The Dutch national team (v) has strengthened its leading position in the Nations League. In Glasgow, the Dutch team recorded a meager 1-0 win over Scotland. A world-class goal by Esmee Brugts in the 60th minute gave the Netherlands three very important points in the battle for group victory.
Immediately after the poor match in Glasgow, surprising news filtered through from Leuven. There it turned out that England had stumbled over Belgium (3-2), with the result that the Netherlands is now three points clear of Sarina Wiegman’s team. Belgium is now number two in the group, with two points less than the Netherlands. The decisive confrontations for the Dutch team will follow in December: the away match against England and the final home match against Belgium. Only the group winner will qualify for the Nations League Finals in February 2024, where two Olympic tickets can ultimately be earned.
Advantage or pitfall
But first back to Glasgow. There, the Dutch team did what it had to do, namely collect three points. A solid win, nothing more, nothing less. With Scotland, the women met the same opponent for the second time in five days. At the highest international level. An advantage or a pitfall? Of course, that question could only be answered in retrospect, after 90 disappointing minutes at the iconic but moderately filled Hampden Park. Only a few thousand supporters of the Tartan Army had come to Glasgow for this fourth round of the UEFA Women’s Nations League.
National coach Andries Jonker expected in advance an opponent who would resist with more aggression and punching power. More than over Friday in Nijmegen was the case when the Dutch team scored the three points relatively easily (4-0). After all, the bottom of group A1 had to get a result to avoid relegation to League B. Jonker asked for more accuracy from his own team. Cleaning up sloppiness in ball possession, as the 61-year-old national coach described it. That would minimize the Scottish danger and at the same time provide more tempo in the attacking game. Then Oranje’s creativity will be expressed, or so the theory went.
Martens kicked out of the match
And that was exactly what didn’t go well in the mediocre first half. The fit again Victoria Pelova appeared as a wingback on the right flank in the starting line-up instead of Renate Jansen. It was the only change in the Dutch line-up Scotland part I, last Friday. In terms of football Scotland part II look very different. The Dutch team immediately took control, but had difficulty finding the rhythm.
The first half was not good, but with a little more luck, the Netherlands could have been on a safe margin before half time. Post and bar prevented that. Jill Roord shot the post from the edge of the box in the 27th minute, after which Sherida Spitse almost surprised the Scottish keeper four minutes later by firing a free kick straight on target from a difficult angle. The ball ended up on the crossbar via the fists of goalkeeper MacIver. Not much later, Lieke Martens had to abandon the fight. She was unable to continue playing after a ferocious tackle from Howard who escaped with a yellow card. Damaris Egurrola came on as a replacement.
After the break, little changed in the game image. The ball belonged to the Dutch team, which patiently continued to look for openings in the Scottish defense. In the 48th minute, Roord was close to scoring again, but she headed wide from a free position. After an hour of playing, the ban was finally broken. A brilliant move from Brugts who moved in from the sideline, showed Evans her heels and from about 20 meters decided to look for the far corner. This time the aluminum Orange was in favor, because the ball ended up in the goal via the post: 0-1.
What followed was a period of prolonged ball possession in which the Netherlands were able to move the ball smoothly. Scotland was tired and unable to get anywhere near Daphne van Domselaar. It was not until the 80th minute that the first Scottish goal attempt of the match was scored. The Dutch team itself had a few more opportunities for the second goal. Two shots from Roord had a good chance, but Lineth Beerensteyn’s effort in the 76th minute in particular deserved better. Once again the pole was an obstacle. On the other side, Van Domselaar was in a good position during extra time with a bet from Howard.
Everything in your own hands
So 0-1. A meager victory, but with two victories over Scotland, the Dutch team has more than survived the month of October. The leading position in group A1 has been strengthened and that is a nice thing in view of the decisive phase of the Nations League. Belgium has now also registered for this. The battle for victory in group A1 is completely open, although the Netherlands has everything in its own hands.
The football world is already eagerly awaiting the… clash with England, on Friday December 1 at Wembley. More than 60,000 tickets have now been sold for that international match in the London football temple. The Dutch team concludes the group stage of the Nations League on Tuesday, December 5, with a home match against Belgium. This international match in Tilburg is sold out.
The post first appeared on www.onsoranje.nl