The Netherlands are rated among the favourites to enjoy a successful Euro 2020 as they prepare to make their first appearance at a major tournament since 2014.
The Dutch failed to qualify for Euro 2016 before also going on to miss out on a spot at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, something that seemed almost unthinkable when assessing their previous appearances at major competitions.
Holland finished third at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, just four years after they had lost in the final in South Africa, but with several big-name players calling time on their international careers they struggled to compete during a transitional period.
Ronald Koeman took the reins in February 2018 and before leaving for Barcelona in August 2020, he worked his magic to steer the nation back in the right direction.
Koeman led Oranje through a successful qualifying campaign, winning six of their eight outings to seal second spot behind Germany.
A 4-2 win in Germany sent out a major statement of intent and should have left several of Europe’s heavyweights quaking in their boots.
However, Koeman has since departed and new head coach Frank de Boer has struggled to maintain those levels ahead of this summer’s event.
De Boer has won just two of his six games at the helm, becoming the first Netherlands manager to win any of his opening four fixtures.
Home Draw Key for the Dutch
With this year’s Championships being hosted across 12 countries, several nations have been handed favourable draws with home fixtures during the group stage.
They kick off their campaign against Ukraine on June 13, before taking on Austria four days later and eventually wrapping up their group commitments on June 21 against North Macedonia.
Despite making a slow start to life under De Boer, the Netherlands have won their last two outings and they are the
10/27 favourites to win Group C.
Austria and Ukraine, who are both priced at
5/1 to finish top of the tree, certainly can’t be overlooked with a wealth of experience at this level, although
22/1 North Macedonia aren’t expected to cause too many problems as they prepare to make their bow at a major competition.
Malen Can Be Leading Man
Donyell Malen was set to miss the Euros last summer after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury and subsequently undergoing knee surgery in December 2019.
The 22-year-old was emerging as one of the brightest talents in Dutch football, scoring 13 goals in 14 Eredivisie appearances for PSV prior to the injury.
He has returned to action this campaign, netting a further 13 times in 16 league starts, and looks to be firmly back on track ahead of this summer’s event.
Malen has started Holland’s last two games and scored his first goal in their 4-2 triumph in Germany during qualifying.
Liverpool midfielder Georgino Wijnaldum was their top scorer in qualifying, notching on eight occasions, while Memphis Depay chipped in with a further six.
Malen’s availability has to be regarded as a big boost to De Boer and he could be key in helping them to enjoy a lengthy stay in the competition.
*All odds correct at time of writing