After six years in the doldrums, the Netherlands will finally return to major football when they take up their place in Group C of Euro 2020. Their first opponents will be the Ukraine, who they tackle in Amsterdam on June 14.
The Ukrainians will be looking to make up for lost time following their efforts at Euro 2016, where they lost all three of their games without scoring a single goal.
But all eyes will be on the Dutch, who qualified in decent fashion behind Germany and who will be desperate to make a big impression on the major stage. With the legendary Ronald Koeman in charge, the Oranje are back as a real force on the European stage.
So can they get their Euro 2020 campaign off to the best possible start? Let’s take a look in our Netherlands vs Ukraine preview.
The Netherlands actually feature as one of the favourites to lift the European Championship trophy, so it’s no big surprise to find them such a warm favourite to triumph in this opening game.
The bookmakers have the Dutch down as a 1.65 favourite in their Netherlands vs Ukraine betting odds, with the Ukrainians as long as 5.80. The draw can be backed at 4.10.
2. Netherlands vs Ukraine Predictions
Fans of continental football will be the salivating at the prospect of seeing this Dutch side in action on the big stage.
This is an amazing side, who at full strength will be a handful for anyone. In defence, Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt form a rock-steady central defensive partnership, while in front of them Frenkie de Jong will be expected to show why he is so highly rated at Barcelona.
They possess some electric attacking talents, and the only concern is for Memphis Depay, whose knee ligament injury may mean he isn’t at full speed by the time the tournament comes around.
As for the Ukraine, we don’t really know what to expect. They topped their qualification group ahead of Portugal and Serbia, without losing a game no less, and that is pedigree enough.
Maybe the appointment of Andriy Shevchenko, the legendary striker, as head coach has inspired these players to new heights, because victories over the Portuguese (2-1) and the Serbians (5-0) were wholly unexpected.
The likes of Yevhen Konoplyanka and Andriy Yarmolenko will be familiar to some continental football fans, while Oleksandr Zinchenko has just started to break through at Manchester City.
But the stars of their qualification campaign were two lesser known names. Roman Yaremchuk, the Gent frontman, top scored with four goals, while Dynamo Kiev’s Viktor Tsygankov really caught the eye with his enterprising attacking displays.
Perhaps the problem for the Eastern Europeans is that they didn’t look to be all that comfortable when playing away from home, and here they will be stepping into the legendary Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam. They will be greeted with a rather loud reception by a home crowd starved of major football in recent times.
For that reason, we are siding with the hosts in our Netherlands vs Ukraine predictions.
3. Netherlands vs Ukraine Betting Tips
This Netherlands side looks absolutely fantastic on paper, with one notable exception: they don’t have a proven goalscorer.
In fact, so shy are they of a recognised striker that Gini Wijnaldum, the Liverpool midfielder, had to fill in as a sort of false nine forward. It worked – he scored eight goals – but you wonder how sustainable that strategy really is.
So yes, we expect Holland to win this game, but our Netherlands vs Ukraine betting tips train their crosshairs elsewhere.
Ukraine drew 0-0 with Portugal in a key qualification game, setting their stall out to earn a point. They might do likewise here.