The Netherlands were a team on the up under Ronald Koeman, but they need to get back on track following some disappointing results since he took the Barcelona job.
Caretaker Dwight Lodeweges led them to victory over Poland before going down to Italy, but since then they’ve lost out to Mexico and drawn with both Bosnia and Italy under Frank de Boer.
That leaves the Oranje without a win in four, though none of their five games since Koeman departed have been settled one way or the other by more than a single goal.
These five games saw a miserly combined output of just five strikes, whereas their previous six games saw a minimum of three goals on five occasions, so there appears to be a shift in emphasis.
With that in mind, we wouldn’t expect either side to go hell for leather with a punishing club schedule this season and more important Nations League matches coming up.
Spain suffered their first defeat in nearly two years when visiting the Ukraine last time out and they’ve now scored more than once in just one of their past five fixtures. Six of their last nine outings have featured fewer than three goals, as the exceptions came in comfortable home wins over Malta, Romania and the Ukraine. That includes each of their past five on the road, as four of these ended in stalemates against Norway, Sweden, Germany and Portugal.
Netherlands And Spain To Draw 1-1
A low-key draw may well be the way to go here. In fact, away to top sides Belgium, England, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands themselves, Spain are W4-D6-L1 since September 2014, as all but two of these games saw fewer than three goals.
1-1 was the most common scoreline, occurring four times, and with that landing in three of Spain’s last five fixtures now, we wouldn’t be surprised at all to see it come in again.
Indeed, the Netherlands have typically experienced tight encounters with the top sides in recent times as well. Up against Belgium, England, France, Italy, Germany or Portugal, they’ve gone W3-D5-L4 over 90 minutes since June 2018, with four of those stalemates ending 1-1.
Under 2.5 Goals
Four of the last five of these matches saw fewer than three goals, and given the Netherlands have scored just twice in five matches since Koeman departed, while Spain have scored just once in their past three road trips, this may not be a clash to excite the neutral despite the big names.
Both sides have their injury concerns, but key players would likely have been rested here in any case. Virgil van Dijk clearly tops the list, though it’s worth noting that the Netherlands are quite strong at centre-back where they can call upon Stefan De Vrij and Nathan Ake. Meanwhile, the news that Ansu Fati will mis four months following a knee operation will be a big blow for Barcelona and Spain, but it’s not as though La Roja lack other attacking outlets.