Belfast Telegraph

Wijnaldum and Van Dijk among a strong Dutch squad to host NI


Ronald Koeman
Ronald Koeman
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Northern Ireland will go up against Liverpool stars Virgil van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum after the Netherlands named a provisional 30-man squad for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Michael O'Neill's men visit Rotterdam on Thursday, October 10 knowing a positive result is almost definitely required if they're to keep alive their hopes of automatic qualification.

However, that won't be easy as Holland boss Ronald Koeman has named a strong panel with the likes of Juventus star Matthijs de Ligt, Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong and former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay also included.

There is no place yet for Sergino Dest, the 18-year-old Ajax full-back who is expected to make the international switch from USA to represent the country of his birth.

Northern Ireland were knocked off top spot in Group C when they lost 2-0 at home to Germany earlier this month.

That result means, barring Estonia or Belarus springing a surprise against one of the top two seeds, the GAWA have two paths left to automatic qualification.

They can take four points from their two games against the Netherlands, or pick up one win against Holland and then beat Germany in Frankfurt.

The play-offs could still be an option if Northern Ireland can't manage to seal a top two spot.

Netherlands squad to face N Ireland

Goalkeepers: Marco Bizot (AZ Alkmaar), Jasper Cillessen (Valencia), Kenneth Vermeer (Feyenoord); Defenders: Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Nathan Ake (Bournemouth), Daley Blind, Joël Veltman, (both Ajax), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries, Jeroen Zoet (both PSV Eindhoven), Hans Hateboer (Atalanta), Terence Kongolo (Huddersfield), Stefan de Vrij (Inter); Midfielders: Donny van de Beek (Ajax), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Davy Propper (Brighton), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Kevin Strootman (Marseille), Tonny Vilhena (Krasnodar), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool); Forwards: Ryan Babel (Galatasaray), Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Justin Kluivert (Roma), Steven Bergwijn, Donyell Malen (both PSV), Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Memphis Depay (Lyon), Quincy Promes (Ajax), Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg).

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