Netherlands continue their preparations for the Euro 2012 by hosting Slovakia at De Kuyp Stadion in Rotterdam, looking to make amends for the shock defeat to Bulgaria.
Bert van Marwijk’s side largely disappointed their fans in their first warm-up game against Bulgaria as they allowed themselves to be beaten by their less illustrious opponents in front of the packed Amsterdam ArenA.
It was more than evident that key players Huntelaar, Van Persie, Sneijder and Van der Vaart are a bit tired following the long and demanding season, so the main task now will be to help the players recuperate and refresh their energy levels before the European Championship.
The game also saw centre-back Joris Mathijsen pick up a hamstring injury that has put his participation at the final tournament in doubt, but there were some positives as well.
Young Jetro Willems largely impressed in his first ever cap for the national team, whereas Dirk Kuyt and Arjen Robben showed a lot of promise after coming on late into the game.
All three players, as well as few others who are not normally considered first team regulars, should start against Slovakia and they will be eager to win back some of the lost confidence by beating the Eastern European side.
Even though the hosts are expected to produce a much better performance than that shown against Bulgaria, there is just no value in odds of 1.29 (2/7) offered by William Hill.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Stekelenburg – Boulahrouz, Vlaar, Bouma, Willems – Strootman, N. De Jong – Narsingh, Kuyt, Robben – L. De Jong.
Following their somewhat promising showing at the 2010 World Cup, Slovakia experienced major problems in the Euro 2012 qualifiers and ended the campaign in fourth place, behind Russia, Ireland and Armenia.
Michal Hipp’s side have since beaten Turkey away and lost to Poland in two friendly games, and they are now set to test their skills against one of the best sides in Europe.
The talented manager has picked a very strong squad for the games against Poland and Netherlands, with the likes of Hamsik, Kucka, Weiss and Skrtel all in the side.
Former Twente forward Miroslav Stoch has recovered from a knee problem and is set to start at De Kuyp, just like Manchester City winger Vladimir Weiss.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Pernis – Pekarik, Hubocan, Skrtel, Cech – Kucka, Svento – Weiss, Hamsik, Stoch – Holosko.