Disgruntled Dutch are perfect practice for Wales without Bale

Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | November 12, 2015

Wales v Netherlands

  • International friendly
  • Friday, November 13th
  • Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
  • Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff
  • Live on BBC2 Wales

Welsh chance to prove they are not one-Dragon team

Soccer - UEFA Euro 2016 - Qualifying - Group B - Wales v Andorra - Cardiff City Stadium

Wales were one of the stories of the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, as they made it to their first major tournament finals since way back in 1958, after finishing just behind FIFA-ranked world number one Belgium in Group B.

However, many suggested that they were almost a one-man team, as Real Madrid star attacker Gareth Bale scored seven of his side’s 11 goals.

Now the Dragons (14/5 with Coral for victory) have a chance to prove doubters wrong and show that they are perfectly capable of holding their own if, heaven forbid, they are without their key player for the France finals next summer.

And who better to show what you’re made of against then supposed European giants the Netherlands, who will be gutted to miss out on the tournament?

Dutch away favourites despite qualifying failure

Netherlands Latvia Soccer Euro 2016

The Dutch, despite being on a terrible run and one place behind Wales in the rankings in 16th, are the even-money favourites still, and that may be due to their squad talent and the fact they’ve remarkably won all seven of their meetings.

On top of that and the absence of Bale, who is being rested, other Dragons attackers missing due to fitness issues are Hal Robson-Kanu, Sam Vokes and David Cotterill, and even Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey.

That means that rather than Clockwork Orange having to face the most expensive player in the world, uncapped Tom Bradshaw of League One outfit Walsall could get the nod up front, from the start or off the bench.

The English-born 23-year-old jointly tops Wales’ anytime scoring market at 7/4, along with MK Dons’ Simon Church.

Others to look out for in the hosts’ squad include former Manchester United academy player Tom Lawrence (2/1), now on loan at Blackburn Rovers from Leicester City, and Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen (8/1).

Premier League players aplenty in Netherlands squad

Soccer - UEFA European Championship Qualifying - Group A - Netherlands v Czech Republic - Amsterdam Arena

For the Dutch, meanwhile, they have been boosted by the return of superstar winger Arjen Robben, who recently scored against Arsenal for Bayern Munich in the Champions League. He is 5/4 in the anytime market, while striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (5/4) and Bas Dost (7/4) are tempting shouts too.

In terms of Premier League interest, Man Utd’s Memphis Depay (15/8) will be looking to start, despite originally being left out of the squad, along with his former PSV teammate Georginio Wijnaldum (10/3) of Newcastle United.

Maarten Stekelenburg (Southampton, on loan from Fulham), Daley Blind (Man Utd), Daryl Janmaat (Newcastle), Erik Pieters (Stoke City), Virgil van Dijk and Jordy Clasie (both Southampton) could also all feature.

Despite Wales’ toothless attack, given their recent high and the Netherlands’ all-time low, a draw may be a great shout at 23/10.

Although, the last two fixtures resulted in Clockwork Orange winning 2-0, which Robben netting on both occasions, and if you fancy that scoreline in their favour again then take tasty odds of 7/1.


Check out our Euro 2016 content, as well as our Wales and Netherlands archives

Coral’s top tip: With both teams in differing form as well as ability, a draw could be the best option to back at 23/10