The Netherlands won the lottery when the draw for the 2022 World Cup was announced. The Flying Dutchmen were a Pot 2 team and should have been in a group with a juggernaut from Pot 1, but instead they were placed in the same group as host Qatar. They were immediately proclaimed the favorites to win Group A, and their World Cup odds immediately fell from over 20-1 as a result of the draw. The Oranje should have no trouble winning their group in Qatar, but just how far can the Netherlands go at this World Cup?
Netherlands Odds at the 2022 World Cup
Netherlands Odds to Win the 2022 World Cup +1400
Netherlands Odds to Win Group A -235
Netherlands Odds to Qualify for the Round of 16 -800
At home, the Dutch were dominant during World Cup qualification. They beat all of their opponents by multiple goals, and they only allowed a single goal to cumulatively outscore their foes 20-1 on home soil. The Netherlands weren’t as successful away from home though, losing to Turkey and drawing against Norway and Montenegro. That led to the Dutch only beating out Turkey by two points for the automatic spot in the World Cup.
The Netherlands haven’t lost an international match since crashing out of the European Championships in the Round of 16 last year. They won all three of their games in the Group Stage to look like one of the top teams at the tournament, and they controlled the action early against the Czech Republic. However, a Matthijs de Ligt red card in the 55th minute turned the match on its head. The Czech Republic scored two goals after de Ligt was sent off for a hand ball to advance over the Dutch.
Since that stunning defeat, the Netherlands are 9-4-0. Many of those wins came against overmatched foes during World Cup qualification, but they have looked good since that point too. The Dutch beat Denmark 4-2 in the Netherlands in March, and they played Germany to a 1-1 draw a few days later. The Netherlands obliterated Belgium 4-1 in Brussels in Nations League play in June, and they beat Wales twice in that stretch too to take control of that group. Their only hiccup was a 2-2 draw against Poland in Rotterdam.
Recent greats like Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie, and Arjen Robben have hung up their cleats since the Dutch were runners-up at the 2010 World Cup and finished in third place at the 2014 World Cup. This version of the Flying Dutchmen will be led by a younger cohort with many of them coming up together in the talented Ajax youth program.
The lack of an elite goal scorer up top is the main issue for the Netherlands on the surface. Players like Robben and Van Persie could always be counted on to create at prior World Cups, but the best option this year is Memphis Depay. While Depay has scored 42 goals in 80 appearances for the national team, he doesn’t have the same reputation as a world class finisher. There is not a solid secondary option either, so a lot of pressure will be on Depay to make things happen up top.
This midfield does have a lot of quality though. Frenkie de Jong is as solid as they come in the middle of the pitch, and he will likely be joined by former Ajax colleagues Steven Berghuis, Donny van de Beek, and Davy Klaassen. Georginio Wijnaldum will also play a big role although he didn’t take part in Nations League play after a long season with Liverpool.
Matthijs de Ligt is one of the best defenders in the world even though he made an awful mistake last year. Captain Virgil van Dijk might just be the best defender in the world, and there are other talented fullbacks like Stefan de Vrij, Daley Blind, Denzel Dumfries, and Nathan Ake. The Dutch are extremely stocked in the back, and that’s good news considering they don’t have a great goalkeeper.
The Dutch have the potential to go far in Qatar with Louis van Gaal on the sidelines once again. He has brought back the style the Dutch are used to playing after Frank de Boer’s short tenure, and they have a very manageable group that they should win.
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