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|Match Result and Both Teams to Score||Odds|
|Netherlands and Yes||+190
|Draw and Yes||+500
|Wales and Yes||+1300
Gareth Bale and co. should be able to get on the scoresheet in Rotterdam, but it will be tough to avoid defeat.
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We are at the midway point of the 2022/23 Nations League, and the Netherlands will be pleased with how things have gone so far. A return of seven points from a possible nine has left Louis van Gaal’s side at the summit of the Group A4 standings. They lead Belgium and Poland by three points, and could extend their lead with a victory over Wales on Tuesday. That would leave them in pole position to qualify for the Finals, just as they did in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2019.
The Netherlands’ campaign has not been perfect. They have conceded four goals in their three outings and are yet to keep a clean sheet. That may come as something of a surprise given that the Netherlands has two of the best center-backs in world soccer in Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt, but both players have only started one game each this month. Van Gaal’s back three has been the subject of much discussion across the country, and work clearly needs to be done on tightening up the Oranje’s defensive structure.
Still, it would be unfair to dwell on that slight negative given the Netherlands’ position at the top of the group. The 4-1 demolition of Belgium away from home on matchday one will live long in the memory of their supporters. It was a fantastic display from the Dutch, who attacked with verve and imagination against a team that has outperformed them in recent years.
There were also positives to take from the 2-2 draw with Poland last time out, even though the Netherlands would have been hoping to win the game. The visitors to De Kuip established a 2-0 lead and looked to be on their way to a memorable victory, but the Netherlands showed character and determination to level the scores in the second half. They should have gone on to win the game, but Memphis Depay missed a penalty in stoppage time.
Wales have ground to make up after a slow start to Group A4. That is in part because they were initially focused on qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, which they did by beating Ukraine 1-0 at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Their first Nations League match came a few days before that crucial play-off, and Rob Page understandably chose to name a weakened side. That made sense in terms of their bid to reach Qatar after a second-place finish in UEFA’s qualification process, but it meant they spurned an opportunity
It should be said that Wales performed reasonably well on matchday one and actually took the lead against Poland. They did not disgrace themselves at home to the Netherlands either, going down 2-1 to a last-gasp goal from Wout Weghorst.
A 1-1 draw with Belgium last time out was highly creditable, but Wales now need to start getting some more points on the board. They will be keen to do so before the upcoming three-month break before the final two Nations League fixtures in September.
Wales have scored in each of their Nations League matches to date. In fact, they have found the back of the net in 10 consecutive games in all competitions, a run that stretches back to a 0-0 draw with Estonia last September.
They will not expect to have a majority of possession on Tuesday, but Wales’ counter-attacking prowess means they will nevertheless pose a threat to the Netherlands’ less-than-watertight defense. Gareth Bale is obviously their main weapon going forward, but it is interesting to note that the Real Madrid man (after winning three La Liga titles and five Champions Leagues, he will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the month) has not scored any of his country’s last five goals.
Ultimately, though, the Netherlands should have too much quality for Wales. Van Gaal has more game-changing options off the bench and that could ultimately make the difference, with the Netherlands able to introduce a higher caliber of player in the second half. Moreover, their own attacking record is excellent: no team in League A has scored more goals than the Dutch.
With all that in mind, the way to go in this one is a Netherlands win and both teams to score.
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|Netherlands vs Wales Information|
|Teams||Netherlands vs Wales|
|Location||De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands|
|Time||Tuesday, 14 June 2022, 2.45 PM EDT|
|How to watch||Fox Soccer Plus, fuboTV|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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