The Dutch national team starts the European Championship qualifier against Ireland on Saturday with Stefan de Vrij, Daley Blind and Jerdy Schouten. National coach Ronald Koeman once again opts for a 5-3-2 formation in the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
De Vrij and Blind, together with Virgil van Dijk, form the central defense of the Dutch team, which is missing numerous defenders due to injuries. Denzel Dumfries and Quilindschy Hartman occupy the back positions.
Schouten will be given the opportunity in midfield, after he played his first and only international match under Louis van Gaal a year and a half ago. Tijjani Reinders and Xavi Simons complete the middle line.
Cody Gakpo and Wout Weghorst start at the front, who scored the winning goal in the away match against Ireland (1-2) in September.
Blind equals Kuijt
Blind plays his 104th international match against the Irish, equaling the Girona defender Dirk Kuijt. The 33-year-old Blind, who made his debut in the Dutch team in 2013, now only has Giovanni van Bronckhorst (106 international matches), Rafael van der Vaart (109), Frank de Boer (112), Edwin van der Sar (130) and record international Wesley Sneijder (134) still above him.
The Netherlands-Ireland starts on Saturday at 8:45 PM in the Johan Cruijff ArenA and is led by Italian referee Marco Di Bello. The qualifying series ends on Tuesday in Faro, Portugal, with a match against Gibraltar.
The Dutch team must win one more time to secure European Championship qualification. Even if the Netherlands loses to both Ireland and Gibraltar, direct qualification is possible. Greece must then lose to France.