The Netherlands completed a double over Belgium as they snatched a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Belgium in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday.

A Virgil van Dijk header was enough to send the hosts to next year’s UEFA Nations League finals as the Netherlands’ unbeaten run continued against Belgium on Sunday despite some difficulties.

It was expected to be a goal rush, but both teams dealt with each other with a sense of denial as they kept pushing to rearguard their goal in a very intense tactical battle.

Belgium started the match at the forefront as Eden Hazard had an early chance but wasted it by putting his shot wide. Several opportunities kept flooding in for the visitors, with Remko Pasveer being the busier keeper in the first half.

But Belgium struggled for their lack of converting chances, and the hosts took the lead from a very unlikely source. Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk rose the highest to meet a corner, as the Oranje finally broke the deadlock at the stroke of the 73rd minute.

The outcome could have been different, but Belgium substitute Dodi Lukebakio’s brilliant bicycle kick did not hit the required target, and the Netherlands heaved a sigh of relief. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Louis van Gaal and Roberto Martinez’s men.


Remko Pasveer: 7/10

Pasveer had to be very alert as he thwarted a number of Belgian attacks with his strong arm. He was also very good with his passing skills as he was at ease with the ball at his feet.

Denzel Dumfries: 7.5/10

Dumfries always had the intent to roam forward from his side. He almost had a chance when he got past Yannick Carrasco and fed the ball through to the goal, but no Dutch players were present there to capitalise on the situation.

Jurrien Timber: 7/10

Timber had a passing accuracy of 86% and also claimed three tackles with precision in what was a solid outing on Sunday.

Virgil van Dijk: 8/10

The Liverpool defender came up with the most important goal as he met Cody Gakpo’s corner to send his team to the Nations League finals. The Netherlands’ skipper also nullified any threat in the air and won one aerial duel with his opponent.

Nathan Ake: 7/10

Ake did not disappoint on a starry night as he distributed the ball with a 97 per cent passing accuracy. The Manchester City defender never looked troubled.

Daley Blind: 7.5/10

Blind did not have any discomfort moments as he held the fort pretty well. He had a 100 per cent dribble success rate during the match and might have sealed his spot as the first-choice left wing-back.

Marten de Roon: 6/10

The tireless midfielder made good use of some much-needed game time as he put up a decent fight in the middle of the pitch.

Steven Berghuis: 5/10

Berghuis had to be called off due to an early injury, adding to van Gaal’s injury woes.

Davy Klaassen: 5.5/10

Klaassen did not offer much while going forward. He had his moments in the match, but van Gaal might have to look for alternate options as the Ajax midfielder seems to have lost his Midas touch.

Steven Bergwijn: 6/10

His struggle was pretty visible as he huffed and puffed to get the ball kicking. Bergwijn had a much-improved performance in the second half but should have at least found the net once when Gakpo fed a delightful ball to him.

Vincent Janssen: 6/10

Janssen tried to convey his role but did not have anything valuable in his pocket.


Cody Gakpo: 7.5/10

Gakpo was lively throughout his time on the pitch. He took some dangerous positions and set up the goal with a lovely delivery.

Tyrell Malacia: 6/10

Malacia was told to play in an unconventional left centre-back position and did everything he could, even though it is not his natural position.

Kenneth Taylor: 7/10

Taylor put in an assured display in the heart of the midfield, and the Netherlands looked more comfortable since he came on.

Stefan de Vrij: 6 /10

Stefan de Vrij did his part well to maintain a clean sheet.

Ryan Gravenberch: N/A

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.


Thibaut Courtois: 7/10

Courtois made four saves to deny the Netherlands from inflicting more damage on Belgium. He also cleared his line dominantly.

Zeno Debast: 7/10

The youngster had another impressive evening and will surely be on that Qatar-bound flight. He had an 85 per cent pass success rate.

Toby Alderweireld: 7/10

Floated in some delightful long balls in his usual fashion and also kept the back line in check with some timely interventions.

Jan Vertonghen: 7/10

Vertonghen did not look uncomfortable as he had a quite pleasant game. Was dispossessed once in the entire game.

Timothy Castagne: 6/10

Castagne replaced Carrasco in the starting lineup but did not make his mark.

Axel Witsel: 7/10

Witsel won the midfield battle as both the Dutch midfielders were not up to that level.

Amadou Onana: 7.5/10

Onana’s energetic display will provide the Belgium head coach with much food for thought. The Everton midfielder always looked to be on course to something and also had two shots on target.

Kevin De Bruyne: 7.5/10

The Manchester City playmaker was busy with his usual antics as he broke up the lines with some wonderful through balls and also tried the aerial route with many long passes.

Eden Hazard: 7/10

An untimely injured cut short his spell, but the Belgium captain had a good run from his side. He continues to show positive signs.

Michy Batshuayi: 6/10

Batshuayi looked clueless at times as he never had the intent to score. His chances of featuring prominently at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Belgium’s starting lineup might have ended.


Charles De Ketelaere: 6/10

De Ketelaere did not have any breakthrough moments as Belgium looked to claw their way back into the game.

Yannick Carrasco: 6.5/10

Carrasco injected energy into the side and tried to get past his marker a few times.

Leandro Trossard: 6/10

Trossard replaced Hazard and put in a decent display.

Youri Tielemans: N/A

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Dodi Lukebakio: N/A

Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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