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Netherlands 3-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina: 5 Talking Points as Wijnaldum brace headlines easy Dutch win | UEFA Nations League 2020-21

The Netherlands beat Bosnia and Herzegovina comfortably
The Netherlands beat Bosnia and Herzegovina comfortably
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Modified 16 Nov 2020, 03:24 IST
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The Netherlands beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-1 at the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam on Sunday evening, with skipper Gini Wijnaldum's quickfire first-half brace setting the tone for Frank de Boer's first win in charge of the Dutch.

After their 1-1 draw in a friendly against Spain in the week, de Boer had become the first-ever head coach of the Dutch national team to go winless in his first four games, so this is a monkey off his back.

Memphis Depay was central to a sensational attacking performance from the Dutch. Two Depay passes opened up the Bosnians in the 6th and 13th minutes, for Denzel Dumfries and Steven Berghuis to set up two easy tap-ins to Wijnaldum.

Luuk de Jong had a perfectly good goal ruled out when the assistant referee wrongly ruled him offside despite him being behind the ball when Berghuis passed the ball to him.

In the second half, Dumfries got himself a second assist of the game, after bundling his way past Sead Kolasinac and setting up a tap-in for Depay.

Smail Prevljak pulled a goal back for Bosnia and Herzegovina with his first touch after coming on as a substitute, after being set up by Edin Visca.

The Dutch held on with no further scares, and set up a blockbuster final group game when they travel to Poland.

Here are five main talking points from a big win for the Netherlands.


#1 Memphis Depay is the game-changer

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Netherlands v Bosnia-Herzegovina - UEFA Nations League
Netherlands v Bosnia-Herzegovina - UEFA Nations League

In the friendly against Spain in the week, Memphis was one of the weakest players on the pitch for Dutch. He struggled to keep possession, his dribbling was far from his best, and he couldn't influence that game at all.

But in this game, Depay looked like he was back to his best. Starting on the left wing, he had a lot more license to drift in-field, and constantly swapped positions with either Wijnaldum or Frenkie de Jong.

The freedom to drift across the pitch made Depay a lot harder for the Bosnian defenders to pick up. The first two goals for the Dutch exemplified the problems that Depay was caused.

For the first goal, he found himself in the inside-right channel, and slid in a superb through-ball to Dumfries, who squared it for Wijnaldum to score.

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For the second goal, Depay was wide on the left flank when he received the ball from Frenkie de Jong. He used Owen Wijndal's overlapping run as a decoy to whip in a ball to Berghuis at the back-post, for him to head it into Wijnaldum's path.

Depay's sensational night got the goal it deserved when Dumfries put one on a plate for him.


#2 Gini Wijnaldum displays his versatility again

Netherlands v Bosnia-Herzegovina - UEFA Nations League
Netherlands v Bosnia-Herzegovina - UEFA Nations League

A lot of eyebrows were raised when de Boer named his lineup sans Donny van de Beek for this game. The Manchester United man had scored the only two goals in the de Boer era before this game, so there were valid questions asked about van de Beek's axing.

Davy Klaasen came into the side in place of van de Beek, and that allowed the stand-in Dutch captain Gini Wijnaldum to play in an advanced midfield role.

With Luuk de Jong's strengths lying in his hold-up play and aerial ability, Wijnaldum took up the responsibility of running behind the Bosnian defensive line, and his movement wrecked havoc.

Bosnia and Herzegovina were guilty of providing the Dutch with too much space in midfield to pick their passes. Frenkie de Jong and Depay continually drifted between the lines, to start attacks for the Dutch.

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In the last two games, Wijnaldum played a deeper role in midfield, a lot more defensive and focused on stopping counter-attacks. It was a role similar to the one he generally plays for Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

But in this game, de Boer gave him the license to attack and he responded in kind. The stand-in skipper has now scored seven of the last 12 goals the Netherlands have scored.

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Published 16 Nov 2020, 03:24 IST
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