Just when it appeared the Netherlands might cruise through World Cup qualifying in UEFA Group D without dropping a point, it almost gets upset by Estonia. Robin van Persie scored a late equalizer, but the match proved the Dutch can't afford to look ahead quite yet.
Prior to last week's tense draw, the Netherlands had won all six matches in group play. Make no mistake, the Oranje are still in terrific shape. They lead Romania by six points for the top spot with three fixtures to go but can't let up until the berth is officially secured.
Next up is Andorra. The overmatched side has yet to score a goal in seven qualifiers while conceding 22. The first meeting with the Netherlands resulted in a 3-0 defeat, actually a reasonable result on the road against a talented opponent.
The match provides the Oranje with a perfect opportunity to bounce back after a lackluster showing. Knowing that, let's examine the vital information for the match, followed by a preview and prediction.
Where: DEVK-Arena in Aixovall, Andorra
When: Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 2:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. BST)
Watch: Sky PerfecTV
Live Stream: ESPN3.com (Live stream only in U.S.)
Odds: Netherlands 1-100, Andorra 40-1, Draw 20-1 (via Paddy Power)
Top Storyline: Can the Netherlands secure the top spot in Group D?
The Netherlands are in a great spot. The team sits atop the group and will secure a spot in next summer's World Cup as long as it takes care of business over the next few matches. But the draw with Estonia was enough to raise some questions.
Working with a patchwork back line, the Oranje allowed two goals to an Estonian side that only had three in its first six games. They will hope it was an isolated problem, but it showed they aren't invincible, even against opponents that can't match their talent level.
So the biggest key heading into the next match is getting back on track. On the surface, Andorra is a foe the Netherlands should be able to beat without breaking a sweat. But the players can't afford to have that type of attitude.
They must refocus after the draw and put together a much stronger overall performance. It starts with the attack, led by van Persie and Arjen Robben, but includes the back line when Andorra creates chances on the counterattack.
A return to normalcy and the Netherlands will move one step closer to Brazil.
Expect an inspired showing from the Dutch side. The near loss to Estonia brought a little extra drama into the equation, but it shouldn't be a major concern in the long run. That's as long as it earns a comfortable victory over Andorra.
Fans may be a little more antsy than usual for what should be a slam-dunk victory. But the Netherlands will do enough to earn all three points and eliminate any doubts that were starting to creep in after last week's performance.
Netherlands 4, Andorra 0
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