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Netherlands revive 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign with Latvia win

The Netherlands beat Latvia 2-0.
The Netherlands beat Latvia 2-0.
ANALYST
Modified 28 Mar 2021
Feature

The Netherlands returned to winning ways in the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers after cruising to a 2-0 win against Latvia at the Johan Cryuff Arena on Saturday.

Frank de Boer’s side had lost to Turkey in their first qualifier after a disappointing performance. The 4-2 defeat to Turkey increased the pressure on De Boer, who has impressed in the Oranje dugout.

After failing to qualify for the 2018 edition of the tournament, Netherlands are currently in rebuilding, but a lot is still expected of them. They also missed out on Euro 2016, so it would be disastrous for the Netherlands to miss out on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Netherlands produce an improved performance against Latvia

De Boer’s side made a poor start to their World Cup qualifying campaign when they lost to Turkey, but they recovered superbly to beat Latvia at home.

Goals either side of the half-time interval from Steven Berghuis and Luuk de Jong helped secure an important win for the Netherlands. Aside from the result, their performance was impeccable.

The Oranje completely dominated their opponents and created several chances. They enjoyed 76% of possession and ended the game with a whopping 37 shots.

It’s been a difficult time for the Netherlands in recent years, as they have won just three of their last nine matches. However, there were a lot of positives in their performance against Latvia.

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De Boer still has a lot to prove

The Netherlands were on a revival mission from the dungeons of international football when Ronald Koeman was in charge. Koeman’s departure to Barcelona last summer has, however, derailed the Netherlands' rebuilding process.

De Boer hasn’t been able to get the best out of the squad just yet and, despite Saturday’s win against Latvia, he still has a lot to prove.

His man-management and tactical nous have been questioned. And it doesn’t help that he had an altercation with Georginio Wijnaldum when he substituted the Liverpool midfielder against Latvia.

The incident smacks of a coach who doesn’t have control over the dressing room, and these are issues that need to be sorted out if he’s going to be successful as the Netherlands boss.

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“From left to right and through the middle, we’ve tried everything. You have to reward yourself with at least five goals,” he said after the win over Latvia, as quoted by Football Oranje. In that respect it has been a frustrating evening. We know that the goal difference can play an important role in qualifying. We continuously kept the pace very high; every attack was dangerous and threatening. I am satisfied with the way we won.”

The Netherlands may have beaten Latvia, but they are three points behind Turkey and Montenegro in Group G of their World Cup qualifying group. They have work to do to qualify for the quadrennial tournament.

Published 28 Mar 2021, 21:59 IST
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