Bergwijn and Depay strikes sink Norway and Haarland’s World Cup dream. The Dutch go marching on to Qatar!
Steven Bergwijn and Memphis Depay netted late strikes, as the Netherlands secured qualification for next year’s World Cup, with a 2-0 home triumph over Norway on Tuesday.
The result means that Norway and Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland will miss out on the opportunity to compete at his first senior tournament.
Holland return to the World Cup after not qualifying for the 2018 tournament in Russia, but unconvincingly, after scraping through their last two qualifiers.
They had been eight minutes from securing early qualification on Saturday, before conceding two goals to draw in Montenegro. However, Tuesday’s victory in an empty stadium due to COVID-19 restrictions was enough to win the group.
The Netherlands finished with 23 points from 10 games, two more than Turkey, who triumphed 2-1 away to Montenegro to earn a playoff place. Norway finished third in the group with 18 points.
Bergwijn smashed home a right-footed shot in the 84th minute, to the relief of the home side. Depay made sure of the result as he finished off a counter-attack, after being teed up by the Tottenham man, with the clock reading 91 minutes.
It was Depay’s 12th goal of the campaign, which puts him level with England skipper Harry Kane, at the top of the European qualifying scoring charts.
The Dutch dominated possession and had several half-chances, with Depay their most creative player.
But they also played with a conservative approach, keen to avoid errors that may have allowed the Scandinavians to steal the points.
The Norwegians, without injured talismanic striker, Haaland, needed a victory to secure a top-two finish, but they only managed two shots in the whole game and neither were on target.