- The Netherlands have been disappointing and lost two key players to injury against Sweden.
- The last three Netherlands games and six if the last seven Portugal games have featured fewer than four goals.
- Portugal have conceded 12 goals in their last 17 qualifying and tournament matches.
Depleted Dutch face defensive Portugal
The holders’ European Championship campaign faces a stern test on Wednesday when a depleted Dutch squad takes on a stubborn Portugal side in Group C. The Netherlands look set to be without Chelsea central defender Aniek Nouwen, seen in tears after suffering an ankle injury against Sweden on Saturday, and first-choice goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal, who hurt her shoulder in the first half.
Head coach Mark Parsons wasn’t too optimistic about either following his side’s 1-1 draw that ramps up the pressure on the group seeds to get a win on Wednesday.
There’s no pressure on Portugal, who battled back from two goals down to secure a deserved draw against Switzerland at Leigh Sports Village. A Selecção das Quinas are playing with house money after only making it to the finals because Russia, who beat them in the qualifying play-offs, were banned.
Portuguese tend to keep it tight
But they conceded only two goals in eight qualifying group games and showed plenty of defensive tenacity against the Swiss in the opener – clearing another goalbound effort off the line.
They ought not to be too far away from the Dutch on the defending champions’ recent form, which has seen them lose to England and France this year, and can ensure this game finishes with fewer than four goals scored.
Portugal are unbeaten in five and should have made it four wins in a row prior to the Euros when they were denied victory against Australia through poor finishing and bad refereeing. That said, the Dutch have enough quality to get a 2-1 win if they can rediscover their old form and are rightly favourites to do so.