The Netherlands team have continued their winning run against Scotland, in their one but last match of the year. Playing in Aberdeen on Thursday, Dick Advocaat’s men beat the home side 1-0, through a Memphis goal five minutes before the half-time break. On Tuesday, the Dutch will take on Romania, in another friendly.
The match at Pittodrie was between two nations who would have preferred to meet at a higher stage. Both the Netherlands and Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup playoffs, ending third in their respective groups. For the Netherlands, the encounter in Scotland was the first of two friendlies to end the year.
As many key players - including strikers Vincent Janssen and Bas Dost - had dropped out of the Netherlands squad due to injury trouble, Dick Advocaat decided to put winger Ryan Babel in central attacking position. But it was from the flanks that Babel presented most danger. Scotland had gained the upper hand during much of the first half, when the Netherlands went on a counter, and Babel sent a sharp cross for Memphis Depay, on the edge of offside position, to tap in from close range.
Showing more aggression after the break, the Scots wreaked havoc in front of the Dutch goal, testing the visitors’ creaky defence. Substitute Ryan Fraser gave himself the best chance of the match after an impressive rush hardly one minute after coming on the pitch. Despite a flurry of chances in the final few minutes, Malky Mackay’s side failed to score the equaliser.
For the Netherlands, this was the fourth victory in a row, following wins over Bulgaria, Belarus and Sweden, the best series since 2014. For manager Dick Advocaat, it was the 36th victory under his stewartship, bringing him on a par with Bob Glendenning. Another Dutch win this coming Tuesday would put Advocaat firmly in the lead.
Scotland: Gordon, Jack, Berra (45. Mulgrewat), Tierney, Robertson, McLean, McGinn, Forrest (71. Fraserat), McGregor (87. Cummingsat), Christie, Phillips.
Netherlands: Cillessen; Fosu-Mensah (71. Veltman), Van Dijk, Rekik, Aké, Blind, Wijnaldum, Strootman, Memphis, Babel, Promes (76. Berghuis).