In a game with so much riding on it, neither the Netherlands nor Norway put on any sort of show as they played out a cagey 2-0 encounter in Rotterdam that saw the Norwegians knocked out of the World Cup campaign.
Both sides were cautious from the off; Holland content to knock the ball from side to side and backwards around their defensive third, whilst the Scandinavians were happy to sit in a tight defensive unit and contain their hosts who struggled to break them down.
Louis van Gaal, sat in the stands after a bicycle accident put him in a wheelchair, could only watch on as his side played lethargically, but they were fortunate that their visitors were lacking in any real attacking capacity as the Oranje squeezed into the main draw by the skin of their teeth.
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head coach Louis van Gaal of Netherlands in a wheelchair prior to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Netherlands and Norway at De Kuip on November 16, 2021 in Rotterdam, Netherlands

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In the second half, Christian Thorstvedt and Jens Petter Hauge were introduced in what would seem to be offensive changes made by Stale Solbakken, but the Norwegians remained compact in defence and lacked that quality in the final third as they sorely missed their talismanic striker Erling Haaland up top.
Memphis Depay and Steven Bergwijn were the brightest sparks in a dire game of football; with both testing Orjan Nyland in the visiting goal, but the Bournemouth goalkeeper wasn't properly tested as the Norwegians held firm.
Arnaut Danjuma was also lively down the left for the Oranje, regularly taking on Marcus Pedersen and coming close with a rasping shot when cutting inside, but his output was limited as the hosts lacked any real bite up top.
Joshua King was only afforded 15 minutes in the dying embers of the game to try and steal a goal for his sidee that would've seen them draw one goal closer to their Turkish counterparts, but it wasn't to be as the Dutch used their experience to eek out the game, and more importantly for them, qualification.
It was Tottenham's Bergwijn who would have the final say for the Dutch: he crashed home Danjuma's pass with too much space and time on 84 minutes to seal the Dutch deal, confirming their top spot in Group G.
Memphis Depay doubled the cushion with almost the last kick of the game as the hosts countered after a visiting corner, and with the defensive half practically unguarded, Bergwijn would turn provider for the Barcelona forward to slot home.

Netherlands' forward Steven Bergwijn (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying round Group G football match between Netherlands and Norway at the Feijenoord stadium in Rotterdam on No

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In a game that promised so much with the quality of player on show, the viewing of it was difficult at times.
The cautious approach from both sides meant that the football on display was dire, and the sheer lack of quality from the Norwegians without their star striker made their task even more difficult.

ROTTERDAM - (lr) Steven Bergwijn of Holland, Mathias Antonsen Normann of Norway during the World Cup qualifier match between the Netherlands and Norway at Stadion de Kuip on November 16, 2021 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. KOEN VAN WEEL (Photo by ANP Sport vi

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It'll be a tough lesson for Solbakken as they miss out on the World Cup next year, and the former Wolves manager must be braver and less reliant on Haaland in the next campaign.
The Dutch, however, were lucky that their opposition were so poor. Had they played like that in a play off against Italy or Portugal, they would likely have lost. Much improvement is needed, for both sides.


Holland: Cillessen 6, Dumfries 6, de Ligt 6, van Dijk 6, Blind 6, Wijnaldum 6, de Jong 7, Klaassen 6, Bergwijn 7, Depay 7, Danjuma 7, de Roon 6, Ake 6.
Norway: Nyland 6, Pedersen 6, Strandberg 6, Hanche-Olsen 7, Meling 6, Odegaard 6, Thorsby 6, Normann 6, Elyounoussi 5, Sorloth 6, Solbakken 5, Thorstvedt 6, Hauge 5, King 6, Gregersen 6, Olsen 6.


The best of a bad bunch.
The Spurs winger was lively; he had Birger Meling on toast throughout, producing some nice touches and flicks that would border on showboating.
He continued to be one of his side's best players in the second half, with direct dribbling and tricky movement off the ball, and it was the latter that would lead to his scoring of the opener that would have van Gaal's side with one foot firmly planted in the World Cup proper.


27': Nice innovation by the Dutch as de Jong controls play on the edge of the area... he clips it out to Bergwijn who crosses... Depay meets it! Nyland holds.
55': Normann's long throw... it's knocked down for Thorstvedt! He's shanked it way over, but it's a half chance, at least.
84: GOALLLL!!!! Bergwijn wins it at the last!! He's crashed it home, and sends the Netherlands to the World Cup! He was all on his own, slid in by Danjuma who showed great awareness, and he smashes it home for 1-0.
90': GOALLL!!! Away by van Dijk... there's no one back... Bergwijn.., Depay!! He's doubled the lead. It's 2-0.


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