Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Netherlands 1-0 Poland: Bergwijn goal kickstarts post-Koeman era

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 4 Sep 2020

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Netherlands began life after Ronald Koeman with a 1-0 win over Poland in the Nations League on Friday. 

Koeman left his post as head coach in August to take over the reigns at LaLiga giants Barcelona, with his former assistant Dwight Lodeweges promoted to interim boss. 

Lodeweges’ side were good value for all three points from their opening Nations League Group B4 game, taking the lead shortly after the hour courtesy of Steven Bergwijn’s first international goal. 

New Manchester United signing Donny van de Beek was introduced after that, but he was unable to inspire the hosts to another goal their superiority deserved.

Quincy Promes was the first player on either side to enjoy a clear sight of goal, the Ajax man dragging his shot wide of Wojciech Szczesny’s left-hand post after being played through by  Bergwijn midway through the first half. 

Jasper Cillessen was then belatedly called into action with half an hour played, pushing over Krzysztof Piatek’s curled effort from Tomasz Kedziora’s low cross. 

The Dutch continued to look threatening in attack and Frenkie de Jong almost handed them a half-time lead, but his volley crashed back off Szczesny’s upright.

The hosts deservedly went ahead in the 61st minute, Hans Hateboer heading De Jong’s deep cross into the path of Bergwijn, who tapped into an empty net from four yards.

Although Lodeweges’ men did not add to that goal, they never looked like relinquishing their lead on the way to three routine points.

What does it mean? Lodeweges states his case for the top job

After two years of progress under Koeman, the Dutch are now embarking on a new era. Whether that will be under the leadership of Lodeweges remains to be seen, but the 62-year-old did his case for being awarded the job on a permanent basis no harm at all. The margin of victory was slender, but this was a dominant display by the Oranje.

Depay too hot to handle

The Lyon forward was at his dazzling best, bamboozling the Poland backline with an array of tricks and flicks. He did not get on the scoresheet but was his side’s brightest spark.

Poland miss their star man

With Robert Lewandowski absent following his Champions League excursions with Bayern Munich, the stage was set for Krzysztof Piatek to shine. The Hertha Berlin man endured a frustrating game, though, and was hauled off just after Bergwijn’s goal.

What’s next?

Netherlands host Italy in Amsterdam on Monday, while Poland travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina on the same day.

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