How they qualified
The Dutch topped Group 4 in the A-League with sixteen points, outplaying neighbours Belgium as well as World Cup finalists Wales and Poland. Oranje showcased their dominance with a commanding 4-1 victory over Belgium, revealing the vulnerabilities of the Red Devils, who subsequently struggled in the World Cup. However, they laboured to a 1-1 draw against Poland, but, ultimately, the Dutch secured their place in the Final Four with a 1-0 triumph over Belgium in Amsterdam.
The Dutch have a strong track record in the competition, having reached the final four in 2019. However, the maiden crown went to hosts Portugal, who prevailed 1-0 in the final. In the second edition, they finished runners-up in their A-League group behind Italy. As hosts, with a new coach, they should be in a good position to win their first Nations League crown.
Star player (s)
Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and FC Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong remain Oranje’s marquee players. At 31 and with more than 50 caps, Van Dijk first featured at a major final at the 2022 World Cup, anchoring the three-man defense. With his vision and gossamer touch, De Jong remains essential to make the Dutch tick. PSV’s Xavi Simmons is a player to watch for the future.
Unbeaten in the current Nations League edition, the Dutch have a new coach in Ronald Koeman after Louis van Gaal enjoyed his swan song in Qatar, taking eventual winners Argentina to penalties in the last eight. In his second spell, Koeman has a different style from his predecessor and will seek to build a competitive team for Euro 2024.
What to expect
The Netherlands will be keen to win a first senior title since Euro 88 on home soil and entertain World Cup bronze medallists Croatia in the first semi-final. They will have to contend with the withdrawal of the talismanic Memphis Depay, but Cody Gakpo and Donyell Malen should provide plenty of firepower up front. At the back, the Dutch are solid. Croatia will provide stern opposition, but backed by a full De Kuip Stadium the hosts should do well.
Goalkeepers: Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord), Mark Flekken (SC Freiburg), Andries Noppert (SC Heerenveen)
Defenders: Nathan Aké (Manchester City), Daley Blind (Bayern München), Sven Botman (Newcastle United), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (Internazionale), Lutsharel Geertruida (Feyenoord), Tyrell Malacia (Manchester United), Jurriën Timber (Ajax)
Midfielders: Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta), Tijjani Reijnders (AZ), Marten de Roon (Atalanta Bergamo), Joey Veerman (PSV), Mats Wieffer (Feyenoord), Georginio Wijnaldum (AS Roma)
Attackers: Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), Memphis Depay (Atlético Madrid), Cody Gakpo (Liverpool), Noa Lang (Club Brugge), Donyell Malen (Borussia Dortmund), Xavi Simons (PSV), Wout Weghorst (Manchester United)