Republic of Ireland set for Netherlands farewell friendly

Dutch visit to Dublin will be last chance for players to impress Martin O’Neill

The Netherlands are to provide the opposition in the Republic of Ireland's farewell friendly in Dublin ahead of the Euro 2016.

Details of the fixture, along with the remainder of the squad's pre-tournament itinerary, will be announced by the Football Association of Ireland in the coming days with Sunday, May 22th increasingly likely to mark the Dutch visit to Dublin 4.

Danny Blind’s side, of course, won’t be accompanying Martin O’Neill’s side to France for the expanded 24-nation tournament, the first time since 1984 they will not be featuring at the showpiece.

World-class stars

Still, the Dutch possess an array of world-class stars, plenty of whom remain from the squad which came within a penalty shoot-out of reaching the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil.


Amongst them are the manager's son Daley Blind, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben, although the latter may have a Champions League final to prepare for instead that week.

It is the third friendly confirmed for the Republic of Ireland since qualification was clinched last month, with the double-header against Switzerland and Slovakia on March 25th and 29th crucial to O'Neill's selection process.

Perhaps more vital, however, will be the meeting with the Dutch as the final squad for the tournament must be submitted to Uefa by June 3rd and therefore close calls could hinge on the performances of contenders in front of what is certain to be a sell-out crowd.

This friendly will be the 20th meeting between the nations and the first in nine years since Steve Staunton’s side were soundly beaten 4-0 in Dublin.

Following the workout, O'Neill and his assistant Roy Keane are planning to schedule a week-long warm-weather training camp in a country near France. Spain and Austria are the leading contenders to host the Irish, albeit Switzerland could be another option.

That section on the itinerary will be broken up by another friendly – the fourth and final game – either away from home or on neutral territory.

From there, the Ireland party fly to France in plenty of time for the opener against Sweden on June 13th.