There is no question the Netherlands are not the European powerhouse they were only a few years ago. However, that does not mean they are not competitive.
The Oranje side are almost out of the 2018 World Cup race, so it makes sense for them to plan ahead for the future. And with that in mind, Dick Advocaat’s men deployed an alternative side in a friendly match against Morocco. And despite the fact they had to play almost 20 minutes with 10 players, they came out on top thanks to a thrilling 2-1 win.
Netherlands jumped ahead in the first half
The Dutch side was quick to establish dominance in the first half. The pace of their wingers – Memphis Depay and Quincy Promes – represented a big problem for the African defensive line. And while Vincent Janssen did not luck sharp early on, his sole presence complicated upfront.
Considering how the game happened in the first 20 minutes, it was not surprising to see the Netherlands jump on top before the 25th minute mark. An impressive play from Depay on the left wing allowed Promes to score for the second time in 16 appearances with the Oranje shirt. The rest of the first half showed the Dutch side clearly on top, while Morocco could not react, so the 1-0 scoreline at the break was absolutely deserved.
The African side showed some reaction in the second half. Three substitutions and an improved attitude changed the game, and at the beginning the home side had absolute control of the game. Nabil Dirar and Nordin Amrabat began to complicate the opposing defence, and Younes Belhanda started to find spaces in the final third. However, Morocco could not capitalise on their chances, and the Netherlands took advantage of that. Another defensive mistake allowed Janssen to pounce, and all of a sudden it was 2-0 for the visitors.
It seemed the game was over, but the hosts were not ready to give up. Matthijs de Ligt was sent off in the 70th minute, and Morocco pulled one back thanks to Mbark Boussoufa two minutes later. Morocco looked like they could complete the comeback, but that did not happen. Both managers decided to make a plethora of substitutions in the final minutes, and that led to a change of pace in the game. In the end, the Oranje closed the game out effectively and secured a massive win despite playing with 10 men for 20 minutes.
It was a pretty interesting performance from the Dutch side. Even though some of their best players didn’t feature in this contest, they showed quality and a good amount of talent for the foreseeable future. Matthijs de Ligt, Nathan Ake, and Promes impressed, and could have bigger roles with the team in the coming months. And the fact that Janssen found the back of the net is encouraging. Bas Dost is the starter, but having a prolific backup striker never hurts.
As for Morocco, they were underdogs before the start of the game and it was confirmed once the ball started rolling. But with that being said, they should some interesting things on the attack that can be useful for the future. Players like Belhanda, Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez, Dirar and Amrabat can be pivotal pieces for a team that has not played in the World Cup since France 1998. They might have lost today, but they showed they are on the right track.
Morocco: Munir; Amrabat (En-Nesyri 85′), da Costa, Saiss, Dirar; El Ahmadi (Ait Benasser 64′), Boussoufa; Belhanda (Boutaib 77′), Fajr (Bammou 90′), Boufal (Carcela-Gonzalez 60′); Bouhaddouz
Netherlands: Zoet; Veltman, De Ligt, Hoedt, Ake; Toornstra (Sneijder 73′), Vilhena, Berhguis (De Roon 46′); Promes, Janssen (Dost 73′), Depay (Viergever 74′)
Goals: Promes (0-1, 22′), Janssen (0-2, 68′), Boussoufa (1-2, 72′)
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!