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Netherlands vs Croatia predictions: Dutch hosts faced with stiff test
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Daniel Childs
Ronald Koeman is looking to go one better after his Netherlands side lost the final in 2019
Ronald Koeman is looking to go one better after his Netherlands side lost the final in 2019

- The Netherlands have lost only one of last 22 matches in regulation time 
- Croatia's semi-final loss to Argentina only defeat in last 15 games 
- Recommended bet: Netherlands to win

The Netherlands are aiming to become the second host nation to succeed at a Nations League finals, following in the footsteps of 2019 champions Portugal, but they face a tricky semi-final test against Croatia in Rotterdam.

Ronald Koeman's second spell in the Dutch dugout got off to a shaky start with a 4-0 loss away to France in European 2024 qualifying, and he will be hoping for a big improvement this summer.

Meanwhile, Croatia are hoping to build on their impressive effort at the 2022 World Cup where they finished in third place.

The Chequered Ones' long-term manager, Zlatko Dalic, has steered them to the final four of the Nations League for the first time in their history.

Team news

Koeman will be forced into a rejig in attack because Memphis Depay has failed to shake off a calf injury.

Cody Gakpo and Wout Weghorst are candidates to fill the centre-forward position and Denzel Dumfries and Nathan Ake will have to be assessed after starting the Champions League final.

Croatia will be without influential defender Josko Gvardiol, who misses out with a groin injury.

Striker Marko Livaja pulled out of the squad after suffering vocal criticism from a section of fans who attended a training session.

The stats

Zlatko Dalic's Croatia hopes have been hit by an injury to defensive lynchpin Josko Gvardiol
Zlatko Dalic's Croatia hopes have been hit by an injury to defensive lynchpin Josko Gvardiol

The Netherlands exited the World Cup after a quarter-final penalty shootout loss to Argentina but they went 20 matches without a loss in regulation time until a 4-0 reverse away to France at the start of Euro 2024 qualifying.

The Oranje sailed through the Nations League group phase, winning five and drawing one of their six fixtures.

Croatia recovered from a slow start to their Nations League campaign by winning each of their last four matches.

The Croatians' 3-0 loss to Argentina in the World Cup semi-finals is their only reverse among the last 15 games.


Ronald Koeman's first spell in the Netherlands' hotseat featured a runners-up finish in the 2018-19 Nations League and his efforts to go one better can commence with a victory over Croatia at Stadion de Kuip.

The Netherlands were a penalty shootout away from reaching the World Cup semi-finals but their perceived cautious style of play under Louis van Gaal did not always go down well with supporters.

Koeman prefers a more offensive, possession-based approach but there were obvious teething problems when his team was hammered by France at the start of Euro 2024 qualifying.

Depay's absence with a calf injury presents Koeman with another headache, but there are some excellent players for the 60-year-old to work with and his defence, anchored by centre-backs Matthijs De Ligt and Virgil Van Dijk, has the potential to be among the strongest in the tournament.

Croatia's run to the World Cup semi-finals was underpinned by a body of solid defensive work, but their Nations League hopes have been damaged by Josko Gvardiol's absence.

Gvardiol is by far the best one-on-one defender they have and his loss could be tough to overcome.

Zlatko Dalic's side lack star quality in attack and will rely heavily on the midfield trio of Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic.

However, the Netherlands appear to have better players at either end of the pitch and they look a solid bet to reach the final.


NetherlandsCroatiaUEFA Nations League
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