Van de Beek volley earns Netherlands draw against Spain
International friendly, Johan Cruyff Arena - Netherlands 1 (Van de Beek 47) Spain 1 (Canales 18)
etherlands' midfielder Donny Van de Beek (R) celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the friendly football match between Netherlands and Spain at the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam on November 11, 2020
Published 11/11/2020 at 18:51 GMT | Updated 11/11/2020 at 22:08 GMT
Spain and Netherlands played out a 1-1 draw in a repeat of the 2014 World Cup final, which leaves the pressure firmly on Frank de Boer, who is without a win in his first four matches.
The first half was all Spain, and the visitors were duly rewarded just before the 20-minute mark. The lively Alvaro Morata dropped deep and played a gorgeous through ball to Sergio Canales, who was played on by Joel Veltman, and the Betis star finished well.
Spain were comfortable but lacked bite, with only a Morata effort that was easily parried by Marco Bizot. All the hosts offered in response was a Luuk de Jong strike that failed to duly trouble debutant keeper Unai Simon.
The Dutch bounced back almost instantly after the break. Owen Wijndal got down the left well sent in a cross which Spain failed to deal with. The ball fell kindly to Donny van de Beek, who powered home a volley to make it 1-1.
Both teams had their chances to win it in an enjoyable second period. Spain's best fell to Koke, who could only stab over after being put off by his own team-mate Morata, who could not touch the ball as he would have been flagged for offside.
But the best chance fell to Depay, who collected a low Denzel Dumfries cross, got the ball out of his feet, but sent a team effort straight into Simon's hands when he should have netted the winner.
TALKING POINT - Someone needs to think of the players
While we were able to enjoy an open game of football with plenty of chances, an ugly facet of the game reared its head in the opening minutes, when Nathan Ake pulled up under no pressure from an opponent with an apparent muscle injury.
After two months of inactivity during the initial lockdown, followed by a hectic end fo the 2019-20 campaign and a short pre-season prior to this season, players need to be taken care of. We've seen an increasing epidemic of soft-tissue injuries and it is no coincidence.
As entertaining as this encounter was, fitting three international matches into a two-week break is gratuitous and puts the fitness of football stars in jeopardy, when they are already fitting an entire club campaign into eight months, rather than nine.
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MAN OF THE MATCH - Alvaro Morata
This was not a match defined by superb individual performances, with both sides looking to attack and defend as a team. But Alvaro Morata shone, especially in the first half and was key to Spain's fine start. He had a couple of efforts well saved by Marc Bizot and created Canales' opener. His link-up play was excellent and he continued his fine start to the season in the Dutch capital.
Netherlands: Bizot 6, Hateboer 6, Veltman 5, Ake N/A, Wijndal 7, Wijnaldum 6, F De Jong 6, Berghuis 6, Van de Beek 7, Depay 5, L De Jong 5. Subs: Blind 6, Dumfries 7, Stengs 7, Klaasen 6, de Vrij 6, Babel N/A
2' - Manchester City have an injury worry. Nathan Ake has pulled up after a routine back pass under no pressure whatsoever. His race is definitely run.
19' - GOAL!!! It's been coming and Spain have their lead. Morata has been lively and is involved once more, coming deep to receive the ball, before turning and feeding Canales. He's played onside by Veltman, who is sitting yards behind his fellow defenders, and drives past Bizot.
35' - Morata again! He shifts the ball onto his left foot after a good move from the visitors, and forces Bizot into parrying it away. Both keeper and striker could have done far better there, it was a tame effort.
47' - GOAL!!! Netherlands have come to life. Owen Wijndal gets down the left and puts in a cross, which somehow evades everyone. It falls kindly for Van de Beek, who powers home a volley to level it.
60' - Koke! Spain could be back ahead here. The Atletico Madrid midfielder latches onto a gorgeous through ball, barging the offside Morata out of the way in the process, but can only lift it over the bar. The Juve striker almost certainly made things harder for his skipper there.
69' - Oh that should be a goal. Netherlands attack at pace down the right and Dumfries squares it to Depay, who hung back on the penalty spot and has all the time in the world. He gets it out of his feet and looks to place it and Simon makes the save. Nowhere near enough power or accuracy on that.
88' - Luuk de Jong, what are you doing?! Stengs and Dumfries combine down the right and tee up the striker for a one-on-one. Simon comes flying out of his goal and De Jong tries to go round him, giving Spain the chance to clear. Eventually the ball is worked to Van de Beek, who tries to set up Babel, whose effort is deflected over.
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