The Dutch national team has booked a meager 0-1 victory on a visit to Latvia. The team of national coach Louis van Gaal is the leader in Group G, because Turkey – Norway ended in a 1-1 draw.
Van Gaal took on the Latvians with Guus Til replacing the suspended Georginio Wijnaldum. Again Matthijs de Ligt was passed in favor of Stefan de Vrij. The vanguard consisted of Cody Gakpo, Memphis Depay and Steven Berghuis.
The Netherlands could have taken the lead early on in Latvia’s Daugava stadium. After an action by Davy Klaassen, Memphis got the first chance and Klaassen could have succeeded himself afterwards. As expected, there was no intention to attack and all players were defending in their own half. Still, it didn’t take long for the Netherlands to take the lead. Klaassen took a corner from Memphis on the shoe and shot in the 0-1.
Van Gaal and co. really lucky that Latvia did not equalize immediately afterwards. After some uncertain moments at the back of the Netherlands, Cambuur striker Roberts Uldrikis twice had the opportunity to level his team. There were plenty of opportunities to strengthen the score from the Netherlands, but there were no more goals.
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As the second half progressed, the level dropped further. Van Gaal made an offensive change and awarded Noa Lang his debut after an hour of play. He came before Berghuis and Til had to make way for Ryan Gravenberch. Orange’s greatest danger came from Memphis, who was unhappy a few times. Van Gaal did not and also brought in ‘plan B’ Wout Weghorst.
The ball was not in it for the Netherlands. It had plenty of opportunities for the liberating goal, but also had to hope in the back that the ball didn’t fall well for Latvia. All’s well that ends well: the Netherlands made and is the leader of Group G.
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