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Big Match Breakdown: Netherlands v England

Three Lions’ begin their World Cup prep

England start their 2018 campaign and the road to Russia by facing the Netherlands in Amsterdam.

The Three Lions are unbeaten in six games since a 3-2 friendly loss to France last June, but are without star striker Harry Kane.

But that could give boss Gareth Southgate the chance to try new players and new tactics against a Dutch side who will not be going to the World Cup.

The Dutch are seeking a new direction under Ronald Koeman, having also failed to reach the 2016 Euros.

Here’s all the key info for tonight’s game…

Head to Head

England have faced the Netherlands regularly over the years, although rarely in a finals.

The head-to-head scoreline reads 6-5 to the Dutch, with nine draws.

Former Tottenham Hotspur striker Vincent Janssen scored when the sides last met, with the Netherlands winning 2-1 at Wembley in March 2016.

England haven’t beaten Oranje since that famous win at Euro ’96, failing to win the last seven meetings.

Likely XIs

Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford started England’s last match against Brazil in November, and with Kane out, Southgate could opt for that pair again.

But there will likely be a change in goal. Joe Hart started that game at Wembley, but one of Jack Butland or Jordan Pickford is expected to get the nod this time.

In midfield, Adam Lallana and Jack Wilshere will be eager to force a starting role, having both been out of the international picture back in the Autumn.

The Dutch defence may have a Premier League feel about it, with Virgil van Dijk in the middle and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Nathan Ake and Patrick van Aanholt also possible starters.

Kevin Strootman is the key man in the middle, with Memphis Depay and teenage sensation Justin Kluivert looking to trouble England’s back-line.

Key Battles

The Dutch may be going through a period of transition, but this will still be a good test for Southgate and England.

Southgate will be eager to see how his side get on without Harry Kane. Nobody other than the Tottenham ace has scored for England in their last four matches.

Raheem Sterling’s role will be key. The Manchester City ace has become a feared forward this season, drifting in and out from the flanks.

Southgate will need to ensure Sterling can still find that space and get into good positions.

Wilshere and Lallana could have a big say too. Whichever player gets the nod tonight will need to play well and show their quality in supplying the attack.

Match Odds

Coral make the hosts 11/8 favourites, with England out at 15/8 and the draw available at 2/1.

Both teams have netted in each of the last four meetings, and there’s 20/23 about that happening again.

England are 5/1 to win with both teams to score, as happened in that 4-1 win back in ’96. Vardy is 5/1 to score first, with Rashford 6/1.

Sterling is 14/5 to net anytime, with Wilshere available to score anytime at 11/2.

For the Dutch, Sporting hotshot Bas Dost is 9/2 to open scoring, with Depay 14/5 and Kluivert 10/3.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing