Netherlands – Belgium: Netherlands Emerge Victorious In Cagey Affair (1-0)
Despite a close first half, it was the Dutch who came out on top at the Johan Cruijff ArenA. Belgium's defense became increasingly stretched in the second half, while their forwards struggled to find space past a well-organized Netherlands outfit. As a result, the Dutch advance to the Nations League finals to be held next year.
Tactical analysis and match report by Rahul Madhavan.
The penultimate game of the League A, Group 4 tussle between the two neighbors certainly had huge stakes, with the Netherlands just needing one point to make their second appearance in the competition’s finals. The reverse fixture in Brussels was a rewarding one for Louis Van Gaal’s men, as his team completely dominated the game and ran riot with a 4-1 scoreline. Belgium, meanwhile, had to defeat their opponents by a margin of three goals or more to progress to the next round due to the head-to-head rule in the Nations League.
Van Gaal’s return to the national team has been picture-perfect with nine wins, three draws, and no defeats to his name. This game also saw Thierry Henry making his debut on the touchline as the Belgium boss, as Roberto Martínez was suspended after receiving a red card against Wales. However, as the 2022 FIFA World Cup draws closer, both managers undoubtedly had the bigger picture looming in their minds.
Injuries to key players, including Memphis Depay, Frenkie de Jong, and Teun Koopmeiners meant that the Dutch manager was forced to make changes to his in-form squad. The back five, nevertheless, remained the same from the last game with Virgil van . . .