Thu, 07 Dec 2023

Doha [Qatar], November 22 (ANI): Following the win over Senegal in the FIFA World Cup opener, Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal said that he is not satisfied with his side's "shoddy and messy" ball possession.

Late goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen guided a spirited Netherlands to a 2-0 victory over Senegal in the Group A match here at Al Thumama Stadium.

"We were shoddy and messy in possession, but we gave away very little," said van Gaal as quoted by Sky Sports.

"We gave away very few chances but I was not satisfied with ball possession on our side - we were inaccurate and ran with the ball too much," he added.

The manager also questioned FIFA on their decision to stop captains, including Virgil van Dijk of the Dutch side, from wearing the 'One Love' armband to give out a message of anti-discrimination and support for the LGBTQ community.

"I do not want to answer political questions but one thing is clear - we are not going to wear an armband if we are going to get a yellow card. We need to ask if this is a correct act on behalf of FIFA. All of us need to ask if this is a proper act - this is crystal clear," he added.

The Dutch were playing their first World Cup match since 2014, failing to qualify for the tournament's previous edition in Russia in 2018.

The contest was tight and the two teams were unable to score for most part of the match. The teams made several moves but each time the ball missed the goal or was put out.

The breakthrough came for the Netherlands in the 84th minute through a strike by Cody Gakpo.

The Netherlands had an opportunity to take the lead in the sixth minute as Cody Gakpo passed the ball to teammate Steven Bergwijn whose attempt was blocked.

Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong failed to capitalize on another chance in the 18th minute.

The Netherlands failed to convert their chances into the goal and the first half ended in a deadlock. While the Dutch team seemed to have an edge in the first half, it looked to have lost some steam in the second half.

Cody Gakpo's goal was also a result of poor goalkeeping by Eduard Mendy as he went out to punch the ball and completely missed it. Gakpo's header was on target as the Netherlands opened their account.

In the stoppage time, Memphis Depay's shot forced Edouard Mendy to parry to Davy Klaassen, who provided a comfortable tap-in to make it 2-0 for Netherlands.

The Dutch are on top of Group A with Ecuador, who scored a 2-0 win over Qatar in the tournament's opening match on Sunday.

There was not much to choose from in terms of ball possession as the Netherlands had 53 per cent in comparison to Senegal which had 47. Senegal had four shots on target while the Netherlands had only three. (ANI)

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