Morocco national team will play host to the Netherlands side on Wednesday evening in a friendly match at Stade Adrar with both sides looking to gain footing ahead of crucial stages of World Cup 2018 qualifying.
Third in a row?
The likes of Burkina Faso and Tunisia are not exactly as illustrious opponents as the Netherlands, but Moroccan national team will nevertheless look to grab the third win on the trot after the frustrating Africa Cup of Nations campaign. Having been eliminated in the quarterfinals of the coveted continental competition at the hands of the most successful team in the history of CAN, Egypt. The forthcoming game against the Netherlands will therefore be a great chance to measure up against another respectable rival before Herve Renard’s men restart their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign. Slotted in Group C against Ivory Coast, Gabon and Mali, Morocco face a stern test in booking their ticket to Russia. After two games in the qualifiers, Renard’s men have failed to score a single goal, but have also managed to keep two clean sheets. Back-to-back goalless draws are not the best way to start the road to Russia, but any positive result against the Netherlands can be a vital morale boost for the Moroccans.
Herve Renard is expected to go for his strongest selection, although Mimoun Mahi could end up being a surprising inclusion in the squad. The Moroccan-Dutch 23-year-old FC Groningen winger is expected to be given his senior debut against the country he represented at youth level.
Advocaat to the rescue
Dick Advocaat’s third spell in charge of the Netherlands national team officially started earlier in May, and the experience tactician’s first game in charge will exactly be the one against Morocco. Having sacked Danny Blind after a frustrating World Cup qualifying defeat against Bulgaria, the Dutch Football Association turned over to the man who led Oranje to the 1994 World Cup quarterfinals in the United States and to the semi-finals at Euro 2004. Advocaat is faced with a proper challenge in his third spell as the Netherlands national team is going through a rough period. The Dutch missed out on the Euro 2016 and judging by the looks of it, their Russian visa will be hard to achieve. Two wins, a draw and two defeats currently keep the Netherlands at fourth spot in Group A, where they will have to overcome the likes of France and Sweden to one of two top places that will determine who goes to Russia next year. Once a lethal and highly attractive side, the Netherlands are lacking passion, unity and focus, and restoring the national team spirit might be Advocaat’s biggest challenge.
Nathan Ake and Sergio Pardt are in line for their senior debuts, whereas Daryl Janmaat, Marco van Ginkel and Jurgen Locada are missing out through injury. Ajax captain Davy Klaassen is suffering from a knee issue and will not be part of the squad for the Morocco match.
Dick Advocaat will be looking to make an early impression at the helm and we should expect to see the shock treatment therapy yield result. Danny Blind ill-fated spell is over and the players themselves are keen to kick it off on a high note.
Top pick: Netherlands 2.40 (7/5) @SkyBet
Alternative pick 1: Netherlands to win to Nil 4.20 (16/5) @PaddyPower
Alternative pick 2: Both teams to score – no 2.10 (11/10) @BetVictor