The Netherlands will face their biggest challenge of the qualifying cycle thus far -- and perhaps the biggest challenge they will face in all of World Cup qualifying -- when they play Romania in Bucharest on Tuesday night. Both teams are perfect so far in Group D, and Romania is coming off a very impressive road victory over Turkey.
22-year-old Gheorghe Grozav, one of a number of new young players who form the bulk of a resurgent Romanian side, scored his side's winning goal in Istanbul on Friday. He should start again along with fellow 22-year-olds Gabriel Torje and Vlad Chiriches. They're accented by veterans like Dorin Goian, Gabriel Tamas and Razvan Rat, along with Adrian Mutu, who will likely start the match on the bench. The team's balance between youth and experience has proved effective thus far, but they're probably up against a bit more than they can handle in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands were tested against Turkey, even though their 2-0 victory doesn't indicate as much, and they've coasted through matches against Hungary and Andorra. Louis van Gaal has experimented with his lineup since taking over as manager, but this is probably a good point for him to have figured out his best XI. Unlike previous matches, this one is unlikely to be a cakewalk.
Match date/time: Tuesday, 9 p.m. local, 2 p.m. ET
Venue: National Arena, Bucharest, Romania
TV: SBS 6 (Netherlands)
Online: ESPN3 (U.S.)