Netherlands – Wales: 3-2
The Netherlands are insatiable. This Tuesday evening, the Oranje snatched the victory against Wales (3-2), during the fourth day of League A of the League of Nations. At De Kuip in Rotterdam, the Welsh had however equalized, at the very end of the game, thanks to a penalty scored by Gareth Bale (90th + 2), after a first goal from Brennan Johnson (26th), but Memphis Depay arose to give back the advantage to his own (90th + 3), while the Dutch had quickly broken, thanks to Noa Lang (17th) and Cody Gakpo (23rd). In the Group 4 standings, Louis van Gaal’s men consolidate their leading position, with ten units, while Rob Page’s proteges remain last, with just one small point.
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He is the new second top scorer in Dutch history. With 42 achievements, Memphis Depay joins Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in this position, in a ranking still dominated by Robin Van Persie. Above all, the Barcelonian, who entered during the game, pulled his people out of a very bad step, giving them the advantage (3-2, 90th + 3), on the commitment that followed the equalization on penalty of Gareth Bale (2-2, 90th+2). Even though Louis van Gaal had made ten changes at kick-off, it didn’t seem to bother the Netherlands.
And for good reason, the Oranje managed to asphyxiate their opponent from the start, also confiscating the ball (60% possession). A large domination very quickly rewarded, under the impetus in particular of a Noa Lang in all the right moves. After a first attempt on target (14th), the 22-year-old striker ended up finding the fault, for his very first goal in selection (17th, 1-0). At his side, Cody Gakpo then did not wait long before taking the break, in two stages (23rd, 2-0), before trying to shine again in the second act (49th). Wayne Hennessey also had to intervene in front of Hans Hateboer (44th) or even Vincent Janssen (69th).
The Welsh were not that far behind on the scoreboard, Brennan Johnson having quickly closed the gap (26th, 2-1). Johnson (58th) or even Harry Wilson (72nd) also heated the gloves of Jasper Cillessen, but without success. Until that crazy extra time. On arrival, the Netherlands continue with a thirteenth consecutive match without defeat. What a good vacation.
Poland – Belgium: 0-1
It was laborious, but Belgium left Poland with the three points of victory (1-0). Michy Batshuayi, who had not participated in the offensive festival of the first leg (6-1), scored the only goal of the evening, and that’s about all we will remember from the performance of the Devils Reds. Which, with seven points on the clock, remain in contact with the Netherlands (10 pts), which they will find on September 22 during the final day of the League of Nations.
Amputated from the spine of his team in the absence of Thibaut Courtois, Kevin de Bruyne or even Romelu Lukaku, Roberto Martinez lined up an experimental XI which did not really convince, Tuesday evening, against a Poland short of imagination. Worse, despite a glaring superiority, his men played with fire at the end of the match and could have been joined on two attempts by Karol Swiderski, the first outing under the bar by Simon Mignolet (86th), the second diverted by the post ( 89th).
The only shots on target by the White Eagles … The lesson received in Wales, with an equalizer in the last minutes, was obviously not learned. Fortunately for the Belgians, Robert Lewandowski did not weigh in the meeting. No more than Eden Hazard. But the latter is lucky to have teammates capable of taking the torch on a bad night.
This is how Jan Vertonghen, twice, left his central defense and carried the ball to the other end of the field to breathe a dynamism that we have seen too little in Warsaw. In the end, Batshuayi’s 25th international goal offered an important success to Belgium and the defense of the Flat country, still generous with the opponent, did not give in. It’s rare enough to be underlined: it’s only happened three times in the last 11 matches. It will be necessary to succeed in playing complete scores in September to join the Final Four of the League of Nations and give guarantees before the launch of the World Cup…
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