Netherlands defeated Belgium 1-0 in their UEFA Nations League match on Sunday. A narrow win was enough for the Oranje to seal their fifth victory in the tournament.
World Cup favourites?
Louis van Gaal has received much criticism, even from his own players, for his playing style since taking charge at Netherlands.
However, his side have rarely failed to deliver under the former Manchester United boss.
The Oranje’s unglamorous win against Belgium was a clear example of why we should consider Van Gaal’s team as one of the main favourites to win the World Cup in Qatar.
The game started with both sides trying to control the possession, with Belgium getting the bigger share of the chances.
However, the Red Devils failed to convert their chances as Netherlands showed impressive defensive stability.
The Oranje looked much improved as soon as the second period started. Van Gaal’s side created several chances on counter-attacks, but their goal came through a corner.
Following a precise cross from Cody Gakpo, Van Dijk flew above the Belgian defenders before smashing the ball home with a precise header.
Belgium pushed hard to get back into the game in the final ten minutes but had to settle for the narrow defeat.
Netherlands: Pasveer (8); Timber (7), Van Dijk (8), Ake (6); Dumfries (7), Berghuis (6), De Roon (6), Klaasen (6), Blind (8); Janssen (6), Bergwijn (5).
Bench: De Vrij (6), Malacia (6), Gakpo (8), Taylor (5), Gravenberch (-).
Belgium: Courtois (7); Debast (6), Alderweireld (7), Vertonghen (6); Meunier (5), Onana (7), Witsel (6), Castagne (5); E. Hazard (7), Batshuayi (6), De Bruyne (8).
Bench: Tielemans (6), Carrasco (6), De Ketelaere (5), Trossard (6), Lukebakio (7).