The third chapter of Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands novel will begin in Oslo, where Norway will welcome the eccentric son of Dutch soccer on the road to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Van Gaal has come out of retirement in an attempt to brighten De Oranje’s days following a disappointing Euro 2020 outcome, while Group G opponent Norway missed that tournament altogether.
How to Watch
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 1
Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway
The Netherlands looked seamless winning three group games from three at the European Championship, but its plans under Frank de Boer unraveled in the Round of 16.
De Oranje ran out of ideas against the Czech Republic and was ousted 2-0, bringing an end to its seven-game unbeaten streak and, not long after, De Boer’s reign at the helm:
The two teams are level on six points apiece going into the fourth match day, where either side could leapfrog Turkey into first place.
Like the Dutch, Norway failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, although its absence was less of a peculiarity than that of the Netherlands.
In fact, the Lions are hoping to end a 24-year wait to feature in what would be only their third World Cup, and their hopes of ending that rest on one man in particular.
We now know Erling Haaland will remain at Borussia Dortmund for the 2021-22 campaign after a summer of speculation, and for good reason given he’s one of the world’s most in-demand assets.
His seven goals in 12 appearances for Norway to date doesn’t quite match the 63 he’s netted in 64 games for the Black and Yellows, most recently grabbing an extra-time winner over Hoffenheim:
New club teammate Donyell Malen will be one of those lined up on the opposite side of the pitch in midweek, with Van Gaal retaining the core of the squad that traveled to Euro 2020.
Midfield catalyst Martin Ødegaard is another worth keeping an eye on after Norway’s captain left Real Madrid to join Arsenal permanently this summer. Striker Alexander Sørloth also has new prospects after joining Real Sociedad on loan from RB Leipzig, while 21-year-old Jens Petter Hauge has scored twice in three games on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt from AC Milan.
Van Gaal, 70, has returned to the sport five years after ending his last managerial position at Manchester United. It was during his time at Old Trafford that the veteran ultimately looked stale and past his best, but he'll hope to restore some faith having twice previously qualified for World Cups with his country.
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