Three Premier League goalkeepers are set to go into battle as they look to secure a place in Holland's 2014 World Cup squ
Maarten Stekelenburg (Fulham), Michel Vorm (Swansea) and Tim Krul (Newcastle) are all fighting to catch Louis van Gaal's attention as the World Cup looms ever nearer. The latest squad for friendlies against Japan and Colombia makes for bad reading for Vorm, with Ajax's Jasper Cillessen getting the nod over the former Utrecht stopper.
The friendlies may just be used as an opportunity to test some players out, but whilst Vorm made the preliminary squad for these fixtures, PSV's 22 year old goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet is also breathing down his neck.
Stekelenburg has been the long-term shot stopper for Holland, and with 54 caps to his name, is generally a trusted figure between the sticks. However, a poor showing at the European Championship in 2012 had people calling for a replacement, and has struggled to impress van Gaal since. His spell in Serie A with Roma was also underwhelming, which led to his £4.5m summer transfer to Fulham, where he has struggled with injuries. It's fair to say that the former Ajax man needs a strong second half of the season if he is to play himself back into contention.
Meanwhile, Newcastle's Tim Krul is coming off the back of one of the finest Premier League goalkeeping displays in recent memory, making 14 saves – most of them spectacular – to hand the Magpies an unlikely 1-0 win. Krul got the nod in van Gaal's first competitive fixture against Turkey in September 2012, and at just 25 years old, looks to be the future of goalkeeping for the national team. With displays like the one on Sunday, Krul will hold onto the #1 jersey for a long time yet.
Finally, Vorm has been axed from the squad in favour of in form Cillessen, and with his club side Swansea having an indifferent start to the season, Vorm is another keeper who needs to rediscover his form ahead of the tournament. Krul has almost certainly passed him in the pecking order right now, and with youngsters Cillessen and Zoet emerging, Vorm may find himself sat at home watching the Oranje on TV, rather than making an impact on the field.
It may seem knee-jerk after his incredible display on Sunday, but with Stekelenburg and Vorm both looking to rediscover their form, and Cillessen and Zoet untested at international level, Krul appears to have a great chance of earning the #1 jersey ahead of next summer. Alan Pardew believes Krul is one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, and a strong showing at the World Cup could just prove that.