Oranje close to green light for UNL group win
The Netherlands put in a dominant display to beat Poland 2-0 in UEFA Nations League (UNL) Group A4, with the Oranje now enjoying a 12-game unbeaten run in H2Hs.
In a frantic start at the PGE Narodowy, the Netherlands suffered an early setback when Teun Koopmeiners was forced off after two minutes of play following a collision with Karol Linetty, being replaced by Steven Berghuis. Despite this, the Oranje conjured some scintillating passing passages, and moments after Daley Blind couldn’t turn in Berghuis’ cross, Cody Gakpo applied the finishing touch to Denzel Dumfries’ low ball – taking the 23-year-old to an impressive tally of eight goals in his last seven matches for club and country.
While Poland did a better job of limiting their visitors’ attacking threat throughout the rest of the half, they were also struggling to create and Piotr Zieliński’s quick thinking was required when Kamil Glik’s poor pass almost put him in trouble near his own goal. The Napoli midfielder’s talents were soon on show at the other end, as he turned majestically to start a move that culminated in Nicola Zalewski’s curling shot being saved by 38-year-old debutant Remko Pasveer.
Louis van Gaal suffered more injury frustration early in the second period as Memphis Depay – who had 14 goals and six assists from his previous 11 internationals – was forced off. Przemysław Frankowski’s cross gave Arkadiusz Milik a golden opportunity to compound that misery, but the HT substitute struck horribly over the crossbar. Steven Bergwijn was far more clinical on the hour mark, playing a one-two with Vincent Janssen before slotting the ball out of Wojciech Szczęsny’s reach, with five of his seven international goals now coming this calendar year.
After that moment, the Netherlands never looked like slipping up in their 14th consecutive match unbeaten, continuing their best run since going 17 without losing between 2012 and 2013, with a point against Belgium now enough to earn their second UNL finals appearance. Meanwhile, Poland have just two wins from eight UNL home matches since its inaugural campaign and face Wales in a battle to stay in League A.