Cody Gakpo and Steven Berghuis stood out as the Netherlands eased to a 2-0 win over Poland in Warsaw in the UEFA Nations League.
The match started in a gruesome fashion as Teun Koopmeiners sustained a head injury after a clash with Karol Linetty in the fifth minute. But the Netherlands soon found stable footing in the game, grabbing the lead in the 13th minute as Cody Gakpo finished off a brilliant team move by finishing off Denzel Dumfries’s low cross.
The Netherlands remained on top of the proceedings after that, but clear-cut chances came few and far between. The Oranje still created a few chances, only for the attackers to often find the side-netting. Meanwhile, Poland started the second half strongly as Przemyslaw Frankowski fashioned an opening for Arkadiusz Milik, who inexplicably failed to convert the opportunity.
The visitors took that moment as a wake-up call before doubling their advantage at the hour mark as Steven Bergwijn scored from a low effort following a superb give-and-go with Vincent Janssen. That goal took the wind out of Poland’s sails, with the Netherlands cruising to a 2-0 win.
The result helped the Netherlands remain on top of Group A4 in the UEFA Nations League, with the Oranje also keeping a clean sheet for the first time this year. The Netherlands will meet Belgium in the group decider on Sunday after the Red Devils beat Wales on Thursday. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Louis van Gaal’s men.
Remko Pasveer: 6/10
June 4, 2006: Remko Pasveer wins the U-21 Euros with the Netherlands, with the Dutch beating Sweden 3-0 in the Final in Porto.
September 22, 2022: Two months shy of his 39th birthday, Pasveer makes his first senior appearance for the Netherlands. pic.twitter.com/JHPWS7RuyT
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) September 22, 2022
Pasveer became the second-oldest debutant for the Netherlands at the ripe old age of 38. But while van Gaal wanted to see what the veteran brought to the table, Pasveer barely had anything to do, with Poland carrying no threat in the game. He could not have asked for an easier debut.
Jurrien Timber: 7/10
Timber looked to cut off Poland’s threat higher up the pitch, making a few critical clearances and interceptions to alleviate the hosts’ threat. At the same time, the young centre-back was accurate with the ball at his feet, losing possession only thrice all game long. Belgium will be a tougher test if van Gaal hands him a start on Sunday.
Virgil van Dijk: 7/10
Virgil van Dijk has been off-colour in the early stages of the 2022/23 season at the club level. But he looked much more commanding in national colours, as he kept Robert Lewandowski at bay while hardly putting a step wrong. He did not lose a single duel while completing some crucial clearances. He will hope to produce more of the same for Liverpool.
Nathan Ake: 6/10
Ake barely had anything to do at the back and pushed the Netherlands forward with purpose when he had the ball at his feet. But Poland’s only chance in the game came from his side of the pitch, and he should have done better to stop Przemyslaw Frankowski in his tracks. Otherwise, it was a decent enough display by Ake.
Denzel Dumfries: 7/10
Dumfries has stamped his authority as the first-choice right wing-back for the Netherlands, as he has done at the club level with Inter Milan. The 26-year-old looked one of the likeliest candidates to make things happen for the visitors and set up Cody Gakpo for the opener with an inch-perfect low cross following a ghosting run into Poland’s box. He is in fine form right now.
Teun Koopmeiners: N/A
Koopmeiners has to go off after 1 minute. Head injury, it's not looking good. pic.twitter.com/w8Vq2ykzpE
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) September 22, 2022
Koopmeiners lasted just over five minutes in the game as he had to go off after sustaining a head injury following a clash with Karol Linetty.
Frenkie de Jong: 6/10
Frenkie de Jong produced a solid but unspectacular performance against Poland. The 25-year-old circulated possession smartly, completing 94 per cent of his attempted passes. But he rarely looked to attempt anything extravagant before going off at half-time.
Daley Blind: 6/10
Blind was involved in some of the brightest moments for the Netherlands from the left flank as he linked up nicely with Memphis Depay and Cody Gakpo, among others. But he was nowhere to be seen when Poland created their only chance of the game in the second half from his flank. He needs to step up defensively.
Cody Gakpo: 8/10
Cody Gakpo has 20 direct goal involvements in his last 13 appearances in all competitions this season.
He can’t be stopped right now. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/0onEDcXyjq
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) September 22, 2022
Gakpo is quickly establishing himself as a pivotal figure for the Netherlands, and he produced another game-changing performance for his national side. The young attacker revelled in a central role, linking up nicely with the other attackers and the midfielders to slice open Poland’s defence.
The icing on the cake was his goal as he emerged in the right place at the right time to hand his team the lead. Gakpo will likely be one of the first names on the team sheet for Louis van Gaal at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Memphis Depay: 6/10
Depay showed tremendous awareness to find Dumfries on a ghosting run into Poland’s box before the Inter Milan full-back set Gakpo up for the opener. But that was as good as it got for the Netherlands’ talisman, who was unsurprisingly off colour after barely featuring for Barcelona thus far this season. But van Gaal will be more concerned by the injury Depay sustained on the night.
Steven Bergwijn: 7/10
Bergwijn was a bundle of energy in the final third and always looked to make things happen. Despite that, he retained an excellent passing rate of 96 per cent, misplacing only one pass all game. The cherry on top was the brilliant give-and-go with Vincent Janssen, followed by the precise finish for his goal.
Steven Berghuis: 8/10
The Netherlands play beautiful football when Berghuis is on the pitch. He's an outstanding player. pic.twitter.com/6qEnF47TTu
— Aadoo Ozzo (@Aadozo) September 22, 2022
Berghuis was a surprise omission from the starting lineup, but he came off the bench to produce a dazzling performance and make a difference for the Netherlands. The 30-year-old ran the show for the Netherlands, playing two key passes while being involved in the move that led to Gakpo’s goal in the first half. He had a few decent chances falling his way but could not apply the finishing touches.
Marten de Roon: 6/10
Marten de Roon continued from where Frenkie de Jong had left at the break, as he kept the play ticking without doing anything spectacular to keep the Netherlands in total control of the proceedings.
Vincent Janssen: 7/10
Janssen came on for an injured Depay and almost immediately made his mark on the game, engaging in a give-and-go with Bergwijn, who rounded off the win for the Netherlands. While the 28-year-old striker did not see any chances coming his way, he looked good on the ball and has thrown his hat to be on the plane to Qatar in a couple of months.
Kenneth Taylor: N/A
Taylor replaced Berghuis in the 75th minute and circulated possession smartly to keep the Netherlands on top of Poland.
Wout Weghorst: N/A
Weghorst got the final 15 minutes to make an impression but barely got a chance coming his way.