The Netherlands football team will take on Portugal in a friendly game on Wednesday at Estadio Algarve.
The last match played between these two teams was won by Portugal. That was a Euro Cup 2012 game and Netherlands had lost by 1-2 to be forced to return home pointless.
But, the Dutch team has shown a lot of improvement since that time under the guidance of Louis van Gaal. They haven’t lost an international game in the last 12 months or so. Their last defeat had come against Belgium in August last year.
Van Gaal deserves to be given credit for the consistency that the Dutch team has shown in the last few months. He has taken some bold decisions and has not hesitated in dropping senior players.
Recently, he has appointed Robin van Persie as the new skipper of the side saying that Wesley Sneijder doesn’t deserve a place in the squad at the moment because of his poor fitness.
As far as Portugal is concerned, their recent form hasn’t been poor either. They are on a winning streak of 4 games.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the man who will hold the key for the hosts. The Real Madrid superstar had found the net when these two sides had met last year.
Pepe is back to strengthen the defense of Portugal. The 30 years old centre back had missed the last couple of games as he was suspended.
Danny has also been called back after showing decent form for the Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg this season.
So, both the teams seem to have got good attacking players and it is set to be a cracker of a game. Portugal might have an edge as they are playing in their home conditions.
Former Liverpool star Dirk Kuyt has said that the Dutch national team was looking at a different kind of start to the Euro 2012. The Dutch were coming into the Euro 2012 as one of the favourites to win the competition, but were in the same group alongside Germany, Portugal and Denmark.
Hence, they faced a tough competition in order to get to the quarter-finals of the competition. The Dutch, though, were in for a shock after they lost their opening game against Denmark 1-0. It was followed by a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Portugal, which has put them on the brink of elimination from the competition.
Speaking to I Love Liverpool ahead of the Portugal match, the former Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt has said that he and his teammates did not see the competition going in such a bad manner. Despite having some of the best players in the world including the likes of Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben, the team has found it extremely hard to score goals and create chances. As a result, Dirk Kuyt has said that the team should focus more on creating more chances in the final group game against Cesc Fabregas‘s Spain. Netherlands still have a slim chance of making it into the quarter-finals.
“Everyone was very disappointed afterwards. We had a different start to this tournament in mind. We must now deliver a top performance against Portugal. If Germany do their job, then we can still progress to the next round. We got two good opportunities, but then their [Germany’s] first chance was an instant goal. We really had to continue in the same footing, but we couldn’t. We then went all out in our play, and Robin [van Persie] scored a beautiful goal. But they were dangerous on the counter. If we had been more compact, we could have helped each other more,” said Kuyt.