Difficult win over Gibraltar cannot erase chagrin surrounding Koeman’s Orange

Difficult win over Gibraltar cannot erase chagrin surrounding Koeman’s Orange

NOS Football

  • Jesse Wieten

    Dutch national team editor

  • Jesse Wieten

    Dutch national team editor

Watch the summary of Netherlands-Gibraltar

At least the Dutch are above Gibraltar again in EC qualification group B. That’s all that can be said, too. The hoped-for goal-fest failed to materialize on the 86th anniversary of De Kuip with a meager treat of three goals: 3-0.

It was not a matter of restoring honor after the loss against France. For that, Friday’s blow was too big and the level of the opponent, the number 200 in the FIFA rankings, too low. It was just a matter of scoring a lot of goals to take away some of the chagrin.

While Mats Wieffer was not fit enough to start against France, the Feyenoord midfielder was given a chance as a central midfielder against Gibraltar. “He impressed, absolutely,” national coach Ronald Koeman said beforehand. “Otherwise he won’t start.”

So it was a great night for RKSV NEO from Borne, Twente, which saw no fewer than two players who have emerged from the youth ranks in the Dutch national team’s starting lineup in the European Championship qualifier: in addition to Wieffer, striker Wout Weghorst.

Mats Wieffer

Koeman immediately gave Wieffer one of the most important tasks in the team, as a link in the build-up from behind. As a result, the rookie had the ball more than anyone else and sometimes did useful things with it, but was also regularly impure in his passing.

Depay breaks the spell

With Xavi Simons and Steven Berghuis on the wings and Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum as attacking midfielders, Koeman had plenty of attacking artillery lined up, but swirling attacking play and many chances did not materialize against the massively defending soccer dwarf.

The game was too predictable and the crosses from the flanks not clean enough. In the 23rd minute, a good cross from right back Denzel Dumfries did follow and it was right on target. Goalkeeper Dayle Coleing missed and Depay headed in his 44th goal for the Dutch national team (1-0).

Depay breaks the spell against Gibraltar: 1-0

A shot by Wieffer went just wide, Wijnaldum headed into goalkeeper Coleing’s hands and volleyed well over and Weghorst tapped the ball just wide. So the halftime score was only 1-0, the same halftime score as in the first confrontation with Gibraltar on March 30, 2021. Then it ended up being 7-0.

With Cody Gakpo and Donyell Malen for Wijnaldum and Berghuis, Koeman gave the wings in particular new impetus in the second half. Simons moved to midfield. It produced more danger in front of the Gibraltar goal and also a quick goal.

Double strike Aké

Dumfries, back from his suspension against France, was again the aggressor and Aké headed in through the post (2-0). A minute later, Gibraltar had to continue with ten men after Liam Walker stepped hard on Wieffer’s foot. The debutant cried out, but was able to continue.

With eleven against ten, the number of Orange goal attempts continued to go up. Substitute Malen asserted himself from the right and a header by Weghorst was cleared off the line by captain Roy Chipolina. With new substitutions, Daley Blind for Wieffer and Davy Klaassen for Depay, Orange continued its offensive.

It didn’t get any better. Despite a man more, countless corner kicks and more than 40 goal attempts, the Orange hardly created any clear-cut chances. With a shot that changed direction, Aké scored his second goal of the night in the 82nd minute.

That was all, even striker Weghorst failed to pick up a goal against Gibraltar. All in all, it was a second disappointing game in a row at the start of Koeman’s second term as national coach. The chagrin surrounding Orange continues to linger.

For one Dutchman, though, it became a memorable evening. Niels Hartman made his debut for Gibraltar in the 86th minute. A dream scenario for the 22-year-old midfielder, born in Schoonhoven, South Holland.

Kayleigh Williams