Netherlands vs Czech Republic | Sunday 27th June 2020, 17:00 | ITV
I wasn’t sold on the Netherlands to go deep into this tournament, they had looked like they were doing well under Ronald Koeman, but as soon as he left to take the hot seat at Barcelona and with no one else wanting the job, the only option was to go for Frank De Boer.
As expected, he started poorly with defensive football being the main objective, but pressure mounted, and he soon allowed the team more freedom which now appears to be paying off. Since his slow start the Oranje are now W8-D1-L1 scoring two or more goals in 10 games. I may change my opinion on them.
They have looked good so far despite not facing the toughest of opposition, but I like the look of them so far. Going forward they have created chances with the 2nd highest xG with 8.16, the 3rd most shots and shots on target whilst defensively they have maybe been a little more open than their two clean sheets suggest, conceding only two fewer shots that Scotland but with a xGA of just 1.69.
Yet, over De Boer's 14 games they have only kept clean sheets against Latvia, Gibraltar, Georgia, Bosnia Austria and Macedonia.
The 3-4-1-2 system that they have played for most of this year has formed a settled side with the players understanding their role with Gini Wijnaldum sat just behind the front two excelling as have both wing backs of Owen Wijndal and Denzel Dumfries who have caused issues for the opposition with Dumfries in particular getting forward and scoring twice already.
Despite collecting nine points I think it's worth pointing out that it could be argued that this was one of the easiest groups in the tournament, but you can only beat what is put in front of you.
The Czechs stand in their way of a quarter final showdown with the winners of Wales and Denmark. The Czech have been averaged in my view. Despite registering seven shots on target against the Scots they lost the xG 0.91 vs 2.2 with two excellent goals by leading marksman Patrik Schick, nicked a 1-1 draw with Croatia, with one of the most bizarre penalty decisions of the tournament so far and then didn’t really trouble England in a very low-key match.
Czech Republic have generated just 2.37 non penalty xG so far, with the 5th fewest shots (only England have had fewer by teams left in the tournament) and at the other end its xGA 3.89.
The Czechs are well-organised and solid, no side left in the competition has made more interceptions and tackles and across the 24 teams at the Euros only five teams have attempted fewer passes. I think it's clear what type of game the Czechs will bring on Sunday.
This could be attack and against defence. The Czech will look to sit deep, allow the Dutch to have to ball and when they do attack, they will try to get the ball in the box early. Only four sides have had more crosses than them so far at Euro 2021.
Despite this being a clash of styles, I think this will be an interesting game.
Denzel Dumfries has been excellent so far with six shots and four shots on target. Over his last seven games for his country, he has managed at least one shot per game with 12 in total averaging 1.71 shots per game. I see no reason why he shouldn’t continue to get forward against the Czechs.
Poker Stars have priced him up at 29/20 to have two or more shots whereas Skybet have him at 10/11. I like this angle. I don’t think the Czechs will make it easy for the Dutch and there will be every need for Dumfries to push forward looking for goals. The Dutch set up which allows him to play almost as a winger and he has real pace and attacks the ball well in the air, so
The Dutch will score in my view and as soon as that happens the Czechs will need to come out and look to be more expansive looking for an equaliser and that could play into the hands of the Dutch who have plenty of pace in attacking areas. Only four sides have had fewer shots in the box than the Dutch, whilst only four sides have conceded more shots in the box than the Czechs.
As I have mentioned the Dutch have scored 1.5+ goals in each of their last 10 matches and I am happy to back that landing again at odds of 4/5 with SpreadEx. Again, this is as low as 13/19 elsewhere so there appear to be a little bit of value here. The Dutch have the 2nd highest xG in the tournament after three games scoring eight goals.
Only Wales and Scotland have seen their opponent caught offside more than the Czechs with seven across the three games. Whilst the majority of these were against England, it shows the tight line that the Czech will play as they caught Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane offside twice each. I think Memphis Depay will look to play on the shoulder and could fall into that trap.
Depay, when playing for his country over the last 12 months has been caught offside an average of 0.84 times per game, with him falling foul of the assistant referee’s flag in five of his last eight games for the Dutch. His has already been caught offside in the Ukraine and Austrian games. I think there is a very good chance that we will see him caught offside here. One or more offsides is only 4/6 but we can back two or more offsides by Depay at 11/4 with Skybet and that looks a good angle to me.
The last bet I want to put forward is Both Teams To Score. As I have mentioned earlier the Dutch don’t have a great record of keeping clean sheets with just six from 14 games under De Boer. Over the last 12 months they have conceded an average of 0.88 goals per game with a xGA of 0.81 and this includes playing Gibraltar, Georgia, Latvia and Bosnia, even Scotland recently scored twice past them.
Macedonia were a little unlucky not to score with Alex Trajkovski rattling the post and Visar Musliu missing a really good chance with a free header from seven yards from goals. Macedonia caused the Dutch some issues from corners, and I can see the Czechs doing something similar.
Ukraine scored twice and I thought they were a little unlucky not to score in the opening 45 minutes, but they often took the wrong option, made bad decisions with the ball or failed to get their shots off.
The Czechs have a striker in form in Schick and the Dutch without Virgil Van Dijk and with the likely back three of Stefan de Vrij, Daley Blind and Matthijs de Ligt, the Czechs will fancy their chances to put pressure on those three and cause issues for them, especially from crosses and set pieces.
Netherlands vs Czech Republic – Denzel Dumfries 2+ shots (29/20 Pokerstars)
Netherlands vs Czech Republic – Netherlands to score Over 1.5 Goals (4/5 Spread Ex)
Netherlands vs Czech Republic – Memphis Depay 2+ offsides (11/4 Skybet)
Netherlands vs Czech Republic – Both Teams To Score (10/11)