Netherlands vs England Preview: Our predictions for Lionesses fixture against the Dutch in the Nations League
England travel to the Netherlands on Tuesday as they continue their UEFA Nations League campaign against Sarina Wiegman’s home country and former team. Here’s what our writers predict will happen.
It was closer than they would have hoped but the Lionesses 2-1 victory over neighbours Scotland in Friday’s opening game of the UEFA Nations League proved to be the perfect tonic after their World Cup final disappointment.
Goals from Lucy Bronze and Lauren Hemp had put England in the driving seat at a packed Stadium Of Light but an injury time goal from Kirsty Hanson and a dominant second half display from the away side meant Wiegman’s team were forced to dig deep for the three points.
As the Nations League continues, Wiegman and her side head to Utrecht to face Euro 2017 champions Netherlands as they look to make it two wins from two.
While Keira Walsh continues to be absent from the squad with injury, the good news from the Lionesses camp is that star striker Alessia Russo is fit to play after missing the win over Scotland on Wearside.
Can the Lionesses ensure their UEFA Nations League campaign starts with three points? Our women’s sports writers Graham Falk, Matthew Gregory and Kurtis Leyland share their thoughts and predictions ahead of the game.
Friday’s game against Scotland was a bit of a close affair and the packed out Wearside crowd were probably hoping for something a little more comfortable against a team they were clear favourites against.
That said, perhaps a battling, character testing win over a close rival is exactly what the Lionesses needed in the aftermath of their World Cup final defeat in August.
Lucy Bronze and Lauren Hemp were both outstanding as Wiegman opted to continue with a three at the back formation and, with Alessia Russo returning to the fold, the game against the Netherlands tomorrow will see England at almost full strength.
On paper, the Dutch are the toughest team they’ll face in the Nations League with the likes of Jill Roord going to be their biggest danger, however, their unlikely defeat to Belgium on Friday shows they maybe earnt firing on all cylinders.
Does that make it harder for the Lionesses though? You would assume there's been a bit of soul searching since the defeat and they'll want to bounce back on home soil.
Graham’s prediction: I’m very tempted to take the Lionesses to grab all three points but I think this game points to a draw. Netherlands will not want to lose two in a row and will be a real tough test on home turf. 1-1. Roord for the Dutch and Lessi Russo for England.
England’s stuttering display in the second half against Scotland will have set a few alarm bells ringing, and if they play in such a disjointed manner in Utrecht then they’re much more likely to be punished by a strong Dutch side – albeit one that struggled themselves in losing to Belgium in their Nations League opener.
Sarina Wiegman still seems to be working out her best front three in the post-Ellen White era, while the absence of Keira Walsh was keenly felt in midfield at the Stadium of Light. The side who find their fluency and rhythm first will most likely come out on top – but I’m predicting an up-and-down draw.
Matthew's prediction: Netherlands 1-1 England.
England’s Lionesses bounced back from their World Cup heartbreak with a hard fought 2-1 victory against an impressive Scottish side.
The Lionesses weren't on top form during the game at the Stadium Of Light and they face another tough test against Netherlands as Sarina Wiegman faces her old team - a team she won the 2017 Euros with.
England will need to be at their best to beat the World Cup quarter-finalists but they should have enough quality on the pitch to get the job done.
Kurtis' prediction: I’m going for another hard-fought 2-1 victory with Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp grabbing the goals.