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Louis van Gaal ‘always thought’ Netherlands would beat Senegal

Louis van Gaal ‘always thought’ Netherlands would beat Senegal

Louis van Gaal has insisted that he had little doubt that Netherlands would eventually overcome Senegal in Monday’s World Cup opener.

Having witnessed Ecuador ease past Qatar on Sunday, Netherlands and Senegal knew that they required all three points to match the South American nation at the top of Group A.

For large periods at the Al Thumama Stadium, it appeared that the contest would end goalless, the second half in particular proving to be a drab affair.

However, Oranje got their noses in front with six minutes remaining when Cody Gakpo was able to get on the end of an inswinging cross to head his team in front.

As Senegal pushed forward for an equaliser, the Lions of Teranga left more space for Netherlands to exploit at the other end, and the three-times runners-up made sure of the success in the ninth minute of added-on time.

After Memphis Depay‘s weak shot was only parried into the path of Davy Klaassen, the midfielder made no mistake from close range to take Netherlands level with Ecuador.

Cody Gakpo celebrates scoring for Netherlands against Senegal at the World Cup on November 21, 2022.© Reuters

Although there was a perception that Netherlands had avoided a scare in Doha, Van Gaal has claimed that he always believed that his team would make the breakthrough.

Speaking to reporters after the game, as quoted by The Mirror, Van Gaal said: “Was it an efficient victory? Of course it was. Listen to me, we played with poor ball possession in the first half but nonetheless we created five chances.

“It was more balanced in the second half. We created one chance and scored twice and, to be honest, I was calm.

“I always had the feeling we would score. So it was well deserved although we were shoddy in possession.”

Next up for the Netherlands are Ecuador on Friday, with both teams heading into that fixture knowing that maximum points would put them on the brink of qualification.

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