Preview: Netherlands vs. Greece

Preview: Netherlands vs. Greece

Seeking to quickly brush aside their disappointment from the UEFA Nations League, Netherlands play host to Greece at the Philips Stadion in Eindhoven in a Euro 2024 qualifier on Thursday evening.

While the Oranje have picked up three points from their opening two fixtures in Group B, Piratiko have accumulated six points from their first three matches.

Ronald Koeman will have been aware of the challenging fixture schedule that his Netherlands side were presented with in the first half of 2023, but it is fair to say that the 60-year-old manager has been left disappointed with his return to the Oranje hotseat.

Since replacing Louis van Gaal in January, Koeman has suffered three defeats in his opening four games of his second spell in charge of the Netherlands, including a 4-0 drubbing against Group B leaders France in their first Euro 2024 qualifier in March.

The Oranje then, as expected, secured a comfortable win over Gibraltar in their second qualifier, beating the European minnows 3-0 on home soil, but that was followed by back-to-back defeats in the UEFA Nations League to Croatia and Italy in June.

Koeman’s side missed out on progression to the final on Dutch soil after losing 4-2 against Croatia, before suffering a 3-2 defeat against Italy in the third-place playoff, setbacks that highlighted frailties in the Oranje backline.

Netherlands can ill-afford to show signs of weakness in their upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Greece and Republic of Ireland – two matches that they will be expected to win – but returning to winning ways against the former on Thursday is not a given, as they have lost their last two meetings with Piratiko by an aggregate score of 5-2.

Gus Poyet has made a notable impression as Greece manager since taking the reins in February last year, leading his side to eight wins, two draws and just four defeats in 14 matches across all competitions, nine of which were competitive fixtures.

Greece made a bright start to Euro 2024 qualifying with successive wins over Gibraltar and Republic of Ireland, beating the former 3-0 on the road before securing a 2-1 home victory against the latter courtesy of goals from Anastasios Bakasetas and Georgios Masouras.

However, Piratiko were unable to make it three wins from three after they suffered a slender 1-0 away defeat to France in June, with Kylian Mbappe settling the contest with a second-half penalty shortly before Konstantinos Mavropanos was sent off.

Greece are seeking to end a 12-year wait to qualify for the European Championships that they won for the first and only time to date back in 2004, and victories over the Netherlands on Thursday and Gibraltar on Sunday would put them in the driving seat to secure a top-two finish in Group B along with France.

Poyet will be keen to see his side make improvements on the road, though, as they have only won one of their last five away matches, while Piratiko have not beaten a nation away from home in Euro qualifying that are currently placed inside the top 90 of the FIFA World Rankings since 2014.

Netherlands Euro Champ Qualifying form:

Netherlands form (all competitions):

Greece Euro Champ Qualifying form:

Greece form (all competitions):

We say: Netherlands 2-2 Greece
Following an underwhelming start to 2023, the pressure is on the Netherlands to find their form and come out on top in what, on paper, is considered a favourable-looking fixture at home against Greece.

However, considering that the Oranje are missing a few key players and have shown signs of defensive frailties under Koeman, Greece could spring a surprise and claim a hard-fought point in an entertaining contest in Eindhoven to shake up Group B.

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