsterdam. In February against Italy, the Oranje played to a 1-1 draw with Jeremain Lens scoring the only Dutch goal in the 33rd minute.
After picking up their first win in qualifying against lowly Andorra in front of just 723 people on Oct. 16, Estonia played in three friendlies against three unique opponents.
Andorra defeated Oman on Nov. 8 thanks to late goals by Henri Anier and Gert Kams. Since the win over Oman, the Blueshirts lost to the United Arab Emirates and Scotland.
What's At Stake
The Netherlands are beginning to run away with the Group D title and a win over Estonia would distance the Oranje from Hungary and Romania, two teams that face each other on Friday.
If Estonia can come away with a point from Amsterdam on Friday, it would be deemed a total shock. With Turkey expected to beat Andorra, Estonia could fall far behind the rest of their rivals for second place in the group with a loss.
Players to Watch
Bruno Martins Indi, D, Netherlands
Martins Indi has been one of the many young players brought into the Dutch squad by manager Louis van Gaal in the last year.
The left-back has been playing well since debuting against Belgium in August. Martins Indi has scored two goals in four qualifying matches for the Oranje.
Against a far less talented Estonia team, Martins Indi will be able to make runs forward on the left wing with ease to provide the Dutch attack with plenty of quality crosses.
Joel Lindpere, M, Estonia
Lindpere's name is one that is familiar with fans of Major League Soccer, as the midfielder plays for the Chicago Fire at the club level.
The 31-year-old has played for the Estonian national team since 1999, and he is still looking to lead his national team to their first major tournament.
If Estonia wants to come out of Amsterdam with a positive result, Lindpere's play in the midfield will be one of the key reasons why that will happen.
Kevin Strootman, M, Netherlands
Strootman is one of the best young talents in the Netherlands squad, and he has been one of the key cogs in the offensive machine of the Oranje during the qualifying process.
Strootman may not be a talented goalscorer like Robin van Persie or Wesley Sneijder but he does possess the ability to get the attack started in the center of midfield.
Another impressive fact about the 23-year-old PSV Eindhoven player is that he was named captain of the Dutch squad for the last two qualifying matches.
Netherlands 4, Estonia 0
There is no question that the Oranje will be victorious after the final whistle is blown on Friday. The only concern about the result for the Dutch will be how many goals that they are able to put into the back of the net.
Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.
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