FIFA World Cup 2022: Decoding the squad of Netherlands
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal named his 26-man squad that will feature in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Barcelona forward Memphis Depay has made the cut despite nursing an injury sustained in September. Netherlands, who missed the 2018 edition of the tournament, share Group A with Senegal, Qatar, and Ecuador. They will begin their campaign against Senegal on November 21. We decode their squad.
Netherlands squad: GKs and defenders
Goalkeepers: Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord), Andries Noppert (Heerenveen), Remko Pasveer (Ajax Amsterdam). Defenders: Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Daley Blind (Ajax), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (Inter), Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen), Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich), Tyrell Malacia (Manchester United), Jurrien Timber (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Inter).
Netherlands squad: Midfielders and forwards
Midfielders: Steven Berghuis (Ajax), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Xavi Simons (PSV Eindhoven), Kenneth Taylor (Ajax). Forwards: Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), Memphis Depay (Barcelona), Cody Gakpo (PSV), Vincent Janssen (Antwerp), Luuk de Jong (PSV), Noah Lang (Club Brugge), Wout Weghorst (Besiktas).
Notable absentees from Netherlands' squad
Roma midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum fractured his leg in training to subsequently be ruled out of the tournament. Manchester United's Donny van de Beek's lack of playing time proved fatal for his WC dream. Bayern midfielder Ryan Gravenberch couldn't make the cut alongside goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen and defender Sven Botman.
Netherlands lack a solid goalkeeper
Justin Bijlow's injury concerns at the start of the season might have dented his chances to some extent but he has emerged as the frontrunner for the position. The Feyenoord goalkeeper has kept nine clean sheets in the season underway. Besides, Remko Pasveer and Andries Noppert have been sneaked in for the role.
Netherlands have a star studded backline
Liverpool ace Virgil van Dijk will likely form a three-man central defense alongside Man City's Nathan Ake and Ajax's Jurrien Timber. Bayern's Matthijs de Ligt and Inter's de Vrij add solid depth. The trio will be flanked by Denzel Dumfries (Inter Milan) and Daley Blind (Ajax) on either end. Man United's Tyrell Malacia and Jeremie Frimpong (Leverkusen) are valuable back-ups on the flanks.
Netherlands have a promising set of midfielders
Netherlands will rely on a quality set of midfielders to find those right spaces and passes. Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong will play as a deep-lying pivot but his distribution forward is clinical. Martin De Roon will be the back-up defensive midfielder. Davy Klaasen and Teun Koopmeiners in their box-to-box roles will be vital. Steven Berghuis brings a creative outlook with Xavi Simons present too.
What about Netherlands' attack?
Memphis will be a go to man in attack given his attribute of drawing defenders and creating spaces. Ajax's Steven Bergwijn has seven goals and three assists in the Eredivisie. His pace and ability to drift outside will help Netherlands. Luuk De Jong and Wout Weghorst are more suited to a direct style and could suit in the target-man role. Vincent Janssen adds cover.
Louis van Gaal's update on Memphis
Memphis hasn't featured for Barcelona since limping off during the Nations League match against Poland in September. "He is fit to play from a medical perspective, but we will have to build Depay up," Van Gaal said. "He won't be able to start in our first match against Senegal (on Nov. 21), but he might come on as a substitute," he added.
Netherlands' Probable XI versus Senegal
Netherlands have made it to the finals on three occasions in the past (1974, 1978, and 2010). They will be hoping to break the shackles this time around. Netherlands' Probable XI against Senegal (3-5-2): Justin Bijlow; Jurrien Timber, Virgil Van Dijk, Nathan Ake; Denzel Dumfries, Davy Klaassen, Frenkie de Jong, Steven Berghuis; Daley Blind; Vincent Janssen, Steven Bergwijn.