Republic of Ireland - Netherlands Preview: Boys in Green begin Euro 2016 preparations in Dublin

The Republic of Ireland will play Netherlands at the Aviva Stadium on Friday, as they look to hit some form before the tournament begins.

Republic of Ireland - Netherlands Preview: Boys in Green begin Euro 2016 preparations in Dublin
Martin O'Neill will hope his side can start their preparations with a win. (Photo: Irish Mirror)

Republic of Ireland will get their preparations for Euro 2016 underway on Friday, as they face a Netherlands side that are a surprising omission from the tournament after a poor qualifying campaign.

The match will take place at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin with kick-off at 19:45, and is the first of two friendlies before the tournament begins, with the second against Belarus taking place in Cork on May 31st.

Tough group awaits the Irish in France

This year's tournament in France will be the third time that Ireland have taken part in the European Championships, and the Boys in Green will be hoping that they can get past the group stage this time around.

Belgium, Italy and Sweden all stand in their way in what will certainly be an incredibly tough group for Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane's men, who will look to draw on the experience of players such as captain John O'Shea and Shay Given throughout the tournament.

O'Neill will hope that his side can replicate some of the results seen in the qualifying stages, such as a 1-0 win against World Cup holders Germany back in October. Ireland have been unbeaten in their last 10 matches, with their least defeat coming against Poland back in October 2015.

The Irish progressed to the tournament via the play-offs, as they beat Bosnia & Herzegovina 3-1 on aggregate thanks to goals from Robbie Brady and Jon Walters.

Robbie Brady celebrates after putting Ireland ahead against Bosnia & Herzegovina. (Photo: Goal.com)
Robbie Brady celebrates after putting Ireland ahead against Bosnia & Herzegovina. (Photo: Goal.com)

Team news

Stoke City defender Marc Wilson has been officially ruled out of Euro 2016 due to a knee injury that has kept him out of the Stoke side since January, Martin O'Neill has confirmed.

Wilson had been included in the initial 35-man squad, but after training with the squad on Monday the defender realised that he would not be fit enough to make the final squad for the tournament in France.

Speaking at his press conference, O'Neill said that Wilson is "disappointed, but he knew it would be a long shot", although the player "will join up with us this week for a few days and watch the Holland game."

Elsewhere, Kieren Westwood, David Forde and David Meyler are unavailable due to their respective club teams reaching both the Championship and League One play-off finals at Wembley.

Aiden McGeady, who plays with Westwood for Sheffield Wednesday, is available however after being told that he would not be needed at Wembley, with O'Neill admitting that "maybe [McGeady's] confidence will be affected somewhat" by the situation.

Ireland's potential line-up for the match.
Ireland's potential line-up for the match.
Netherlands' potential line-up for the match.
Netherlands' potential line-up for the match.

A look at the opposition

Out of the 19 matches that these two have contested, the record is relatively close with Ireland winning seven times and Netherlands emerging victorious nine times. The last match between the two came in August 2006, when Klaas Jan Huntelaar marked his debut with a brace in addition to goals from Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben.

Since reaching the final of the 2010 World Cup and finishing third in the 2014 World Cup however, Netherlands have been less than impressive, with Danny Blind's side's failure to even qualify for Euro 2016 a huge disappointment for the Dutch.

The Oranje are still a formidable opponent however, as they beat England 2-1 at Wembley in March and narrowly lost out 3-2 to the tournament hosts France a few days prior to the match against the Three Lions.

Blind has experimented with his squad in recent matches, and that may well continue on Friday as the Dutch look towards the future and attempt to forget their hugely disappointing Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

Players such as Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie were unable to help Netherlands qualify for Euro 2016. (Photo: Goal.com)
Players such as Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie were unable to help Netherlands qualify for Euro 2016. (Photo: Goal.com)