Frank de Boer will immediately face a rare game on Wednesday evening as national coach of the Dutch national team against Mexico. There is a friendly match scheduled for the Orange for the first time in almost two years.
Memphis could be a milestone against Mexico
In October 2018, the Netherlands last played an exhibition match. The team of the then national coach Ronald Koeman then played a 1-1 draw against Belgium in Brussels, after which fourteen consecutive competitive matches followed.
The lack of exhibition games can be explained by the arrival of the Nations League, which replaces many friendly international matches. In recent years, the Netherlands has performed reasonably well in duels where nothing is at stake: of the last ten exhibition games, Orange only lost to England (March 2018).
However, the first game of a new national coach is not always a guarantee for success. The last choice of the Dutch national team – not including interim coaches – to win his debut match, was Frank Rijkaard in October 1998. 22 years ago, the Orange squad was 2-0 too strong for Peru under his leadership.
Frank de Boer could become the first national coach of Orange since Frank Rijkaard to win his debut match. (Photo: ANP)
De Boer’s hopes against Mexico will largely be on Memphis Depay. The striker, who saw a transfer to FC Barcelona this week, was involved in 22 goals in his last twenty matches for the Orange (11 goals and 11 assists).
If 26-year-old Memphis also scores against Mexico, he will be one of the sixteen players who have scored at least twenty times for the Netherlands in their career. Robin van Persie is still the top scorer of all time for Orange with fifty goals.
The match between the Netherlands and Mexico starts on Wednesday at 8.45 pm in the Johan Cruijff ArenA. The exhibition game is for the Orange in preparation for the Nations League matches with Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sunday 6 p.m. in Zenica) and Italy (Wednesday 14 October in Bergamo)