Kicking-off at the same time as the other remaining Group A fixture, Ecuador v Senegal, the Dutch will be aiming to reach the knockout stage – and ideally top the group.
They will be heavily-fancied to beat Qatar, who have been defeated relatively comfortably by both Ecuador and Senegal – although the hosts will doubtless be keen to go out with a positive result and performance.
The group table currently shows the Netherlands and Ecuador on four points, Senegal on three and Qatar on zero.
Despite having an identical points, goal difference, goals scored and head-to-head record, the Netherlands top the group ahead of Ecuador due to their better disciplinary record.
Therefore, the Dutch will top the group if they win and Ecuador either fail to beat Senegal, win by a lesser margin, or win by an equal margin without scoring more goals than the Netherlands.
A draw would guarantee progression to the knockouts, but they’d only top the group if Ecuador-Senegal finishes as an equal or lower-scoring draw.
A defeat, meanwhile, could still see them through in second place.
That would prove the case if the other game ends with an Ecuador win. A draw in that match would also be enough, as long as the Netherlands lose by only one goal – or by two, while maintaining a better goals-scored record than Senegal.
A win for the African champions by a greater margin than the Dutch’s loss would do the trick too. As could one by an equal margin, but only if it leaves the Netherlands with a better or equal goals-scored record than the South Americans. If, in that case, goals-scored is equal, the Netherlands would need to have retained that superior disciplinary record.
A lot of permutations and possibilities. It certainly shouldn’t be a dull afternoon, even if there’s a chance it will be a complicated one.
It appears likely that Van Gaal will take a cautious approach with Memphis Depay, who got around 30 minutes in the 2-0 opening win over Senegal and 45 in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Ecuador, as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury suffered in September.
His involvement remains the primary talking point, with there no other obvious fitness concerns heading into this one.
In terms of selection, it will be interesting to see whether Matthijs de Ligt or Jurriën Timber starts on the right of the back-three – after the latter came in for the former against Ecuador – and whether Teun Koopmeiners and Davy Klaassen keep their places, having also been brought in for the second game.
Van Gaal again appears to have a good degree of flexibility within his likely 3-4-1-2 shape.
The hosts tend to utilise a similar shape, generally with one holding midfielder rather than two.
Mohammed Muntari may be in with a chance of getting his first start of the tournament after he came on for skipper Hassan Al Haydos to score in the 3-1 loss to Senegal.
Front-two Almoez Ali and Akram Afif will likely retain their places, while whether Pedro Miguel starts on the right of the back-three or at right wing-back could be one of Sánchez’s key calls.
Wholesale changes are perhaps a possibility given it is Qatar’s third and final match of the tournament, but the hosts will likely want a degree of continuity against a strong opponent like the Netherlands.
23. Andries Noppert; 2. Jurriën Timber, 4. Virgil van Dijk (C), 5. Nathan Aké; 22. Denzel Dumfries, 11. Steven Berghuis, 21. Frenkie de Jong, 17. Daley Blind; 14. Davy Klaassen; 8. Cody Gakpo, 7. Steven Bergwijn
22. Meshaal Aissa Barsham; 2. Pedro Miguel, 16. Boualem Khoukhi, 3. Abdelkarim Hassan; 23. Assim Madibo; 17. Ismaeel Mohamad, 12. Karim Boudiaf, 10. Hassan Al Haydos (C), 14. Homam Ahmed; 19. Almoez Ali, 11. Akram Afif
Netherlands – Cody Gakpo
Scorer of two of the Netherlands’ three goals at the World Cup thus far, the PSV Eindhoven man looks set to play an important part again.
A threat through his movement, dynamism, height and technical ability with both feet, there appear numerous ways in which he could ask questions of Qatar.
Particularly if Memphis doesn’t start, the emphasis may well be on him to find a route to goal for either himself or those around him.
Qatar – Pedro Miguel
Having already played at centre-back and right wing-back within the first two games, Miguel has shown himself to be both flexible and an imposing presence.
He felt like his nation’s primary driving force against Ecuador in the tournament’s opening game and if he can stamp his mark on this contest – regardless of his position – he may just allow Qatar to get a foothold in a game that looks set to be tough.
WHERE IS THE GAME BEING PLAYED?
Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
WHAT TIME IS KICK-OFF?
Kick-off is at 3pm GMT (UK) on Tuesday 29th November.
HOW CAN I WATCH?
In the UK, the game is due to be broadcast live on ITV1, ITVX, or STV in Scotland.