Frenkie de Jong and Steven Berghuis stood out as Netherlands claimed their first win of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers, beating Latvia 2-0 on Saturday.
Netherlands were utterly dominant from the word go, creating wave after wave of attacking moves only to be left dismayed for the most part, thanks to some woeful finishing and the exploits of Latvia goalkeeper Roberts Ozols. The deadlock was finally broken just past the half-hour mark when Steven Berghuis produced a fine finish to score his first international goal.
Heading into half-time, though, Netherlands had already aimed over a dozen shots at goal and would have felt they could have done better. The story post the interval, however, was similar until Luuk de Jong scored midway through the second half to put the game to bed. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Frank de Boer’s men.
Tim Krul: 6/10
Had more work to do with his feet than with his gloves and Krul completed each of his 16 attempted passes. Made one save late on to ensure he kept his clean sheet.
Denzel Dumfries: 6/10
Favoured over Kenny Tete, Dumfries was an improvement on the Fulham man, but he, too, needs to do better. The 24-year-old was almost entirely camped in the Latvia half but could never find the intended target with his crosses. Has to improve his output, but was solid enough in the defensive duties higher up the pitch.
Matthijs de Ligt: 7/10
A colossal display by de Ligt, who was so solid that Krul barely had to break a sweat. The youngster won as many as 10 duels, most of which were in the air, where he was imperious. An early block meant Netherlands remained comfortable for much of the game post that scare.
Daley Blind: 6/10
A decent enough display by Blind, who ended the night with the captain’s armband. Saw the ball more often than any other player and utilised it smartly, completing 93 percent of his attempted passes (111/120). His lack of pace did give some impetus for Latvia to pounce, but Blind remained solid enough.
Owen Wijndal: 7/10
Much better as compared to three days ago, when he just could not manage to make an outlet of himself in the final third. This time around, there were a lot more deliveries flying into the Latvia box, although half of his crosses did not even reach the intended target. Did play a few key passes, though, including one that nearly saw Luuk de Jong score. Solid at the back.
Frenkie de Jong: 8/10
Frenkie starting the move for that goal in typical Frenkie fashion. Can't get near him when he starts running with the ball. pic.twitter.com/G8mRT7MmxK
— Marc Geschwind (@MarcGeschwind) March 27, 2021
Much like quite a few of his teammates, this was a much-improved showing by Frenkie de Jong, who pulled the strings effortlessly in the middle of the park. In typical fashion, he completed 90 percent of his passes while even creating 4 chances and also playing a key role in the build-up to the goal that Steven Berghuis scored. Completed each of his take-on attempts and won 7 duels as well.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 6/10
While many Netherlands players stepped up after the horror showing against Turkey, Wijnaldum was more of the same, although he did get involved quite a bit. The skipper aimed as many as 4 shots on goal as well, but his finishing left a lot to be desired. Played 3 key passes, though, in what was the only major positive in his display.
Steven Berghuis: 8/10
A far better performance by Berghuis than the one earlier in the week, as he was a constant menace for the Latvia defence. Did not aim too many shots at goal, but when he did, it was on target and what a finish it was for his maiden Netherlands goal. Played as many as 4 key passes as well in what was a top-class display.
WHAT. A. GOAL!
— European Qualifiers (@EURO2020) March 27, 2021
Davy Klaassen: 6/10
After making an instant impact off the bench against Turkey, Klaassen was unsurprisingly back in the starting lineup. However, this time around, he did not get as involved as he would have liked, even though he did aim half-a-dozen shots at goal. Did play a couple of key passes, however.
Memphis Depay: 7/10
Depay cut an exasperated figure for the most part on Saturday, after having aimed nearly a third of the shots that Netherlands produced against Latvia. The 27-year-old, though, was at his creative best as well, playing a game-high 7 key passes while also grabbing the assist for Luuk de Jong’s goal. Will hope to find the back of the net himself next time out.
Luuk de Jong: 6/10
A frustrating evening for the most part for Luuk de Jong, who aimed plenty of shots at goal against Latvia. Should have buried at least a couple of the six shots he hit before finally finding the back of the net in the second half. The big positive is that he was getting into good areas, but he needs to convert better if he is to continue keeping Wout Weghorst out of the Netherlands squad.
Donny van de Beek: N/A
On for Wijnaldum, van de Beek got just 8 touches on the ball, although he did muster up a shot that went wide.
Ryan Gravenberch: N/A
Replaced Klaassen to make his second appearance for Netherlands. Did not have enough time to make an impact.
Ryan Babel: N/A
On for Luuk de Jong, Babel barely got a touch on the ball.
Calvin Stengs: N/A
On for Berghuis, Stengs did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Steven Bergwijn: N/A
A late introduction, Bergwijn barely had any time to make an impact, with his time on the pitch reduced even more because he took too long to tape his socks.