Netherlands vs. Romania: Complete World Cup Qualifying Preview

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Netherlands vs. Romania: Complete World Cup Qualifying Preview
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Match Info

Who: Netherlands vs. Romania, UEFA Group D

When: Tuesday, 26 March, Kickoff 14:30 p.m. ET

Where: Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

 

 

Form & Standings

Team

Pld

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

Pts

 Netherlands

5

5

0

0

16

2

+14

15

 Hungary

5

3

1

1

12

7

+5

10

 Romania

5

3

1

1

10

6

+4

10

 Turkey

5

2

0

3

6

6

0

6

 Estonia

5

1

0

4

1

9

−8

3

 Andorra

5

0

0

5

0

15

−15

0

Table statistics courtesy of FIFA.com

Romania 1-4 Netherlands (September 2012)

Although Holland boast a commanding position in Group D’s qualification race, the Oranje’s southeastern rivals, Romania, remain within touching distance of a top two finish and travel to the Dutch capital this week as firm underdogs.

Over the weekend, Louis van Gaal’s men extended their World Cup qualification winning streak to five after seeing off Estonia with a convincing 3-0 victory.

Meanwhile, Victor Piturca’s Romania were lucky to earn a point after snatching a late draw against fellow qualification candidate Hungary, with Adrian Mutu and Alexandru Chipciu providing the difference on the night.

The last time these two sides met back in September, Netherlands walked away from Budapest with a 4-1 victory in hand, increasing the gap between them and their Group D competitors.

Netherlands’ triumph over Estonia—their 13th consecutive World Cup qualifying win—was far from their most convincing of late, but with a win over Romania, the Oranje can move that much closer to Brazil, potentially stretching their lead to eight points.

 

 

Team News

Lars Baron/Getty Images
Sneijder: Set to miss out

After making his way back into the Holland squad, Wesley Sneijder had to be withdrawn from the Estonia game with a groin strain over the weekend, and is unlikely to be risked against the Tricolorii.

Goal.com has reported Louis van Gaal’s feeling on the matter, with the Holland manager almost assuring fans that the Galatasaray midfielder has little chance of featuring on Tuesday:

We have to wait and see. We must look at the reaction of his groin tomorrow and the day after.
If you ask for a substitution after half an hour, I don't think you've got a big chance to play on Tuesday.

 

Romania haven’t got many injury concerns and could name a very similar lineup to the one that started against Hungary over the weekend.

 

 

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Key Players

Rafael van der Vaart

Having come on for an injured Wesley Sneijder over the weekend, it’s likely that Rafael van der Vaart will take his compatriot’s place as Holland’s central creative influence on Tuesday.

The Hamburg playmaker opened the scoring against Estonia and after a frustrating first half that featured a distinct lack of ingenuity, Van der Vaart’s introduction seemed to have its desired impact.

Given the distance in talent between Netherlands and Romania, it’s safe to bet that the Dutch hosts will have a majority of the possession and attacking chances, but the responsibility lies with the midfield to make something of those opportunities.

With the likes of Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar ahead of him, VDV certainly has the outlets necessary to unlock a Romanian rearguard, the former Spurs star merely has to live up to expectations on the night.

 

Adrian Mutu

Despite being one of his nation’s most experienced attacking assets, Adrian Mutu failed to earn a starting spot the last time his side ventured out against Dutch opposition.

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However, with Ciprian Marica only just making his return from injury, The Guardian recently reported that the Schalke forward would be omitted from Victor Piturca’s squad for the Hungary and Netherlands fixtures.

This would most likely leave Mutu to lead the Romanian attacking line almost single-handedly against the Holland defence, currently Group D’s most resilient after conceding just two goals in five matches.

With a wealth of European experience, Mutu’s fall from grace since his Chelsea days still leaves him as a recognised name among many and the striker will hope to jostle with the likes of Stefan de Vrij and Bruno Martins Indi enough to upset Louis van Gaal’s stern back line.

Having netted in his first World Cup qualification start against Hungary, the Ajaccio frontman will be in good spirits heading to Holland’s capital, hoping to revive some of the calamitous Dutch defence to have appeared at Euro 2012.

 

 

Predicted Lineups

Holland (4-2-1-2-1)

Tim Krul; Daryl Janmaat, Stefan de Vrij, Bruno Martins Indi, Daley Blind; Kevin Strootman, Siem de Jong; Rafael van der Vaart; Arjen Robben, Jeremain Lens; Robin van Persie

 

Romania (4-2-3-1)

Ciprian Tatarusanu; Gabriel Tamas, Dorin Goian, Vlad Chiriches, Razvan Rat; Alexandru Bourceanu, Mihai Pintilli; Gabriel Torje, Bogdan Stancu, Gheorghe Grozav; Adrian Mutu

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