Davy Klaassen impressed as Netherlands stayed on top of Group G with a 1-0 win away to Latvia in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Netherlands made tough work of their trip to Latvia but ensured they came away with a 1-0 win to show for their efforts. Ajax Amsterdam midfielder Davy Klaassen was the hero on the night as his 19th minute strike saw the visitors come away with all three points.

Louis van Gaal’s side have now won their last three games in the qualifiers and occupy the top spot in their group. They have a two-point lead over second-placed Norway with three games to go. Having missed the 2018 World Cup, they look to be on their way to make amends this time around.

Latvia, to their credit, put up a real fight. Klaassen and Virgil van Dijk were both called into action to deny the home side a goal in the first half. Goalkeeper Justin Bijlow spared Netherlands’ blushes with an excellent save in stoppage time, the first time he was called into action on the night.

The Oranje enjoyed most of the possession and had a number of opportunities to increase their lead. However, they could not find a way to do so and had to thus, endure a closer game than initially thought. At the very least, the fixture will have reminded the visitors that they cannot afford to let their guard down.

For now, Netherlands maintain their perfect record against Latvia. For the home side, their search for a first point and goal against the Oranje goes on. The Hard Tackle now takes a look at how the Dutch stares fared on the night.

Justin Bijlow: 7/10

The Dutch goalkeeper has been building a reputation for himself in the Eredivisie in recent seasons and it is clear to see why. He was alert in the first half as Latvia continued to prove their Dutch defence. Mostly a spectator, he rose to the challenge in stoppage time to deny the home side a late equalizer. The two points earned could prove pivotal in the final standings.

Denzel Dumfries: 5/10

The Inter Milan star linked up well with Memphis Depay and made a number of forward runs. Almost scored as well but saw his impressive lob cleared off the line. Did have his share of sloppy actions as well. Overall a mixed bag.

Stefan de Vrij: 6/10

De Vrij linked up well with Van Dijk as the Dutch looked to build from the back. Was at hand to deny Latvia when they broke forward. It is easy to see why he gets the nod over Matthijs de Ligt in the starting XI.

Virgil van Dijk: 6/10

The Liverpool ace was tidy in defence and also showed off his impressive passing ability. Made an error in the first half and was also at hand to deny Roberts Uldrikis from point-blank range.

Daley Blind: 6/10

One of the better players on the night, Blind held his own on the flank and was stationed rather higher up the pitch. Rather than take advantage of it, it gave Latvia something new to think about. He also scored but saw his shot fizz away from the target. A solid id unspectacular outing.

Davy Klaassen: 7/10

The Oranje hero on the night, Klaassen took his chance well from Depay’s corner. The midfielder now has four goals and three assists in the qualifying campaign. An important player for the European giants at this point in time.

Frenkie de Jong: 5/10

Usually reliable, the Barcelona star kept possession but was unable to make more of it. Failed to get any attacks rolling and was largely relegated to making sideways passes that killed momentum. While that may have stat padded his numbers on the night, it did little to make a difference in the game.

Guus Til: 5/10

The 23-year-old started off brightly but faded as the game went on. A disappointing performance that saw him taken off for Ryan Gravenberch at the hour mark.

Steven Berghuis: 5/10

The Ajax winger looked off his game and was limited to just one strike off goal in the first half. Made way for debutant Noa Lang in the second half.

Memphis Depay: 6/10

A poor performance from the Dutchman who was imperious against Turkey the last time around. He failed to find the back of the net against Latvia and saw a shot on goal blocked on the line in the second half. He however deserves credit for setting up Klaassen’s goal with a fine corner kick.

Cody Gakpo: 6.5/10

The PSV Eindhoven winger was lively throughout and showed his creativity to fashion a handful of chances. He linked up well with his attacking comrades and blazed an effort over the bar in the first half.

SUBSTITUTES

Ryan Gravenberch: 6.5/10

An improvement over Til, Gravenberch made some nice probing runs down the left channel. He also contributed in defence, making a fine clearance ins stoppage time.

Noa Lang: 6/10

The young debutant was more of a threat than Bertguis. He laid off a good chance for Depay that he could not take full advantage of. A promising first appearance for the Oranje.

Wout Weghorst: 6/10

Was a presence in the box and went close twice before full time. A good outing off the bench.

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