Orange is fighting again in the extremis for victory over Wales

22:35 – The Dutch national team has completed the first part of the group stage in the Nations League excellently. National coach Louis van Gaal’s team was 3-2 too strong for Wales on Tuesday night. Once again, the orange squad had to go deep, and the winning goal only fell deep in stoppage time.


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Van Gaal changed his line-up again in a number of places. Jasper Cillessen was now allowed to start under the crossbar again, after he had to miss Saturday’s match against Poland with a minor injury. At the back was a base spot for Bruno Martin’s Indi, who was allowed to kick off the Dutch national team for the first time since 2017 (5-0 against Ivory Coast under interim national coach Fred Grim). Martin’s Indi formed center with Jordan Teze and Mathijs de Ligt, who also wore the captaincy. The back seats were occupied by Hans Hateboer on the right and Tyrell Malacia on the left just like last week in the away game against the same Wales.

In midfield, Frenkie de Jong was now allowed to start again alongside Teun Koopmeiners, and in front, Noa Lang and Cody Gakpo flanked the big surprise of this international period, Vincent Janssen. The Monterrey striker was also last allowed to participate in Orange in 2017, where Sweden was defeated 2-0 by two goals Arjen Robben, who then played his last international. Thereafter, the newlywed Janssen disappeared from the Dutch public via Tottenham Hotspur, Fenerbahce and now Monterrey, until Van Gaal suddenly brought him back to Orange and eventually also played against Wales.

The Welsh played a credit-worthy 1-1 draw against Belgium on Saturday, but are still bottom of Group Four in the Nations League with just a single point from three matches. Earlier this month, Rob Pages’ team qualified for the World Cup in Qatar via the playoffs. Compared to the previous match with Orange, the return of first goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was particularly striking. Also caused by a series of injuries, the midfield was completely toppled by Page.

The Orange started the match well in the well-filled Kuip, although it only came close to the Welsh goal in the first fifteen minutes. Janssen tried, but produced a disappointing roll on his first attempt, which went far beyond. But Janssen got better into the match after that and also had a part in the opening goal, by playing in the sometimes intangible Lang. The Club Brugge striker cleverly turned away from Welsh center-backs Rodon and Mepham, after which he convincingly shot 1-0 behind Hennessey. Barely five minutes later, Burnley’s goalkeeper had to fish again when Cody Gakpo got up.

The PSV player saw his first shot blocked after a good move, but with a little luck got the ball in front of his feet again and shot 2-0 in with the right. Until then, Wales had shown a bit offensively, but from the first counter-attack it was hit. Teze lost the ball clumsily in midfield, after which Brennan Johnson went after De Ligt. He ran backwards and was unlucky that Johnson’s shot went in between his legs through the far post behind Cillessen. The orange game then lost some persuasiveness, although it was often in possession of the ball. Janssen made a much better second attempt when Hennessey just shot a goal kick into his feet, but this ball also went past, and then with a deserved 2-01 lead, the locker room was searched before the break.

With Stefan de Vrij and Denzel Dumfries for Hateboer and Teze, Orange started the other company energetically. Hennessey was forced to make several saves in the first fifteen minutes, but was able to fend off shots from Koopmeiners and Gakpo. Moments later, the closing post was lucky that Janssen just could not control a split pass from Koopmeiners through the middle. With twenty minutes left, Janssen again had the opportunity to spice up his return with a goal, but Hennessey once again had the answer to his curly shot against the far post.

It was Janssen’s last move, which was facilitated by Memphis Depay, and Lang also went to the side in favor of Steven Bergwijn. Wales brought the well-known names with Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, but did not work near Cillessen. Until the break, when Malacia ran into substitute Connor Roberts in the back and to his horror cashed in a penalty kick. Bale made no mistake and the Orange seemed to lose points again. But it was beyond Memphis. The first attack after the equalizer ended for his feet via Dumfries and Bergwijn, and he made no mistake from close range: 3-2.

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