Following on from last week’s game in Cardiff, Wales travel to the Netherlands to face off against a Dutch side who are top of this Nations League group. This tie looks great for a Bet Builder, and you can read my selections below.
Where some sides may have rolled over in their Nations League ties after finally securing a World Cup berth for the first time since 1958, Wales have performed admirably in their games following their 1-0 play-off final defeat of Ukraine. Admittedly, they are still bottom of their group, having failed to win any of their 3 games so far, but the loss to Poland in particular can be excused, coming just days before what may well have been the biggest game of many in the squad’s careers. Their other two results were encouraging performances, and Rob Page and his players must be disappointed to have taken only a single point.
The Netherlands meanwhile have made a fantastic start to this Nations League competition, going unbeaten, and having been unlucky last time out not to have beaten a Poland side that they dominated throughout, a game they would’ve won had Depay converted his last-minute penalty. The 4-1 defeat of Belgium was a real highlight, the Belgian consolation coming in the final minute to make the scoreline slightly more respectable, but this was still the heaviest home defeat inflicted on the Red Devils since 2008.
The return fixture last week saw a dramatic finish, where Wales’ last-minute equaliser was immediately cancelled out by Wout Weghorst’s winner. Wales now sit 3 points adrift at the foot of the table, and do need to get some points on the board to avoid relegation back down to Group B. This game is something of a free hit, an away tie against the best side in this group, so I would expect them to go all out to try and secure a win. They are not expecting to get anything here, but their performance at home last week shows that on their day they could well be flying home with some points in the bag.
Netherlands v Wales Bet Builder Tips
Both Teams to Score
The Oranje have not lost a game since their 2-0 Round of 16 defeat to Czechia which saw them eliminated from Euro 2020. Their threat going forward is nearly always enough to see them over the line, but for whatever reason a defence featuring Virgil Van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt and Stefan de Vrij has now failed to keep a clean sheet in 5 straight games.
The hosts shipped two goals to Poland last time out, with van Dijk not featuring since the 4-1 defeat of Belgium, and de Ligt missing out following a knock picked up in that 2-1 win away at the Cardiff City Stadium. Wales have generated an average of 1.4xG throughout their 3 Nations League ties so far, and though there is a chance the Dutch defence will return to full-strength or at least near full-strength, they should have confidence in being able to find the net for the 11th international fixture in a row.
The Netherlands are on an even better goalscoring run, having found the net in their last 12 internationals. They have scored 35 goals in those 12 games, at a rate of 2.9 goals per game. The Wales defence is tenacious and committed but the Netherlands are simply better, and I would be very surprised if they were not able to find a way through.
Brennan Johnson to have 1+ Shots on Target
It’s been quite the season for young Brennan Johnson. The 21-year old Nottingham Forest forward came off the bench to hit a late equaliser for Wales against Belgium at the weekend, his first goal for the national team on his 12th appearance. His 16 goals and 10 assists for Forest were crucial to their promotion, and following a rest last time out, he looks primed to return to the starting line-up today.
As the Cheat Sheet shows, Johnson takes 2 shots per game, with an incredible efficiency rate, hitting the target at a rate of 1.33 per 90. This does show that in his young international career he has looked to shoot only when in great positions, and that he has good accuracy. With his first goal coming last time out, he should gain confidence and be happier to shoot from more difficult positions, where his accuracy should ensure this selection lands.
For a player in great form and with such accuracy in his shooting to be sitting just below evens for a single shot in target against a side which has not kept a clean sheet in 450 minutes of international football, it represents value which is impossible to ignore. The only issue with this selection is the potential for him to start on the bench, but even if he does, entering the field late on against a tired defence, he may still be able to make it work, as he did last time out.
Throughout this season, Johnson has only failed to have a shot on target in 8 games where he played the full 90 minutes. He his a great finisher and should he get the chance to prove himself today he will be desperate to take it whilst still riding the high of last weekend’s first international goal.
Ethan Ampadu to be Shown a Card
Neither side has been especially prone to games with a high volume of cards over the past season, however, tonight’s referee is fairly strict, and unlikely to let as many decisions go as his counterpart did last week in only booking one player all game. He averaged over 5 yellow cards per game in 19 games in Romania’s Liga I this season. Both of these sides have averaged just under 3 cards per game in international football over the course of 2021-22.
As the Cheat Sheet shows, there are plenty of Dutch players adept at drawing opposition players into fouls, and Ethan Ampadu, as Wales’ central defensive midfielder will be directly challenged by three of the players in the top-6 for the Netherlands in terms of fouls drawn per 90. Both strikers, Memphis Depay (2.22) and Cody Gakpo (1.43), alongside Barcelona man Frenkie de Jong (1.97) all feature, and will be operating the space that Ampadu is tasked with defending.
The return fixture saw the 4-man Wales defence committing 6 fouls between them, and these fouls should move forwards with the team looking likely to stick with the 3 at the back they used last time out. Ampadu is just behind Neco Williams in terms of fouls per 90, with 1.15 for Wales, but his club record for this season shows that he averages a lot more than that, with only 9 games in 39 seeing no fouls for the Welshman.
Ampadu also draws a lot of fouls himself, so he could easily get into some running battles with his the Dutch strikers and midfielders that will build over the course of the 90 minutes, especially if it’s a close game as I would anticipate. He has averaged 1.69 fouls per game across the whole season, whilst drawing 1.02 fouls per game overall, and 1.01 for Wales.
There should certainly be more cards this time than last game, and Ampadu at 4.2 looks like great value, he is likely to be heavily involved in this game no matter whether it is a competitive affair or if the Dutch can blow the visitors away.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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Netherlands v Wales Predicted Line-ups
Netherlands predicted XI (3-5-2) : Cillessen; de Ligt, de Vrij, Timber; Blind, de Jong, Klaassen, Berghuis, Dumfries; Depay, Gakpo
Wales predicted XI (3-5-2) : Hennessey; Davies, Rodon, Mepham; N. Williams, Wilson, Ampadu, Ramsey, Roberts; Johnson, James
* All odds displayed correct at the time of publishing *
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