Oranje ties Norway in Oslo; Should have been a win says Van Dijk
Louis van Gaal was unable to celebrate his return to the Dutch men's national football team with a victory. Frank de Boer's successor did not see his team get any further than a draw (1-1) in the away match against Norway.
The Dutch should have beaten Norway in the qualification for the world title fight, said defender Virgil van Dijk in a first reaction to the NOS, after the 1-1 draw in Oslo. "We had the opportunities. It is a pity that it did not work out. Of course it is beneficial that Turkey also missed points, but we as Oranje should not be dependent on others."
Oranje did not fall further behind Turkey, the leader of their World Cup qualification group, that gave up a 2-0 lead against Montenegro (2-2). Turkey holds a one point lead over the Netherlands and Norway, and will come to the Johan Cruijff ArenA on Tuesday.
"If so many players indicate that they want to play football in this way, who am I to do it differently," Van Gaal said just before kick-off when justifying his choice for a playing style with four defenders and three attackers. The national coach is not opposed to a tactic with five defenders, but believes that you should practice the strategy for a long time. In the run-up to the duel with the Norwegians, Van Gaal did not go further than one full team training.
Still, the Oranje squad looked different from the team that was eliminated by the Czech Republic at the European Championship more than two months ago, which was managed by Frank de Boer. Frenkie de Jong played a central role in midfield. There were also guaranteed spots for Jurriën Timber and Cody Gakpo, after a good start to the season at Ajax and PSV respectively.
Justin Bijlow made his debut with the national team. Feyenoord's goalkeeper was scored on in the 20th minute by Erling Haaland (1-0). Gakpo bears responsibility for that: The winger could have put the Norwegian striker offsides if he had paid attention.
Van Dijk admitted that it was difficult to stop Haaland, the Norwegian striker. "He is indeed very dangerous," said Van Dijk. "But the goal he scored should never have happened. Yes, Cody Gakpo was left behind when we stepped forward to make sure Haaland was offside. That shouldn't happen."
Gakpo also almost gave the Oranje the lead in the opening with a dangerous header and a nice shot.
Norway's tactics were simple. The home team tried to defend compactly and get the ball to Haaland with long passes. The Oranje squad tied the score just before half-time due to a player who received zero playing minutes at the European Championship: Davy Klaassen was, as has often been the case, in the right place at the right time to receive a sharp pass from Georginio Wijnaldum (1-1).
Berghuis did not play his best international match. He was left behind in the dressing room after the break and was replaced by Donyell Malen, who nearly brought the score to 1-2 early after entering. But Oranje also escaped when Haaland hit the post after a quick counter. The Norwegians got the best chance of the second half and not the Netherlands, despite the Dutch maintaining possession for much of the half. Van Gaal could apparently live with a draw and decided not to bring on an extra attacker, Wout Weghorst, in the final phase.
"We still managed to play out opportunities. After [the score became] 1-1 it was not necessary to take more risks. The opportunities did come. Unfortunately, we did not take advantage of them," said Van Dijk.
Reporting by ANP.