With China no longer in the World Cup picture following an up-and-down qualifying campaign, it looks ahead to an international match of another variety as it squares off with the Netherlands Tuesday for an international friendly bout in preparation for the Asian Cup.
The Netherlands is fresh off a 3-0 victory over Indonesia Friday, that match following a 1-1 draw with Italy on June 2. The Dutch team is led by Manchester United striker Robin van Persie and Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben, both of whom will be on full display as the two sides clash on Tuesday.
This match will be only the second meeting between the international sides, the first of which took place in 1996 in a 2-0 Netherlands win. Given China’s early exit from World Cup contention, it will be looking to even the score with a big performance ahead of Asian Cup qualifiers.
Let’s take a look at the vitals for the match and highlight a few players to watch as China and the Netherlands square off.
Where: Workers Stadium, Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
When: Tuesday, June 11 at 8 a.m. ET
Streaming and Television (via LiveSoccerTV.com): ESPN UK (England); PPLive, CCTV-5, G-Spots Channel (China)
Players to Watch
Robin van Persie (Netherlands)
Premier League stars typically draw a lot of attention in international matches, especially those taking place outside the confines of Europe. When the Netherlands travels to Beijing on Tuesday, it will be with the expectation that van Persie will be a big draw in the international friendly.
The Manchester United striker is easily the biggest name in this match, and for very good reason. In 48 contests across all formats this season, van Persie has notched 30 goals and eight assists, including four goals in non-EPL contests.
Van Persie’s blend of striking ability and creativity make him one of the most exciting players on any pitch, and in this case, he’ll be the player to watch on Tuesday. Paired with Robben, the Netherlands has all the firepower it needs to give China a very difficult match.
Hao Junmin (China)
Midfielder Hao Junmin has done plenty of damage for the Chinese side in their five Asian Cup-qualifying tilts, notching three goals in those contests.
Junmin isn’t a prolific striker outside his terrific free-kick game, but he makes up for his lack of power with tremendous speed, passing and dribbling ability.
The Chinese midfielder drew plenty of attention from European sides earlier in his career, including Arsenal and Liverpool of the Premier League. While he has spent his last two playing years in China, Junmin is a very recognizable face who can do some damage to the Netherlands in this international friendly bout.
Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
The van Persie-Robben combo is absolutely deadly any way you slice it. With van Persie’s striking ability and Robben’s pace and tremendously accurate cross, the Netherlands has a one-two punch capable of silencing many international sides.
And although Robben’s power and pace are his trademarks, the midfielder also has the striking ability to find the net from time to time. In 31 games across all competitions this season, the Bayern product has scored 13 goals and tallied eight assists, including four goals and an assist in the UEFA Champions League.
Although Robben’s future with Bayern is still up in the air, he won’t be worried about that when his Netherlands side squares off with China. Look for the midfielder to spearhead the charge against the Chinese side in a convincing Netherlands victory.