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Physical battle in Norway ends in a draw

KNVB Media
KNVB Media
1 September, 23:15

Davy Klaassen (pictured left) levelled proceedings in the first half - Foto: KNVB Media

Louis van Gaal has started his third term as Netherlands head coach with a 1-1 draw in Norway. His team dominated much of the game, but failed to score the decider. The Oranje retain their chances of proceeding to next year’s World Cup as they remain in second place in qualifying group G.

The group leaders, Turkey, also drew on Wednesday with their opponents, Montenegro, scoring the equaliser well into stoppage time. The result in Instanbul came as a relief to the Netherlands, admitted captain Virgil van Dijk, back from a serious injury.

“But we shouldn’t have to rely on the results of our rivals, of course. We were unlucky against Norway. Erling Haaland is a wonderful player, strong and very fast, but his goal early in the game shouldn’t have happened. I guess, we were just unlucky. After the goal, we were rather restless and fortunately Davy Klaassen managed to tap in the equaliser before the break. In the second half, we created quite a few chances and perhaps, we should have won. But we didn’t and we can’t afford to spill more points in this qualifying round.”

Critical coach

Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal, who had little time to prepare for this match, was critical of his players. “There was a lack of accuracy and creativity. We kept losing the ball unnecessarily. You have to be creative against an opponent who defended with all their power and gave away little space.”

Van Gaal was full of praise for Stale Solbakken’s men: “They were fantastic, battled hard and played very well as a team. That’s what I want our players to do as well: play as a team.”

Montenegro on Saturday

The next opportunity for the Oranje will be on Saturday, when they face Montenegro in Eindhoven. Left back Daley Blind will miss that match: the Netherlands' most experienced player received his second yellow card in this qualifying campaign in Oslo and will be suspended for one game. The match in Eindhoven will kick off at 20.45. Three days later, the Netherlands will play Turkey in Amsterdam.

Ons Oranje

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