Scotland U21 V Netherlands U21 – Wednesday 28th May. 7:45PM. Sky Sports 1
Scotland’s Under 21s welcome the Netherlands to St Mirren Park tonight as Billy Stark’s men aim to get their Euro 2015 hopes back on track with by causing an upset.
The young Scotland players are a spirited bunch, but they’ll have their work cut out tonight against one of the best sides this age group has to offer. If the visitors bring their best, we could be in for a treat.
Can Underdogs Spring A Surprise
A stuttered record of two wins from five matches simply isn’t going to be good enough if Scotland want to progress through to the play-offs and must pick up a victory tonight in order to keep their slim hopes alive.
The young Scottish side do boast some promising players, but they aren’t up to the same standard as tonight’s opposition. The likes of goalkeeper Jordan Archer and midfielder Stuart Armstrong have bags of experience at this level, but that won’t be enough to get a result against a formidable Dutch outfit.
What Scotland do boast, though, is a very strong work ethic and that has helped them take seven points from their previous three home qualifiers. That grit and determination will probably be their best asset against Ornaje tonight and could allow them to push Oranje all the way.
However, Scotland have not qualified for any U21 European Championship since reaching the semi-finals in 1996 and their hopes of ending that sequence this year are minimal to say the least. A positive start is vital tonight, or else it could be a long night for Stark’s youngsters.
Oranje Jong Looking Strong
Albert Stuivenberg may have lost a couple of stars to the senior side, but this crop of Dutch youngsters is still bursting with talent.
The likes of Adam Maher, Luc Castaignos and Richairo Zivkovic will all cause problems for the young Tartan Army and Oranje’s quality should be too much for the hosts. Oranje cruised to a 4-0 win in September’s home meeting and playing away should not prevent them from picking up another three points here.
Stuivenberg’s men are currently second in the Group 3 standings, but could leapfrog Slovakia into top spot with three points in Paisley. Netherlands have picked up 10 points from a possible 12 so far and are well on target in their quest to reach next year’s tournament in the Czech Republic.
The Netherlands should coast through this five-team group and will fancy themselves in the play-off phase regardless of their opponents. In fact, the conveyer belt of fresh young talent should mean they have a great chance of lifting the trophy – but first they must defeat Scotland.
In terms of technical ability, there is no contest here. As long as they cope with the physical challenge, three points will be assured.
Scotland U21 V Netherlands U21 Betting
Oranje have been established, by bookmaker Bet365, as the odds on favourites at 8/13. Meanwhile, Scotland can be backed at 9/2. The draw is priced 11/4.
The importance of a strong start for Scotland cannot be over emphasised. If the visitors get theirs noses in front early then we could see a repeat of September’s 4-0 thrashing in Holland.
However, Scotland have a particularly strong home record and if they can keep the away side quiet early on then we could have a game on our hands. Nevertheless, the gulf in quality should become evident at some stage.
Netherlands U21 Highest scoring half: 2nd is 11/8 with William Hill
Scotland may have scored seven goals in qualification so far, but they could struggle in the final third against their superior opponents.
The Netherlands have conceded just twice in their four matches to date, keeping three clean sheets in the process. It could be another repeat performance in Paisley.
Netherlands U21 to win to nil is 7/4 with Bet365