World Cup qualifying: Louis van Gaal predicts open game as Holland host Romania
Last Updated: March 25, 2013 5:05pm
Louis van Gaal: Wants his side to maintain their 100% record
Holland coach Louis van Gaal is predicting an open game when Romania visit the Amsterdam ArenA on Tuesday night - and is confident his players will benefit from facing opposition not intent on keeping the score down.
The Dutch are the runaway leaders in World Cup qualifying Group D and appear certainties to win the pool and secure an automatic place in Brazil next summer.
That superiority has seen teams attempt to limit the damage against Van Gaal's men with the latest opposition to take a 'safety first' approach being Estonia on Friday night.
Oranje initially struggled to break them down but second-half strikes from Rafael van der Vaart, Robin van Persie and Ruben Schaken helped them maintain their 100 per cent record in the pool after five games.
While Estonia had little to play for, Romania are locked in a three-way battle for the runners-up spot and a possible place in the play-offs.
And Van Gaal believes that could play into his team's hands.
He said at Monday's press conference: "Romania is a difficult opponent. They play the same system as Estonia but with better individual players.
"So I expect they will produce something more in attack, creating more space for us
in front of them."
Van Gaal will have to make one change for Tuesday's game with Galatasaray midfielder Wesley Sneijder ruled out after damaging a groin on Friday with AZ Alkmaar's Adam Maher called up as his replacement.
Maher is likely to start on the bench with Van der Vaart promoted to the starting XI after coming on for Sneijder 36 minutes into Friday's game.
Hamburg midfielder Van der Vaart said: "Wesley asked to change and I did not mind, I want to play.
"But it is annoying for Wesley. To be replaced so early with an injury is hard on anyone but for myself it was good."
Romania coach Victor Piturca has played down comparisons between Tuesday night's encounter and the Europa League match between Ajax and Steaua Bucharest earlier this season.
Steaua eliminated the Amsterdammers on a penalty shoot-out but Piturca does not believe that will give his squad - which features nine Steaua players - a psychological advantage.
"Oranje are much better than Ajax," he said.
"The Dutch school is world famous and they are in a good phase with young players and experienced guys like (Arjen) Robben, (Robin) van Persie and (Rafael) van der Vaart."
It could be a special night for experienced striker Adrian Mutu. Mutu's goal in Friday's 2-2 draw with Hungary moved him level with Gheorghe Hagi on 35 international strikes and he will become his country's most prolific marksman if he can add to that tally in Amsterdam.
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Tue 26th Mar - Group B
Armenia0 - 3Czech Rep
Denmark1 - 1Bulgaria
Malta0 - 2Italy
Tue 26th Mar - Group F
Azerbaijan0 - 2Portugal
N Ireland0 - 2Israel
Tue 26th Mar - Group D
Estonia2 - 0Andorra
Turkey1 - 1Hungary
Netherlands4 - 0Romania
Tue 26th Mar - Group H
Ukraine2 - 1Moldova
Poland5 - 0San Marino
Montenegro1 - 1England
Tue 26th Mar - Group A
Serbia2 - 0Scotland
Belgium1 - 0Macedonia
Wales1 - 2Croatia
Tue 26th Mar - Group C
Rep Ireland2 - 2Austria
Germany4 - 1Kazakhstan
Tue 26th Mar - Group I
France0 - 1Spain
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I