Holland vs. Estonia: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info for World Cup Qualifier
Qualifying for the 2014 World Cup heats back up this week after an extended layoff in most regions. Holland and Estonia last played qualifiers in October, with the Netherlands building a lead in Group D while Estonia already sits nine points off the pace.
Neither country's standing is a surprise. The Netherlands was expected to take control of the group and it has, accumulating a plus-11 goal differential through four matches. The Oranje can't afford to slip up, however, as Hungary and Romania remain in striking distance.
Estonia would need a miracle run starting on Friday to get back in contention for the playoff round. The Sinisargid are a veteran group, but just can't match the talent level of the other nations in the group. Their only points came from a 1-0 win over Andorra.
While the match certainly seems like a mismatch from the outset, let's take a look at the viewing information for the qualifier and some players to watch as the Netherlands battles Estonia.
Where: Amsterdam Arena in Amsterdam, Netherlands
When: Friday, March 22 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Watch: ESPN Dos (Live stream only in U.S.)
Live Stream: ESPN3.com
Netherlands Player to Watch: Robin van Persie
The Manchester United striker is having a terrific first season at Old Trafford. He ranks second in the Premier League in goals with 19 while also tallying 12 assists. The strong debut campaign has helped lead the Red Devils to the top of the EPL, and the Oranje hope it carries over to international play.
Van Persie has scored 31 goals, the most of anybody on the current squad, in 72 appearances for the Netherlands. It's easy to see him adding two or three more to that total on Friday against a suspect Estonia back line.
He could use a strong showing like that to get back on track. Despite the impressive goal total with United, he hasn't found the net in his past seven appearances. A minor slump, but still one he would like to end before heading back to the club.
Estonia Player to Watch: Andres Oper
Estonia has only found the net once during Group D play, and to nobody's surprise it was provided by Oper. The 35-year-old striker is closing in on 40 goals in his international career. Only one other player on the squad has more than eight.
It's clear the veteran has a lot of pressure on his shoulders every time he steps on the pitch. If he isn't producing chances in the attacking third, there's a good chance the Sinisargid are struggling. He needs to control the pace.
Oper has played all over the map during his club career, including a couple of stops in Holland. The only consistent thing is his ability to find the net. If Estonia has any hope of upsetting the Oranje, he needs to lead the charge.
What's your prediction for the WC qualifier?
Matchup to Watch: Wesley Sneijder vs. Konstantin Vassiljev
Sneijder is still settling in at Galatasaray after leaving Inter Milan, where he'd fallen out of favor. Although the dynamic midfielder still isn't in top form, his track record with the national team suggests he'll still play a key role in the qualifiers.
As the team's top playmaker, he needs to make sure the Netherlands is dominating possession and creating chances for Van Persie, Arjen Robben and rising star Jeremain Lens. If those players are getting constant looks at goal, the Oranje will cruise.
Estonia will likely counter with Vassiljev. The Amkar Perm midfielder has been one of the nation's most reliable players in recent years. That said, there's a good chance he'll be overwhelmed by a supremely talented Netherlands side on Friday.
Netherlands 4, Estonia 0
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