The Netherlands World Cup 2022 squad has been announced by manager Louis van Gaal, whittling down his 39-man provisional list to just 26 players.
The Netherlands head to the Qatar World Cup 2022 having been drawn in Group A, alongside hosts Qatar, Senegal and Ecuador, and will certainly fancy their chances of progressing to the knockout rounds.
For a footballing powerhouse such as the Netherlands, the eight years since 2014 have felt like an eternity.
When Robin van Persie, Daley Blind and Gini Wijnaldum struck to beat hosts Brazil 3-0 in the 2014 World Cup third-place play-off, you'd have got a good price on the Dutch having to wait until 2021 for the their next major tournament. Failing to qualify for either Euro 2016 or Russia 2018 reflected a deep Dutch footballing malaise.
Qualification for Qatar 2022 wasn't plain sailing, either. It began with a 4-2 defeat in Turkey in March 2021 and, after victories against minnows Latvia and Gibraltar, a frustrating Euro 2020 - totally outplayed by the Cezchs in the last-16 - gave the Orangie an uphill task to avoid further calamity.
Frank de Boer was quickly dismissed and replaced by Louis van Gaal, who came out of retirement to answer his country's desperate call for a third time, meaning the national team's 14 appointments in the last 30 years have been shared by the same nine coaches.
Convincing home wins followed against Montenegro (4-0) and Turkey (6-1), but it all got a bit nervy with an unexpected surrendering of a 2-0 lead to draw the penultimate game in Montenegro, meaning the Dutch had to avoid losing to Norway. Late Steven Bergwijn and Memphis Depay goals ended the wait.
Since then, talent has blossomed in new Manchester United full-back Tyrell Malacia and Cody Gakpo of PSV, while midfielders Teun Koopmeiners and Steven Berghuis have also progressed. With big names playing for big clubs - Mathijs de Ligt now at Bayern Munich, Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool, and Frenkie de Jong and Memphis still at Barcelona - a sense of optimism has returned.
They'll need to learn not to panic, though. Losing to Turkey bought back memories of a 3-0 defeat to the same team in 2015, which was crucial in Holland missing Euro 2016 and the starting pistol to years of turmoil. This time, with Van Gaal's steadying hand, it turned out fine.
There's a very good mix of experience and exciting talent in this balanced side, whose elite coach has untied an historically challenged dressing room. Generations come and go, and there an be difficult interludes: after 2014, it took a long time for the Netherlands to recover from the retirements of Van Persie, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben. That level of star talent may not be there, but strength in depth throughout the squad undoubtedly is.
However, unlike France, say, they lack genuine, consistent match-winners. Take out De Jong and Memphis and it's a very different team. More worryingly, that pair's fractious summer, in which Barcelona tried and failed to sell them, could mean they go into the World Cup severely undercooked, with their Camp Nou playing time limited.
That's far from ideal for this Dutch side's two most creative players, and - whisper it - Van Dijk is starting to show a few signs of wear and tear.
Netherland World Cup 2022 squad
Netherlands World Cup 2022 squad: The final 26-man team
- GK: Andries Noppert, Heerenveen
- GK: Remko Pasveer, Ajax
- GK: Justin Bijlow, Feyenoord
- DF: Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool
- DF: Nathan Ake, Manchester City
- DF: Daley Blind, Ajax
- DF: Stefan de Vrij, Inter
- DF: Denzel Dumfries, Inter
- DF: Tyrell Malacia, Manchester United
- DF: Jurrien Timber, Ajax
- DF: Jeremie Frimpong, Bayer Leverkusen
- DF: Matthijs de Ligt, Bayern Munich
- MF: Steven Berghuis, Ajax
- MF: Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona
- MF: Davy Klaassen, Ajax
- MF: Marten de Roon, Atalanta
- MF: Teun Koopmeiners, Atalanta
- MF: Kenneth Taylor, Ajax
- MF: Xavi Simons, PSV
- FW: Luuk de Jong, PSV
- FW: Noa Lang, Club Brugge
- FW: Steven Bergwijn, Tottenham
- FW: Memphis Depay, Barcelona
- FW: Wout Weghorst, Besiktas
- FW: Cody Gakpo, PSV
- FW: Vincent Janssen, Royal Antwerp
Netherlands top scorers
3 goals: Cody Gakpo, 1 goal: Davy Klaassen, Frenkie de Jong
Netherlands yellow cards
1 yellow: Matthijs de Ligt, Nathan Ake
Who is the Netherlands' manager for the 2022 World Cup?
Having taken charge of his country twice before, Louis van Gaal will do everything he can to make it third time lucky in what is likely to be his final job in football. He'll try to recreate the momentum his team gained in 2014,mwhere the Dutch surprised everyone to finish third. They are still yet to win the World Cup. He couldn't... could he?
Netherlands star player
Who is the Netherlands' best player?
he has won every big trophy there is at club level, but Virgil van Dijk has never played for his country at a major tournament after missing last summer's delayed European Championship due to knee surgery. After a slow start to the season with Liverpool, the 31-year-old will be determined to show he is still one of the world's best defenders.
How many players are the Netherlands allowed to take to the 2022 World Cup?
National managers were allowed to bring 26 players to last summer’s European Championship for the first time at a major tournament, as a special measure brought in due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now 26-player squads will return for the Qatar World Cup, an expansion from the usual 23-man teams.
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