Netherlands | Data highlights growing 2022 World Cup frustrations for Oranje in Qatar

PSV star Cody Gakpo registered one of the only shots for the Netherlands as Louis van Gaal’s men were lucky to emerge with a point against a brilliant Ecuador

European giants the Netherlands are back at the World Cup after missing out on 2018 but have failed to truly hit the ground running in Qatar as Clockwork Orange was lucky to escape with a point in a 1-1 draw against an impressive Ecuador.

PSV Eindhoven star Cody Gakpo got the Dutch off and running just six minutes after kick-off with a thunderbolt from just outside the area that beat Hernán Galíndez high at his near post and it first appeared that the rout was on at Khalifa International Stadium.

That narrative would not play out, however, and it would not be until the 66th minute when Atalanta Bergamo midfielder Teun Koopmeiners registered Oranje’s second and last shot across 90-minutes, pinning Louis van Gaal’s outfit to an unfortunate stat that saw the Netherlands register the fewest shots of any European nation at the World Cup since 1966.

In comparison to the 15 efforts that El Tri managed, there is not a single fan that can take a positive away from a performance that showed that perhaps the Netherlands have not progressed in a manner some were expecting despite their recent 5-1-0 record in the UEFA Nations League, which included a pair of wins over rivals Belgium as well as three-point hauls over Poland and a brace of top results against Wales.

And despite some of the top talent that exists in Van Gaal’s 26-man squad, questions will still be levied in the direction of the iconic manager not only in regards to his tactical preferences but certain team selections that have come as a shock, including Vincent Janssen being included in the XI against Senegal, and the continued preference of utilizing Memphis Depay as a substitute despite the Barcelona forward being joint-second all-time in goals for his country with 42 in 82 caps.

Still sitting level on points with Ecuador and just one point clear of Senegal after their rebound against Qatar, the Netherlands must come out swinging against an eliminated Qatar who has nothing to lose and can play with freedom in front of home support. There is still scope to suggest that not only may the Dutch not top Group A, but could be eliminated themselves if they do not produce a professional performance four days from now.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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