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Belgium and Netherlands simulate World Cup

Louis van Gaal still decides for himself when he or a team he instructs should be praised. The signs were cheering in the packed Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam after Netherlands’ Elftal defeated their Belgian rivals 1-0. For the 71-year-old bond coach, the 57th victory in the 129th neighborhood duel was no reason for triumphant gestures. So, as soon as the first microphone reached out to him, he accurately weighed up the qualities and flaws in his players’ performances. He came to the sobering conclusion that we had just experienced “not our best competition”.

The party crasher out of conviction has a bigger goal in mind – and that’s not the Final Four of the Nations League, for which his team was able to qualify almost effortlessly after the fifth win in the sixth and last group game (a draw against Poland). It’s the World Cup in Qatar, which begins for Oranje on November 21 when they meet Senegal.

Well-established chain of three

Against this background, he and his players approached the prestige duel on Sunday more like a final friendly. In fact, the eternal co-favorite will not play another international match before the tournament. That’s why everything that’s not good yet carries even more weight for an ambitious football coach.

In terms of content, the well-travelled expert is always right anyway. As on Thursday in the 2-0 win over Poland in Warsaw, Elftal also impressed in Amsterdam, especially in the game against the ball. They kept the gaps close when De Bruyne, Witsel and Hazard played their combination game with other “Red Devils”. wanted to raise, practiced patience and tactical discipline.

Which was not least due to the well-rehearsed chain of three around the reinvigorated captain Virgil van Dijk, which allowed little in the center of the defense. However, when in possession of the ball, the high tempo and the final dynamic were often missing. In addition, careless mistakes crept in again and again in the game opening.

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