THIS will be a fascinating swansong for Louis van Gaal at the helm for the Dutch national side ahead of taking over at Manchester United.


Outright odds: 28/1

To win group: 11/4

To qualify: 8/13


Full squad: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Michel Vorm (Swansea City) Daley Blind (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord), Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord), Terence Kongolo (Feyenoord), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Paul Verhaegh (Augsburg), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Joel Veltman (Ajax), Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord Rotterdam), Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea City), Nigel de Jong (AC Milan), Leroy Fer (Norwich City), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven), Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev), Robin van Persie (Manchester United)

Manager: Louis van Gaal

World Cup record: Runners-up three times (1974, 1978, 2010)

How they qualified: Easy winners of UEFA Group D, collecting 28 out of a possible 30 points and banging in goals left, right and centre.

v Turkey (away) 2-0 (HT 1-0) Robben 8, Sneijder 47

v Hungary (home) 8-1 (HT 4-0) van Persie 16, 44, 53, Strootman 25, Lens 38, van der Vaart 86, Robben 90, own goal)

v Andorra (away) 2-0 (HT 0-0) van Persie 50, 54

v Estonia (away) 2-2 (HT 1-1) Robben 2, van Persie 90+4)

v Romania (home) 4-0 (HT 1-0) van der Vaart 12, van Persie 56, 65, Lens 90)

v Estonia (home) 3-0 (HT 0-0) van der Vaart 47, van Persie 72, Schaken 84)

v Romania (away) 4-1 (HT 3-1) Lens 9, Martins 29, van der Vaart 45+1p, van Persie 86

v Andorra (home) 3-0 (HT 2-0) van der Vaart 7, Huntelaar 15, Schaken 50

v Hungary (away) 4-1 (HT 2-1) Lens 3, 53, Martins 19, Huntelaar 75

v Turkey (home) 2-0 (HT 1-0) van Persie 17, Narsingh 90+3

Goalscorers: Robin van Persie led the way with 11 goals in qualifying, the most in all the European qualifying groups. Their team tally of 34 from 10 games was only bettered by the 36 netted by Germany.

Half-time/full-time: The Dutch never trailed at half-time in any of their 10 qualifiers and were ahead in seven of those games.

Clean sheets: The Netherlands' strongest feature is undoubtedly an attack which contains RVP, Arjen Robben and Jeremaine Lens but the defence managed to keep six clean sheets on the way to Brazil. Not bad for a work in progress which used five keepers during the campaign.

Win to nil: All six clean sheets they kept throughout qualification led to victories, while the only time they conceded more than once in a game still led to a point in a 2-2 stalemate in Estonia.

Cards: The Dutch failed to go through qualification without seeing a card being brandished and racked up 20 yellows from 10 games but no reds.

Other competitive internationals: None since a miserable group-stage exit at Euro 2012.

Build-up (most recent first): Results since qualification have been patchy with a 2-0 defeat in Paris notable. Did beat fellow qualifiers Ghana last week to end their recent win drought.

v Ghana (home) 1-0 (HT 1-0) van Persie 5

v Ecuador (home) 1-1 (HT 1-1) van Persie 37

v France (away) 0-2 (HT 0-2)

v Colombia (home) 0-0 (HT 0-0)

v Japan (neutral) 2-2 (HT 2-1) van der Vaart 12, Robben 39

Team verdict: This will be a fascinating swansong for Louis van Gaal at the helm for the Dutch national side ahead of taking over at Manchester United.

He has shuffled his personnel with players from the Eredivisie given a chance to shine but a youthful look in a number of areas means that van Gaal's tactical acumen is going to be vital if his team are going to make any sort of long-term impact.

Repeating their successful tournament from four years ago looks like a big ask though with perhaps not enough overall depth through the side to go with the undoubted star quality of Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie.

The only consistent thing with Holland in major tournaments is their inconsistency and a repeat of their 2010 heroics seems unlikely.