HITC
Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal has selected his 26-man squad for the 2022 Qatar World Cup. So, HITC Football looks at Oranje’s best viable XI with Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo.
The Dutch travel to the Middle East to compete in Group A with Senegal, Ecuador and the host nation, Qatar. Van Gaal’s side start their tournament on November 21, before ties on the 25th and 29th. It is also their return to the FIFA tournament after missing Russia 2018.
Dick Advocaat failed to secure the Netherlands’ place at the last World Cup four years ago. It was the first time that Oranje had failed to qualify for the quadrennial FIFA tournament since 2002. It also followed the Dutch making the final in 2010 and the semi-finals in 2014.
Spain beat the Netherlands in the World Cup final at South Africa 2010 to extend Oranje’s wait for a maiden title. No nation has reached the final more often than the Dutch without yet winning a crown. Oranje also finished in second at Germany 1974 and Argentina 1978.
Van Gaal has now announced the 26-man Netherlands squad he hopes will deliver at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The tournament will be the 71-year-old’s final act as the Oranje boss. Ronald Koeman will return to the role he held between 2018-2020 in the New Year.
Goalkeepers: Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord), Andries Noppert (Heerenveen), Remko Pasveer (Ajax)
Defenders: Tyrell Malacia (Manchester United), Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich), Jurrien Timber, Daley Blind (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij, Denzel Dumfries (Inter Milan), Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen)
Midfielders: Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Cody Gakpo, Xavi Simons (PSV Eindhoven), Marten de Roon, Teun Koopmeiners, (Atalanta), Steven Berghuis, Davy Klaassen, Kenneth Taylor (Ajax)
Forwards: Memphis Depay (Barcelona), Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), Luuk de Jong (PSV), Vincent Janssen (Royal Antwerp), Noa Lang (Club Brugge), Wout Weghorst (Besiktas – on loan from Burnley)
So, with Van Gaal announcing his squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, HITC Football has taken a look at the Netherlands’ best XI for the tournament including Van Dijk and Gakpo…
Pasveer made a late charge to earn a spot in the Netherlands’ World Cup squad under Van Gaal. The Ajax star only made his Oranje debut in September in their UEFA Nations League ties with Poland and Belgium. Yet he kept clean sheets in both fixtures to win 2-0 and 1-0.
Van Dijk will captain his nation in Qatar after the Liverpool star took over the Netherlands’ armband in 2018. He had been in the Oranje set-up since 2014 and debuted in 2015. Now, the 31-year-old is off to his first major tournament after missing Euro 2020 through injury.
De Ligt will be desperate to enjoy a better tournament than the £68m Bayern Munich ace had at Euro 2020. The 38-cap 23-year-old played three of the Netherlands’ four European Championship ties. But his tournament ended after a 55th-minute red card in the last 16.
Van Gaal has awarded Ake a key role in the Netherlands’ defence again after he fell out of favour through 2021. The 29-cap 27-year-old had finally established himself in their squad in 2020 after debuting in 2017. Now, he is a prominent presence again after a strong 2022.
Dumfries announced himself to the world during Euro 2020 after scoring two and assisting one goal in four games. He was Oranje’s most lively threat on the right-hand side and Van Gaal will hope the 37-cap 26-year-old now repeats those performances at the World Cup.
Berghuis held an infrequent role in the Netherlands squad between his debut in 2016 and establishing himself on the wing in 2020. Yet Van Gaal brought the 39-cap 30-year-old into a centralised position in March and has not looked back over their eight matches this year.
A first World Cup awaits De Jong at Qatar 2022 after the 25-year-old made his Netherlands debut in September 2018. The Barcelona midfielder has since gone on to start 43 of his 45 caps from a potential 50 games. He has also laid on five assists and scored one goal so far.
Van Gaal faces a decision over who starts on the left for the Netherlands at the World Cup in Qatar. He gave Malacia his international bow in September 2021. But he has continually rotated the £14.5m Manchester United ace with 94-cap 32-year-old veteran Blind of Ajax.
Van Gaal has announced PSV ace Simons will go to the 2022 World Cup in the Netherlands’ squad. Even though the 19-year-old has never previously made an Oranje squad, let alone make his debut. Yet the wonderkid is ready after tormenting Arsenal in the Europa League.
Depay and Blind are the only surviving members from the last Netherlands squad to go to a World Cup. The pair both made Van Gaal’s 23-man squad for Brazil 2014. But Depay only started one of his four games, despite scoring two and assisting a goal across 327 minutes.
Gakpo is ready to shine on the World Cup stage after proving to be one of Europe’s most prolific creators with PSV. Van Gaal named the nine-cap winger, who has scored three and assisted two goals for the Netherlands, in his squad after 13 goals and 17 assists this term.
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