With a good starting presence, the Dutch national team will meet on Tuesday afternoon for the last two matches of the group stage of the World Cup qualifiers. Two draws with Montenegro and Norway are enough to participate in the final round in Qatar at the end of next year.
If Norway loses points to Latvia early on Saturday evening, the orange team can qualify for the World Cup in a few hours at the Gradski Stadium in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica. Otherwise, the decision will be made next Tuesday in De Koep, when the Norwegians visit Rotterdam without injured top scorer Erling Haaland.
Orange defends its two-point lead over the Norwegians in its last two group matches. Turkey is followed by 4 points. Only the group winner qualifies directly for the World Cup. The second player gets a second chance in the playoffs, with 12 national teams vying for just three tickets. Louis van Gaal wants to avoid that match streak.
The 70-year-old national coach came close to achieving his first goal of qualifying for the World Cup. The successor to the dismissed Frank de Boer, in his words, is growing in the minds of his players. Many international players say they know where they are after the European Championship failed. The results after Van Gaal’s return were good. The guest did not lose with Norway (1-1). Then the orange beat Montenegro (4-0), Turkey (6-1), Gibraltar (6-0) and Latvia (0-1).
Van Gaal will be delighted that Georginio Wijnaldum and Davy Claassen have been given more time playing for PSG and Ajax in recent weeks. He loves to see both midfielders playing football behind Memphis Depay, who, like Frenkie de Jong, is going through tough times at Barcelona. The national coach is still weak in his wing. Stephen Burgess was injured, as was Cody Jackbo. Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld was replaced in Villarreal after 12 minutes on Sunday.
Van Gaal called up Steven Bergwijn on Monday. Noah Lang and Doniel Malin are the other two wingspans on his list. If the orange team qualifies for the World Cup next week, the national coach will likely train on a system of five defenders from the next international match. In his opinion, Orange has the best chance of succeeding in this way of playing, just as happened in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when the Netherlands finished third under him with a strong defense.
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