After a poor start, Netherlands recovered to earn a credible 1-1 draw in Belgium. 

Ronald Koeman decided to make a number of changes for the visit to Brussels with Virgil van Dijk, Frenkie de Jong, Georginio Wijnaldum, Marten de Roon, Steven Bergwijn and Ryan Babel making way for Nathan Ake, Stefan De Vrij, Donny van de Beek, Kevin Strootman, Quincy Promes and Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld.

Confidence was high for Oranje after the 3-0 win over Germany, but Netherlands haven’t beaten Belgium since 1997 and after only five minutes the hosts were ahead. Eden Hazard’s burst into the box and his cross was headed into the path of Dries Mertens who hammered an excellent strike past Jasper Cillessen.

Belgium controlled the game but in the 22nd minute, Netherlands got their first chance with Quincy Promes setting up Memphis Depay, whose strike was kept out by Simon Mignolet’s legs. Five minutes later it was 1-1 with van de Beek picking up the ball in midfield before a swift counter involving Promes ended with Memphis Depay crossing perfectly for Danjuma Groeneveld to net his first international goal.

Promes almost made it 2-1 with a curling strike that beat Mignolet but came back off the post. At the other end, Hazard sent a great chance wide.

At the break, Pablo Rosario came on for his Netherlands debut in place of Matthijs de Ligt, while Hans Hateboer replaced Denzel Dumfries. Belgium decided to bring off their star trio of Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Mertens.

Michy Batshuayi almost made an instant impact moments into the second half but he fired wide after skipping past Rosario. Tielemans and Axel Witsel then went close for the hosts before Cillessen made a great save to deny Batshuayi.

Netherlands grew more dangerous in the last twenty minutes with Patrick van Aanholt and Strootman having shots blocked. Memphis also went close with a low strike that was kep out by Mignolet’s legs before the goalkeeper made an excellent save to deny Nathan Ake.

Both sides went in search of a late winner but in the end settled for a point. For Netherlands it has been a very positive international period and they can take confidence into the final two Nations League group games in November.

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