Netherlands World Cup campaign got off to a winning start as two late goals saw them down Senegal 2-0.

For the first group game, Louis van Gaal started Andries Noppert in goal, while Matthijs de Ligt was preferred over Jurrien Timber. Up front, Memphis was only on the bench and Vincent Janssen partnered Steven Bergwijn.

The game was even but the Netherlands created some great chances in a goalless first half. Cody Gakpo could not find Bergwijn with a cutback, while Frenkie de Jong needed too many touches when in on goal.

At the other end, Senegal looked dangerous with Ismail Sarr giving De Ligt a lot of problems. However, Noppert didn’t need to make a save in the first forty-five minutes.

At the start of the second half, Virgil van Dijk headed a corner over the bar, but it was Senegal that then looked the more likely side to take the lead with Netherlands unable to keep the ball.

Memphis was brought on for Janssen but it did not improve Oranje’s attack. Senegal managed to dominate the midfield and Noppert was forced into a strong save to deny Dia.

Van Gaal decided to change his attack with Davy Klaassen and Teun Koopmeiners coming on and Gakpo pushed up front. The decision paid off in the 81st minute as an excellent ball by De Jong was headed in by Gakpo.

Noppert immediately made another good save to keep it 1-0 and Netherlands had to overcome eight minutes of overtime. Deep into stoppage time, Memphis broke through and saw his shot pushed out by Mendy into the path of Klaassen who fired in the killer second goal.

Not a pretty start but three points and a clean sheet. Van Gaal’s boys march on to the clash with Ecuador on Friday.




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