Darren Bent has been ruled out and so have Tom Cleverley, Kyle Walker and Manchester United talisman Wayne Rooney. Without these players, caretaker manager will be forced to give a bigger role to Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young and Theo Walcott in attack.
James Milner could start but 2012 Carling Cup winner Steven Gerrard will probably not play the full 90 minutes following last weekend’s exhausting encounter against Cardiff City. Liverpool’s Glen Johnson has also been replaced by Manchester City’s Joleon Lescott.
Van der Vaart won’t feature for the Netherlands against England. The former Real Madrid midfielder pulled out from the squad due to an ankle injury. Michel Vorm, Swansea’s goalkeeper, will also be absent as he’s ill. The spotlight will be on Robin van Persie to embarrass England’s defense.
1) England vs. Netherlands will take place at Wembley where Steven Gerrard missed a spotkick but still went on to lift the Carling Cup title last Sunday.
2) Robin van Persie is 10th in the list of the Netherlands’ all-time top scorers. He is poised to increase his tally to at least 26 goals with a strike against England.
3) England and the Netherlands are just two places apart in the FIFA Rankings. The Three Lions are in 5th position while the Dutch are 3rd.
4) The last time an England-Netherlands match saw a winner was back in 2001. The Oranje claimed a 2-0 victory against England.
England’s last 5 international matches:
September 2, 2011: Bulgaria 0-3 England
September 6, 2011: England 1-0 Wales
October 7, 2011: Montenegro 2-2 England
November 12, 2011: England 1-0 Spain
November 15, 2011: England 1-0 Sweden
Netherlands’ last 5 international matches:
September 6, 2011: Finland 0-2 Netherlands
October 7, 2011: Netherlands 1-0 Moldova
October 11, 2011: Sweden 3-2 Netherlands
November 11, 2011: Netherlands 0-0 Switzerland
November 15, 2011: Germany 3-0 Netherlands
England and the Netherlands’ last 3 meetings (all international friendly matches):
February 9, 2005: England 0-0 Netherlands
November 15, 2006: Netherlands 1-1 England
August 12, 2009: Netherlands 2-2 England
It may be tough for England fans to take this but it is very likely that the match will end in victory in favour of the Netherlands. Stuart Pearce is under intense pressure to help the Three Lions avoid humiliation in the absence of Fabio Capello.
Should Pearce deliver in style, expect speculations about a potential contract for him to hit the media. After all, Harry Redknapp just lost a bit of credit following Tottenham Hotspur’s surprising 5-2 defeat in the hands of Arsenal.
Prediction: England 0-0 Netherlands