A 2-0 victory against Norway helped the Netherlands to earn their place in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The defeat means that Norway will only finish third in the group, and will not be featuring in Qatar next year.
The victory against Norway puts the Netherlands at the top of Group G, offering the direct qualification. Turkey finished second in the group and will now go to the play-off to fight for a spot in next years main event.
The Netherlands could not qualify for the 2018 World Cup and interestingly their new manager Louis Van Gaal is the same manager that took them to the semi-final of the 2014 World Cup. The knockout of Norway on the other hand means that Erling Haaland will not be featuring in the World Cup in Qatar.
NETHERLANDS 2- 0 NORWAY: TEAM NEWS
After a 2-2 draw away from home against Montenegro, the Netherlands made multiple changes to their starting eleven. Goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen returned in place of Justin Bijlow, while Stefan de Vrij was replaced by Matthijs de Ligt.
Midfield remained the same for the Oranjes and in attack, Steven Bergwijn started in place of Donyell Malen. Manager Louis Van Gaal was also not on the sideline as he suffered a hip injury.
For Norway, after their frustrating draw with Latvia, the team made a couple of changes. Marius Lode in defence and Kristian Thorstvedt in the attack was replaced by Andreas Hanche-Olsen and Ola Solbakken respectively. Norwegian was also without their superstar Erling Haaland, who is recovering from an injury.
POST MATCH ANALYSIS
There was an excellent build-up before the match as the stakes were high for both nations. For the Netherlands, they could not afford to lose while for Norway a victory was essential for any chance of qualification. But it was the hosts who started the game with more conviction.
The Netherlands, lead in the attack by Memphis Depay, made many half chances. But it took until the final ten minutes of the match before the deadlock was broken. An excellent finish from Bergwijn from the right gave the Oranjes relief as they were close to direct qualification.
Though Norway tried to attack, they lacked the quality upfront to upset the opposition defence. A final corner won by Norway saw their players pile for the attack, only for the Netherlands to win the ball and launch a quick attack. Bergwijn this time became the provider assisting Depay for his 12th goal of the qualification campaign.
For the Netherlands, it is a return to the World Cup after failing to qualify for the last one. The side is decent with enough balance across the field. It is also important to note that the World Cup will be the first-ever major tournament for captain Virgil van Dijk with his nation, after missing out on the Euro 2020 due to an injury.
As for Norway, it will be bitter pill to swallow. The side is talented with the likes of Erling Haaland and Martin Odegaard in the team. One could say the injury to Haaland did affect the results of the team, especially against a team like Latvia. But that is football and these incredible players will now have to wait for more to finally take part in an international tournament with their nation.
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