Dutch Relief After Avenging 2018 Failure with World Cup Qualification

Dutch Relief After Avenging 2018 Failure with World Cup Qualification Photo: TT
Netherlands' forward Steven Bergwijn (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying round Group G football match between Netherlands and Norway

A wheelchair-bound Louis van Gaal breathed a major sigh of relief as the Netherlands avenged their 2018 failures as they clinched their 2022 World Cup spot with a 2-0 home win over Norway on Tuesday.

Steven Bergwijn and Memphis Depay netted in the final 10 minutes to book Oranje’s spot in Qatar, having failed to qualify four years earlier.

Van Gaal admitted he thought the side may have blown their shot at automatic qualification after conceding two late goals to draw 2-2 with Montenegro on the weekend.

“The mood was a bit down the day after [the draw with] Montenegro, then I was afraid that it might go completely wrong,” Van Gaal told NOS Journaal, having been forced to watch the game from the stands after injuring his hip in a cycling accident.

“But all in all it was a fantastic week despite everything. We got to know each other through lows and highs.

“We scored two goals today, and Jasper Cillessen kept a clean sheet. We dominated and controlled the game for 90 minutes. Norway may have had half a chance.”

Norway, led by young superstar Erling Haaland, missed out on the playoffs with Turkey securing second spot in Group G with a 2-1 win at Montenegro.

Wales will enter the playoffs also after a 1-1 home draw with already-qualified Belgium, with Czech Republic beating Estonia 2-0 but also progressing to the knockouts via their Nations League results.

World champions France rounded out their unbeaten Group D campaign with a 2-0 win at Finland, which allowed Ukraine to finish second with a 2-0 win at Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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