Netherlands will be looking to move one step closer to booking their place in the UEFA Nations League semi-finals when they travel to Warsaw to face Poland in their penultimate League A Group 4 fixture on Thursday.
While the hosts have won only four of their last 10 international home matches, the Oranje are unbeaten in each of their last seven on the road in all competitions.
After kicking off their Nations League campaign with a 2-1 home victory against Wales in June, Poland have since accumulated only one point from a possible nine available.
A 2-2 draw away against the Netherlands was sandwiched between two defeats against Belgium, including a heavy 6-1 thrashing in Brussels.
Czeslaw Michniewicz, who has been in charge of the national team since January, sees his side sitting third in the group with four points from as many matches, but with Belgium and the Netherlands three and six points ahead of them respectively, their chances of finishing at the summit are extremely slim.
As one of 13 European nations heading to Qatar later this year for the World Cup, Poland will use their final two Nations League fixtures as preparation for their second successive appearance on the biggest footballing stage.
Michniewicz’s men led by two goals in the aforementioned score draw against the Netherlands three months ago, courtesy of strikes from Aston Villa’s Matty Cash and Napoli’s Piotr Zielinski, but the Oranje quickly responded to restore parity through Davy Klaassen and Denzel Dumfries before Memphis Depay missed a 91st-minute penalty.
A victory for Poland on Thursday would secure their survival in League A and would see them match their points tally from the last Nations League campaign with a game to spare.
An impressive 4-1 win away against former world number ones Belgium kicked off their campaign in style, but they have since been made to work for the other seven points accumulated.
Either side of their 2-2 draw with Poland, Louis van Gaal’s side remarkably snatched all three points in the dying embers of home and away fixtures against Wales.
A 94th-minute winner from Wout Weghorst secured a 2-1 away win in Cardiff, just two minutes after Rhys Norrington-Davies thought he had snatched a point for Wales with an equaliser, before a Memphis Depay winner in the 93rd minute helped the Oranje claim a dramatic 3-2 victory on home soil, only a minute after Gareth Bale had equalised for Wales from the penalty spot.
Netherlands are currently enjoying a 13-game unbeaten run, dating back to June last year when they lost 2-0 to Czech Republic in the knockout rounds of Euro 2020.
Van Gaal and co will be confident of extending this run and booking their place in the last four of the Nations League, as they are also unbeaten in their last 10 encounters against Poland, including six victories and four draws. Their last defeat against Poland was back in May 1979 when they lost 2-0 away from home in a European Championship qualifier.
Poland Nations League form:
Poland form (all competitions):
Netherlands Nations League form:
Netherlands form (all competitions):
We say: Poland 1-2 Netherlands
Both sides caused problems for one another the last time that they locked horns three months ago, and another closely-fought contest is to be expected on Thursday.
Poland will fancy their chances with Lewandowski leading the line, but we can see Netherlands securing a slender victory, which could be enough to seal their place in the Nations League semi-finals if Belgium fail to beat Wales.
Netherlands are in a strong position to secure top spot in League A Group 4 and progress to the semi-finals of the Nations League, after winning three and drawing one of their first four matches.