Thomas Siniecki, Media365: published on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at 10:59 a.m.
All or nothing. This is what awaits the Netherlands on Tuesday, to close the qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup. A victory or a draw, and the Dutch will validate their ticket for Qatar, while a defeat would risk depriving them of dams.
While Portugal and Italy both had quite a setback, the two great nations knew at least that they weren’t risking outright elimination from the World Cup, with the prospect of being able to make up for it in dams (which will therefore happen in March). But for the Netherlands, it is indeed a chopper match that arises on Tuesday night against Norway. Fortunately for the Oranje, the visitors will be deprived of Erling Haaland, injured, and will therefore be far from favorites. But as we saw again Monday evening with Italy in Northern Ireland (0-0), the surprise is obviously possible, especially in such a tense context.
Van Dijk: « I thought nothing could happen to us »
The Dutch will face a very simple equation: if they don’t lose, they will finish first in their group. If they bow, they can on the other hand finish third, doubled by Norway but also Turkey (both two points) if the latter wins on the ground of a weaker and demobilized Montenegro. Except if they record a worse result than the Norwegians in Rotterdam, which is not the lowest odds, the Turks are at least some of the dams, which should take some stress away from them.
« We missed a very big opportunity, but we are still in the best position », recalls Louis van Gaal, while his men were incredibly joined from 0-2 to 2-2 on Saturday in Montenegro. The coach admits all the same that it was « inexplicable ». Virgil van Dijk is even more frank: « I thought that nothing could happen to us, that the qualification was acquired. We also have to know how to defend, we have to win this match. » The catching-up must be immediate, even if a draw would therefore be enough again for the happiness of the Netherlands. Last important clarification: the meeting will be behind closed doors (because of the return of the Covid measures), which will not necessarily be an evil to take the pressure off.