Netherlands are two points clear at the top of their World Cup qualifying group after an uninspiring 1-0 win away at Latvia.

Louis van Gaal brought Guus Til into the starting line-up in place of the suspended Georginio Wijnaldum, while Steven Berghuis and Cody Gakpo flanked Memphis Depay up front.

As expected Netherlands dominated possession and the opening goal came in the 18th minute with Davy Klaassen netting from a Memphis Depay corner.

However, Netherlands did not look solid defensively and Latvia should have equalised through Cambuur striker Roberts Uldrikis, who got two big chances.

Before the break, Netherlands could have added a second but Gakpo headed wide while Berghuis and Daley Blind could also not find the net from decent areas.

Netherlands continued to push in the second half with Berghuis curling the ball just wide before Gakpo put a header over the bar.

With a second goal not coming, Van Gaal intervened and sent on Noa Lang for his Netherlands debut, while Ryan Gravenberch also came on. Lang almost made an instant impact but Memphis could not finish after being set up by the Club Brugge star.

Wout Weghorst also appeared from the bench and the Wolfsburg striker put a chance into the side netting. Gravenberch also failed to find the net from inside the box as the second goal eluded Oranje.

Latvia defended well and they got their chance to equalise in stoppage time but Justin Bijlow made a good save to earn Netherlands the three points.

It wasn’t vintage but it was three points and Netherlands are now two points clear at the top of the table. Gibraltar is the opponent on Monday.




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