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Netherlands 2-0 Latvia: 5 talking points as Oranje pick up their first points in the World Cup Qualifiers

Netherlands 2-0 Latvia - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifiers
Netherlands 2-0 Latvia - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifiers
Shubham Dupare
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The Netherlands recorded a 2-0 win over Latvia in their FIFA World Cup qualifying fixture thanks to goals from Steven Berghuis and Luuk De Jong in either half.

There was nothing much to take away from Latvia's performance from this encounter as the hosts completely dominated the game, having managed to keep 77% of possession.

Memphis Depay looked dangerous throughout the game but was substituted off the pitch with just one minute of regular time to go and could not register himself on the scoresheet.

Davy Klaassen hit the bar in the 27th minute with a wonderful headed effort. He provided the assist for Berghuis' brilliant opener in the 32nd minute. De Jong, too, could only rattle the bar in the 40th minute with his headed effort. He eventually got his goal in the 69th minute, which was also a header.

The visitors offered little to no resistance to the Dutchmen and the closest they came to threatening Tim Krul was in the 85th minute when Andres Ciganik's effort hit the post.

It was an easy day in the office for Frank de Boer's men but they need to work on their finishing skills if they are to deliver favorable results in the World Cup qualifiers.

On that note, let us take a look at the top 5 talking points from the game.


#5 Steven Berghuis scores his first international goal for the Netherlands

Steven Berghuis scored an amazing goal tonight
Steven Berghuis scored an amazing goal tonight

The way the Netherlands kicked off proceedings in the game tonight, it was all but certain that they were going to find the back of the net. The only question was when.

The opening goal came right after the half-hour mark, with Steven Berghuis scoring a left-footed effort from the edge of the box. The first-touch finish was the Feyenoord winger's first international goal for the Netherlands.

This comes as a surprise given his incredible goal-scoring form for his club over the last few seasons and the fact that he has been part of the international setup since 2016.

He has hit double-digit figures with Feyenoord in the Eredivisie over the last four seasons, so, surprisingly, the 29-year-old had to play 23 games to score his first goal for the national side.


#4 The difference in the squad quality made the game seem like shooting practice for the Netherlands

Netherlands v Latvia - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
Netherlands v Latvia - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier

The Netherlands were relentless tonight. After a 4-2 thrashing at the hands of Turkey in the opening fixture of the campaign, they returned with a vengeance.

Their performance in front of their home fans at the Amsterdam ArenA was the embodiment of a one-sided display, in which the ball rarely went inside the Dutch half of the pitch and the visitors recorded zero shots on target.

Every time a Dutch player had a ball at his feet it only took the hosts seconds to get the ball near the Latvian penalty box. Like a shooting practice session, the players saw little to no resistance in unleashing a shot on goal.

While the hosts did not have much to show for their dominance from their game, from the 11 shots on target they scored two great goals, which were enough to secure the three points from the game.


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#3 Both teams hit the woodwork tonight as the game failed to produce goals despite plenty of chances

Netherlands v Latvia - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
Netherlands v Latvia - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier

While the game saw one-way traffic for the most part, both teams endured a bit of hard luck tonight, as the woodwork stopped them from scoring goals tonight.

The hosts hit the woodwork not once but twice in the first half itself, with headers from Davy Klaassen and Luuk De Jong hitting the bar. If any of those efforts would've gone in, it would've helped the Oranje post a positive goal difference after the game.

Chances were few and far between for Latvia, who only had 23% of the possession tonight. In total, they had just four shots tonight, with none of them on target. To add to their misery, the one good chance that they got ended up deflecting behind off the post.

All in all, it seems Lady Luck was not shining so brightly on either side tonight.


#2 Addressing the poor finishing from his attackers needs to be a key issue for Frank de Boer

Netherlands v Latvia - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
Netherlands v Latvia - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier

The Netherlands recorded a 2-0 win tonight and though it was a good result after their fall against Turkey last time around, the scoreline should've been much more arousing.

The Dutch attackers lacked precision going forward and their wastefulness was for all to see, as they ended up scoring just twice from 37 shots, with 11 on target. It was not the first time they had been wasteful in front of the goal.

In the game against Turkey, they recorded 20 shots on goal, 11 more than the winners from that game, but could not make them count. Tonight, after a wasteful first-half performance, it was expected that they'd come back stronger in the second half but the carelessness continued.


#1 Oranje welcome back fans to the stands with an unconvincing yet, much-needed win

Netherlands v Latvia - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier
Netherlands v Latvia - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier

Tonight's game marked the return of fans to the stadium for an international match for the first time since 19 November 2019. 5000 fans were allowed into the Amsterdam ArenA, but they had to follow strict protocols in the wake of COVID-19.

The game was also special because the head referee for the game was StΓ©phanie Frappart, the first woman in the 116-year history of the Netherlands men's team to lead an international match.

While the fans are sure to have enjoyed watching their national team play after such a long period, it was not a convincing win and one can only hope that the talented group of players will start producing results soon.

Edited by Rohit Mishra
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