Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Scotland-Netherlands preview

Alright readers, just a quick preview of the big game tomorrow night, seeing as I will be at work during it (by the way I would appreciate text updates if anyone could help me there?). If you havent guessed already the game in question is the one in the south side of Glasgow, Scotland-Netherlands.

As we know, Netherlands are already assured qualification for the 2010 World Cup with a 100% qualifying record so far. And it looks like Scotland will need to get 3 points (at very least 1 point) to have any chance of making the play-offs.

Apparently (according to the BBC), if we manage to win the game tomorrow evening, and in Group 3, Slovakia beat Northern Ireland and Slovenia-Poland finishes at a draw, we will secure a play-off spot without an agonising wait until October for every other group to finish. This would obviously be lovely and not too improbable, but the main ask is the result against Holland.

As far as our team goes, we all know we are without James McFadden thanks to
that yellow card, also Calum Davidson is injured, and Craig Gordon, Scott Brown and Steven Fletcher have various injuries or problems but are expected to be involved. I've got to expect a 4-5-1 tomorrow night from us, with Miller playing solo up front, Steven Fletcher and Shaun Maloney playing as wingers/midfielders. Whittaker should replace Davidson, and as long as Brown plays, the rest of the midfield should be Brown, Fletcher and Alexander. Gary Caldwell is now also available after suspension, and I couldnt say whether he will start ahead of either McManus or David Weir.

For the Oranje, star midfielder Wesley Sneijder is fit, despite what we heard after their friendly against Japan, though Afellay and keeper Maarten Stekelenburg are out with injury. I don't expect Holland to rest many (if any at all) of their big stars, as they are only one win away from a completely 100% qualifying campaign, but their only "weakness" comes in the form of the goalkeeper position. As mentioned, Stekelenburg is injured, that means they will have to go with either Michael Vorm of Utrecht, or Piet Velthuizen of Vitesse Arnhem, neither of which have yet to record any competitive caps for the national team as of yet. That could be a slight cause for hope, but honestly I'm not expecting much from it.

It should be an interesting game, I really can't say what I think the score will be, as I don't really know, and I dont want to jinx anything. But what I will say is that it is absolutely imperative that we score first. If it ends 0-0, I'd take that, but if there is any goals, we have to get the first one. Holland will probably play a 4-3-3 (I'd imagine) so whenever they are in possession, we have to stick to a rigid 4-5-1 formation, to try to outnumber them in the middle and stifle creative players like Sneijder. All of our chances will have to be taken, if we get anything in front of goal it HAS to end up in the back of the net.

Anyway I think that's all I wanted to say, so I'll see you after the game. MON!


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