NETHERLANDS vs ENGLAND, Amsterdam, 12/08/09
Kick-off 19:45 BST, Live UK TV coverage on ITV1
Just 24 hours ahead of this huge UFWC title match, challengers England have been dealt a blow with the withdrawal from the squad of Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool midfielder is out with a slight groin strain (which will no doubt clear up by the time his club begin their Premier League campaign on Sunday…).
Also out for England is Manchester United keeper Ben Foster, injured in the Community Shield match at the weekend. With David James already out, Robert Green is likely to deputise in goal. Michael Carrick may step in for Gerrard.
England manager Fabio Capello decided against recalling Michael Owen to his squad, and also omitted Peter Crouch, so is likely to go with Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey up front, with Theo Walcott providing support.
For UFWC champions the Netherlands, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Mark van Bommel are already ruled out with injuries, while Eljero Elia and Stijn Schaars are both in Bert van Marwijk’s squad, but are considered doubtful.
The Dutch are likely to field an attacking line-up including Dirk Kuyt, Arjen Robben, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Robin Van Persie.
Fans of both nations will expect their side to have enough quality to win this game, and neutrals will be hoping that the two strong sides do not cancel each other – and the game – out.
Both teams have one hundred-percent records from their World Cup 2010 qualifying campaigns, with the Dutch already qualified, and England likely to join them should they win their next qualifier.
Both sides are ranked in the UFWC all-time top 5, and both are ranked in FIFA’s current top 10. The Netherlands are ranked fifth in the all-time UFWC rankings, with England second, behind all-time champions Scotland. The Netherlands are ranked third by FIFA, with England seventh.
The bookies make the Netherlands favourites. At the time of writing, best odds for a Dutch win are 7/5 at Boylesports. An English victory is 11/5 at Bet365. Coral have the draw at 23/10.
The match will be screened live in the UK on ITV1, with the broadcast beginning at 19:30, and the game kicking off at 19:45. [UPDATE: In the Netherlands, the match will be broadcast on SBS 6 – thanks Jesse.]
There will be a full match report here after the game.