Inaki Dufour |
Doha (EFE). After finishing second in 1974, 1978 and 2010, no finalist has competed for the world title like the Netherlands, who are still striving to conquer the world, which is still impossible for the “orange” team that disappeared from Russia in 2018, rediscovered this challenge in Qatar 2022 under Louis Van Gaal and faced this Monday in his premiere against Senegal, lessened by the final injury loss of his most decisive figure: Sadio Mane.
There have been teams that have finished second in the tournament more often than the Netherlands, such as Germany four times, or at least as many times as Argentina, but no team has reached the World Cup final as many times without winning the title. .
An orange team that is undefeated in its first match since 1938 against Czechoslovakia and has only lost two out of thirty games in the tournament’s group stage against Scotland in 1978 and Belgium in 1994.
There are four draws in this first round without a loss. Not in France in 1998, not in Germany in 2006, not in South Africa in 2010, not in Brazil in 2014, between the ups and downs of each four-year cycle of a team that was fourth in 1998 but was suddenly left behind Japan and Korea in 2002 or who finished second and third in a series of tournaments from 2010 to 2014.
In Russia in 2018, he did not even perform. Now return to your seat. And he discovers his insomnia again.
Return of Van Gaal
He also brought back Louis van Gaal, the same manager who led the Netherlands to third place in Brazil in 2014.
Netherlands national team coach Louis Van Gaal during a training session at Qatar University. in Doha. EFE/EPA/Koen Van Vil
At 71 years and 105 days old (he will become the third-oldest coach in the tournament’s history), undefeated since his return to the bench and undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, he announced last spring, he is the coach for whom Dutch Football Authorities made a bet that a coach with an impressive series of victories will reappear before the eyes of the entire planet.
Not only at his current stage as he replaced Frank de Boer (15 games unbeaten and five wins in the last six games, with notable wins over Belgium, one of them 1-4, Wales and Poland, also present in Qatar 2022 ) ), but also beyond: no one has beaten the coach with the Oranges in his last 25 duels, and he was only defeated in the last stretch of the 43 games he led the team at various stages.
The last game he lost in this position was on March 25, 2014: 2-0 with France.
Depay’s ownership is questionable
Surrounded in his coaching staff by legends on the pitch such as Edgar Davis or Danny Blind, Frankie de Jong, Virgil Van Dijk (whose intention is to wear the “OneLove” bracelet, which promotes equality across ancestry, race, gender and sexuality) plays under his orders in match this Monday, apart from the initiative of another FIFA group), Mattis De Ligt or Memphis Depay, although the ownership of the Barcelona striker is in doubt because, having recovered from injury, the coach still does not see him to start, given his inactivity in club “Bars” since September.
Having been on the starting ramp all last summer, the Ronald Koeman-signed striker to Barcelona has finally stayed with Javi Hernandez’s team and has only played three games this season as illness has robbed him of any opportunity since late September.
He reaches the World Championship with 131 minutes in three games. He is one of two footballers who are still on the podium in Brazil in 2014. The other is Daley Blind.
Vincent Janssen will play Memphis in the first game. The Antwerp striker has scored seven goals in 20 international matches. Not being one hundred percent his partner, he will be chosen by Van Gaal to form an attack along with Steven Bergwijn, perhaps in the 3-4-1-2 formation the coach has been using lately, with Virgil Van Dijk as the defender. leader, with Frenkie de Jong in the center and two wingers like Dumfries and Blind.
Coming to the bench for the first time at the World Cup are both Jeremy Frimpong, the Bayer Leverkusen winger/winger whose influence on the course is great, and Javi Simons, Barcelona’s youth academy promise who has moved to Paris Saint-Germain. and who plays for PSV today. He is only 19 years old. He never played with a senior team and therefore in a World Cup.
Of the 26 people recruited by Van Gaal, 23 have not yet played in this tournament.
Senegal, weakened by the loss of Mane
Senegal is waiting for him without his most decisive figure, without Sadio Mane, whose right fibula injury permanently ruled him out of the World Cup, with all that it means for his team, although the data shows that his team wins more without him (66 percent out of his nine bouts) than with him (63 percent of his 44 bouts). Statistics against football, because the Bayern Munich player is incomparable in his team.
Aliou Cisse, his coach, will have to accept defeat, pull himself together and take part in the competition, because the African champion has more arguments to offer to repeat his best result at the World Cup: the 2002 quarter-final.
This is now their third appearance with a warning for their first opponent, in this case the Netherlands: Senegal’s previous two finals started with a win, 1-0 against France in 2002 and 2-1 against Poland in 2018.
- Possible compositions:
Senegal: E. Mendy; F. Mendy, Coulibaly, Diallo, Ballo Toure; N. Mendy, Guye, Siss; Diatta, Dia, I. Sarr.
Netherlands: Pasvehr; Timber, Van Dyck, Ake; Dumfries, De Jong, Berguis, Blind; Gakpo; Bergwein, Jansen.
Referee: Wilton Sampaio (Brazil).
Time: 19:00 local time, 17:00 Spanish time, 16:00 GMT.