Netherlands and Norway take on each other in a match that has deep implications on either side’s hopes of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
European giants, Netherlands welcome Norway to Stadium Feijenoord as they look to guarantee their spot at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. A win on the night will see Louis van Gaal’s side end their qualifying campaign as Group G winners.
A draw too could be enough given their superior goal difference to second-placed Turkey. However, a loss could very well see them slip to the third spot behind Norway and even Turkey should the latter also win their final game.
The Dutch have their destiny in their own hands but they cannot afford to be complacent. After all, Portugal and Italy found it out the hard way against Serbia and Northern Ireland, respectively. Van Gaal’s side looked to have secured their place in Qatar against Montenegro at the weekend. However, the minnows fought back from two goals down to secure a point.
Norway present a much tougher trial and the Oranje cannot afford a repeat performance. The visitors too will be buoyed not just by the fact that the Netherlands showed their soft underbelly against Montenegro but by being masters of their own destiny. Stale Solbakken’s side could even end the night as group winners should they secure all three points and Turkey falter.
The Dutch have not lost to Norway since 1992 but were held to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture. With a lot at stake, it promises to be an excellent game between the two sides and could be decided on the finest of margins.
A draw could prove enough for both sides to finish in the top two places. But that will only come to fruition should Turkey lose to Montenegro. While not outside the realms of possibility, it is a tough ask. With both games kicking off at the same time, there promises to be plenty of drama on offer.
The Hard Tackle now takes a look at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.
Team News & Tactics
— OnsOranje (@OnsOranje) November 15, 2021
Louis van Gaal is expected to keep faith with the majority of his players who let the two-goal lead slip against Montenegro. Justin Bijlow is a sure starter in goal while the backline of Daley Blind, Virgil van Dijk, Stefan de Vrij and Denzel Dumfries pick themselves.
The Dutch look set to retain their 4-3-3 system and keep hold of Davy Klaassen, Frenkie de Jong and Georginio Wijnaldum in midfield. The impressive Memphis Depay is a sure starter upfront, but Donyell Malen, who struggled against Montenegro could have to settle for a spot on the bench.
He looks set to be replaced by Tottenham Hotspur star Steven Bergwijn. The Spurs ace took the 22-year-old’s place at half-time in Podgorica and might do that from the onset this time around. The impressive Noa Long is also in the fray to replace Malen in the starting XI.
Arnaut Danjuma has enjoyed a fine season with Villarreal and looks set to hold onto his spot in the front three. Should they turn up, the Dutch side has enough quality in them to see off a defensively solid Norway.
Van Dijk and co. will find their job easier thanks to the absence of Erling Braut Haaland, who suffered a hip injury while playing for Borussia Dortmund. They will, however, need to be on their guard and not let his absence lull them into a false sense of security.
A lot will depend on how the Dutch midfield can help take control of the ball in the middle of the park. The likes of de Jong have excellent passing ability but it will count for little if they do not regain control of the ball. Whether van Gaal will opt to play it safe or let his players go out and express themselves remains to be seen.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Bijlow; Dumfries, de Vrij, van Dijk, Blind; Wijnaldum, de Jong, Klaassen; Bergwijn, Depay, Danjuma
Stale Solbakken’s side go into the game sans their star player, Erling Haaland. The young striker’s absence will be a massive dent for a team that has struggled to score goals in the campaign. They do, however, have the meanest defence and have conceded just six times in nine games.
While it might certainly make life difficult for the Dutch attack, Norway will need to find a way to breach the home side’s defence as well. Solbakken looks set to employ a 4-2-3-1 system that could see his side outnumber the Dutch in midfield.
— Fotballandslaget (@nff_landslag) November 15, 2021
This would hand them a major chance to win the ball in the middle of the park and then launch counters of their own. Just how well Frenkie de Jong and co. can make use of the limited passing channels available to them could decide the flow of the game.
Orjan Nyland looks set to start in the goal b back four of Birger Meling, Marius Lode, Stefan Strandberg and Marcus Pedersen. Mathias Normann and Morten Thorsby will be tasked with the anchoring role in midfield and could have a key role to play in the proceedings.
Mohamed Elyounoussi, Kristian Thorstvedt and Martin Odegaard will be tasked with creating opportunities for Alexander Sorloth. The Norwegian contingent has proven themselves to be a dogged set of players and will look to take the game to the home side. How well the Dutch can weather it and repay it in kind remains to be seen.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Nyland; Meling, Lode, Strandberg, Pedersen; Normann, Thorsby; Elyounoussi, Thorstvedt, Odegaard; Sorloth
- The Netherlands have not lost to Norway since 1992.
- The Dutch go into the game on the back of an eight-game unbeaten run while Norway are on an unbeaten run of seven games themselves.
- Norway and the Netherlands are the two best defensive teams in the group and have conceded just six and eight goals respectively.
- Memphis Depay is the top goalscorer in European World Cup qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with 11 goals. Meanwhile, Norway as a team have scored just 15 goals in total.
- Both teams have met 21 times in the past. The Dutch have won nine games while Norway have got the better of their opponents five times.
Player to Watch
The Netherlands’ star man will be tasked with breaching what has been a solid Norwegian defence this campaign. Depay has been in excellent form of late and has scored 11 times over the course of the campaign so far.
His brace at the weekend looked set to secure all three points for the Oranje against Montenegro but the minnows had other plans. He will be called upon to deliver the goods once again on Tuesday night.
With much at stake, a strong start could very well ease the Netherlands’ chances of making it to next summer’s showpiece event. As the home side, they will be expected to take the initiative and Depay could very well be the player to help them achieve just that.
Netherlands 2-1 Norway
The Netherlands have certainly shown progress under van Gaal but there is still work to be done. Haaland’s absence for Norway swings the pendulum firmly in the Dutch side’s favour and the onus is on them to capitalise.
While Norway will be expected to make a game out of it, Oranje’s quality and home advantage should shine through in the end. The Netherlands will be expected to book their spot in Qatar come to full time at Feyenoord.