Captain Virgil van Dijk netted a second-half winner because the Netherlands beat neighbours Belgium 1-0 on Sunday to clinch prime spot of their Nations League group and a spot in subsequent yr’s finals match.
Van Dijk powered residence a header from a nook within the 73rd minute on the Amsterdam Area on Sunday to make sure the Dutch completed runaway winners in League A Group 4.
They completed with 16 factors, six greater than Belgium who had an opportunity to leapfrog their neighbours, and take first place, however wanted to win by three objectives or extra on Sunday to take action.
Any hopes of a purpose feast had been rapidly stymied, nonetheless, as the 2 sides successfully cancelled one another out in a decent tactical battle.
The Dutch urgent recreation pissed off Belgian efforts at build up assaults, whereas a five-man defence for the guests meant there was little room for the house strikers.
It meant the winner got here from a easy set piece with Van Dijk leaping over his marker, the 18-year-old Zeno Debast, to provide Louis van Gaal his thirty seventh victory in his three spells accountable for the nationwide aspect, equalling the document for a Dutch coach held by Dick Advocaat.
Belgium, whose personal coach Roberto Martinez needed to sit within the stands after being given a crimson card on the finish of final week’s win over Wales, had an opportunity for an ideal begin after solely 4 minutes, with Eden Hazard arrange by Amadou Onana solely to blast his shot huge.
There have been different first-half possibilities for Michy Batshauyi, Axel Witsel, Timothy Castagne and Onana as Belgium had the higher of the half’s alternatives whereas their goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was largely untroubled.
The Dutch improved after a pair of half-time adjustments and Denzel Dumfries, Steven Bergwijn and Davy Klaassen had been all thwarted as the house aspect started to search out extra room and Belgium lived dangerously on the again within the final levels of the sport.
Belgium may effectively have pressured a draw as a spectacular effort from substitute Dodi Lukebakio got here inside inches of a final gasp equaliser with the ultimate kick of the sport.
“We wished to win nevertheless it wasn’t a terrific recreation. We may have executed higher however we additionally needed to work arduous towards a crew with numerous high quality gamers. However profitable was crucial,” Van Dijk mentioned after the match.