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2022 World Cup: Country profile – Netherlands

Factfile on the Netherlands, who are in World Cup Group A:

Best World Cup performance: Runners-up in 1974, 1978, 2010.

Other honours: European champions in 1988.

FIFA ranking: 8.

Main clubs: Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, Feyenoord.

How they qualified: Netherlands finished first in European qualifying Group G.

Coach: Louis van Gaal, 71, was appointed in August 2021 after coming out of retirement to take the national team reins for the third time. Made his name as coach of a brilliant young Ajax side in the 1990s before moving on to Barcelona, winning back-to-back La Liga titles. Van Gaal failed to qualify the Dutch for the 2002 World Cup but took them to the semi-finals in 2014 in his second stint, losing on penalties to Argentina. Also coached Bayern Munich, Manchester United and AZ Alkmaar. Revealed in April he had undergone successful treatment for an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

Key player: Frenkie de Jong burst onto the scene in the 2018-19 season as part of another talented young Ajax team that was seconds from reaching that year’s Champions League final. His eye-catching performances earned him a move to Barcelona as the Spanish giants fought off a host of Europe’s top clubs for his signature. De Jong’s creativity and versatility have turned him into an indispensable part of a resurgent Dutch side, where his presence in Qatar will be all the more important following an injury to midfield partner Georginio Wijnaldum.

Group fixtures

November 21: Senegal v Netherlands 

November 25: Netherlands v Ecuador 

November 29: Netherlands v Qatar 

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord), Remko Pasveer (Ajax), Andries Noppert (Heerenveen).

Defenders: Nathan Ake (Manchester City/ENG), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool/ENG), Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich/GER), Jurrien Timber (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Inter Milan/ITA), Daley Blind (Ajax), Denzel Dumfries (Inter Milan/ITA), Tyrell Malacia (Manchester United/ENG), Jeremie Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen/GER).

Midfielders: Steven Berghuis (Ajax), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona/ESP), Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta/ITA), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Marten de Roon (Atalanta/ITA), Xavi Simons (PSV Eindhoven), Kenneth Taylor (Ajax).

Forwards: Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), Memphis Depay (Barcelona/ESP), Cody Gakpo (PSV Eindhoven), Vincent Janssen (Royal Antwerp/BEL), Luuk de Jong (PSV Eindhoven), Wout Weghorst (Besiktas/TUR), Noa Lang (Club Brugge/BEL).

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