Netherlands v England – BBC Sport

Updated: 19/03/2023


Raheem Sterling has scored six goals in his last four games for England

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Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling is set to win his 50th cap for England in Thursday's Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands in Guimaraes.

Midfielder Jordan Henderson was the only absentee as England trained before flying to Portugal.

Liverpool's Henderson, one of seven England players involved in Saturday's Champions League final, is following an individual training plan.

Matthijs de Ligt and Virgil van Dijk are in line to start for the Dutch.

Portugal and Switzerland play in Porto on Wednesday with the final and third-place play-off on Sunday.

‘When you win, you're not tired'

Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman says he expects Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum to both face England after chatting to them about their fitness over a coffee.

The Liverpool duo, who helped the Reds to victory in the Champions League final on Saturday, only reported for international duty on Tuesday.

“I wanted to check on their physical and mental state, and then I had a choice,” Koeman said.

“When you win, you're not tired. I've experienced that.

“Both were so confident and optimistic about the match but, if all goes well in training, I'll be lining up with my strongest team. They both belong to that XI.”

One of Koeman's first acts after being named as Netherlands manager in February 2018 was to appoint Van Dijk as his captain, as he rebuilt after failures to qualify for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

After starting with a 1-0 loss to England in Amsterdam, the Dutch have lost just two of their 11 games since.

Koeman says he adopted a similar blueprint as England manager Gareth Southgate in handing greater responsibility to emerging young players.

“That was an example for the Dutch team, how they processed the squad, gave chances to young players,” he added.

“It's not by chance they are fourth in the world rankings. That's why I spoke about Southgate doing a fantastic job. We were the lesser of the two teams when we played last time. But we're closer now, and have a better chance of winning [on Thursday].”

Another step in England's development?

While this may not be a World Cup or a European Championship, two victories would be enough to crown England as the inaugural winners of the Nations League.

It would also provide an England senior side with a first piece of major silverware since winning the World Cup in 1966.

And it represents the chance for Gareth Southgate's side to show they have matured into winners after reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2018.

England eliminated their World Cup conquerors, Croatia, and Spain en route to Portugal and started their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with thumping victories over the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

That extended their unbeaten run in European Championship and World Cup qualifiers to 41 matches since the loss to Ukraine in October 2009.

Could this be the next step in their development at tournaments?

England favourites to edge semi-final

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis, Gracenote

Gracenote's forecast for the remaining four Nations League matches gives Gareth Southgate's side a slight advantage against the Netherlands in their semi-final, with a 53% chance of progressing.

However, Portugal are the overall favourites to win the competition. The hosts have a 59% chance of beating Switzerland and a 35% chance of winning Sunday's final.

Portugal play the lowest ranked of the four finalists, Switzerland, in Wednesday's semi-final with their hopes of success boosted by home advantage.

Gracenote analysis makes Portugal favourites to win the Nations League final on Sunday

England squad

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Jordan Pickford (Everton).

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Declan Rice (West Ham).

Strikers: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth).

Netherlands squad

Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Barcelona), Kenneth Vermeer (Feyenoord), Marco Bizot (AZ Alkmaar).

Defenders: Hans Hateboer (Atalanta), Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Nathan Ake (Bournemouth), Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Stefan de Vrij (Internazionale), Daley Blind (Ajax), Denzel Dumfries (PSV Eindhoven)

Midfielders: Davy Propper (Brighton), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool), Ryan Babel (Fulham), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Kevin Strootman (Marseille), Tonny Vilhena (Feyeoord), Donny van de Beek (Ajax), Frenkie de Jong (Ajax)

Forwards: Steven Bergwijn (PSV Eindhoven), Memphis Depay (Lyon), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow), Luuk de Jong (PSV Eindhoven)



  • England have won only two of their past 14 matches against the Netherlands (D7 L5) and are looking to win consecutively against them for the first time since November 1946 under Walter Winterbottom.
  • The Netherlands have lost just one of their five competitive matches against England (W2, D2), although that defeat came in their last such match in Euro 96 when England won 4-1.
  • Gareth Southgate is looking to become the first England manager to win more than once against the Netherlands in all competitions.


  • England are unbeaten in seven matches (W6 D1), winning the last five in a row. The Three Lions last won six consecutive games back in March 2015 under Roy Hodgson (7).
  • England have scored five goals in each of their past two matches, beating the Czech Republic (5-0) and Montenegro (5-1); they last netted 5+ goals in three consecutive games between November 1960 and May 1961.
  • Harry Kane has been directly involved in 34% of the 59 goals scored by England under Gareth Southgate (17 goals, 3 assists); a higher share than any of his team-mates.
  • After netting just two goals in his first 45 games for England, Raheem Sterling has since scored six goals in his last four appearances for the Three Lions. Sterling, who is set to make his 50th appearance in this match, has scored with six of his last seven shots on target for England.


  • The Netherlands lost their last game 3-2 against Germany. They have not suffered consecutive competitive defeats since September 2015 under manager Danny Blind.
  • The Netherlands have won just one of their previous nine matches played in Portugal (W1 D4 L4), beating Latvia at Euro 2004 (3-0) under Dick Advocaat.
  • Dutch forward Memphis Depay has had a hand in 21 goals in his last 20 games in all.

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