Oranje set for five Amsterdam matches in 2016 Euro Cup qualifiers
The Amsterdam ArenA will serve as the home base for the Dutch men's national football team in the run-up to the 2016 European Championship. Oranje will play all of its home matches in the qualifying round at the Amsterdam stadium, according to the national football association KNVB.
In support of their decision, KNVB pointed out that four of five Dutch home qualifiers were also played at the ArenA. "The World Cup qualifiers drew an average of 50,000 spectators," they said in an announcement on their website.
Netherlands will have its first qualifier in the Czech Republic on September 9, with its first home qualifier a month later against Kazakhstan. In the months that follow, Oranje will square off against their fellow Group A teams, Iceland, Latvia and Turkey.
Not everyone is happy with the association's decision. “The KNVB makes the same argument as before; the arena has a roof, 2,000 extra [seats] and better accessibility,” said Jan van Merwijk, director of De Kuip, the 51,200-seat football stadium in Rotterdam. The stadium has a planned renovation that will increase seating capacity in the coming years, making it a competitor for future events, he told NuSport.nl.
He said he does not expect Rotterdam to win any of the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, but possibly the 2020 European Championship.
“Until that time, it would be nice to get a couple of friendlies," he said. "Saturday’s match [in Rotterdam] against Ghana went well.”
European Championship Qualifier Schedule for the Netherlands:
- September 9, 2014: Czech Republic - Netherlands (8:45 p.m.)
- October 10, 2014: Netherlands - Kazakhstan (8:45 p.m.)
- October 13, 2014: Iceland - Netherlands (8:45 p.m.)
- November 16, 2014 : Netherlands - Latvia (6 p.m.)
- March 28, 2015: Netherlands - Turkey (8:45 p.m.)
- June 12, 2015: Latvia - Netherlands (8:45 p.m.)
- September 3, 2015: Netherlands - Iceland (8:45 p.m.)
- September 6, 2015: Turkey - Netherlands (6 p.m.)
- October 10, 2015: Kazakhstan - Netherlands (6 p.m.)
- October 13, 2015: Netherlands - Czech Republic (8:45 p.m.)