Absent from the 2018 World Cup, the Netherlands will return to the big football stage in Qatar. He achieved the pass after beating Norway (2-0) in a game that was played behind closed doors in Rotterdam after the Dutch authorities forced to change plans due to the pandemic. There was no popular celebration and the coach Louis Van Gaal was in the stands, prostrate after suffering a bicycle accident last weekend, but on the pitch the orange team overcame all the penalties no matter how much he moved on the wire until the end of the match.
Cillessen, Virgil Van Dijk, Denzel Dumfries, Matthijs de Ligt, Daley Blind, Klaassen (Marten de Roon, min. 73), Frenkie De Jong, Wijnaldum, Steven Bergwijn, Arnaut Danjuma (Aké, min. 88) y Depay
Ørjan Haskjold Nyland, Birger Meling, Strandberg, Andreas Hanche-Olsen, Marcus Pedersen, Odegaard, Mathias Normann (Stian Gregersen, min. 73), Morten Thorsby (Kristian Thorstvedt, min. 45), Syrloth, Ola Solbakken and Mohammed Elyounoussi
Goals 1-0 min. 83: Steven Bergwijn. 2-0 min. 90: Depay.
Yellow cards Morten Thorsby (min. 38), Syrloth (min. 42), Denzel Dumfries (min. 78) and Matthijs de Ligt (min. 79)
Norway could not count on the injured Haaland, but in the epilogue they filled the field with towers and sought a miracle until Bergwijn scored in the 84th minute and Memphis Depay ruled on the hour. In the end, neither the star of Borussia Dortmund nor Martin Odegaard, who did not shine, will be in Qatar because Turkey surpassed them in the classification after winning in Montenegro (1-2).
Holland completes a roster of 10 European teams that are already classified for the next World Cup and that are also signed by Germany, Denmark, Belgium, England, Spain, Switzerland, Croatia, Serbia and France. The Gauls frustrated Finland with a win in Helsinki (0-2) thanks to goals from Benzema and Mbappé in the second half. The local team opted to enter the play-off, but dismounted for the benefit of Ukraine, who won in Bosnia (0-2). Wales will also be in that instance, who finished second in their group after drawing (1-1) against Belgium in a game to which Gareth Bale was not called up, of which physical problems are reported after playing 45 minutes with his team last Saturday and will be examined in Madrid. The Welsh overtake the Czech Republic, which despite being third enters the League of Nations.
The European repechage is a tortuous path that 12 teams will begin to travel on November 26 with a draw that will divide the contenders into three routes of four teams each. The semifinals and final will be played, all in a single match. In each of these three routes there will be two seeds, who will have the advantage of playing at home in the first round. The stage of the final will be drawn between the contestants. Portugal, Scotland, Italy, Russia, Sweden and Wales will be seeded thanks to their scores in the group stage. Turkey, Poland, North Macedonia and Ukraine will play the semi-final away from home; also Austria and the Czech Republic, the two teams that earned their pass through the Nations League.
The first games of the repechage will be played on March 24 and 25. Portugal and Italy cannot meet at this point, but if the draw places them in the same mini-tournament, they could see each other in one of the three finals that will be played between March 28 and 29. The World Cup draw is scheduled for the 31st of that month. Europe has 13 places in a 32-team championship, 41% of the participants in the highest football event. Facing the next World Cup, the first with 48 teams, 16 squads will qualify, but the European presence is reduced to 33% in percentage terms.
Nothing is easy either in Africa, where there are barely 10 teams in contention, but all with footballers who stand out at the highest level. Five round-trip qualifiers, also at the end of March, will substantiate that five teams will go to Qatar. The FIFA ranking defines Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Nigeria as seeds. They will not be able to face each other and their rival will come from between Egypt, Ghana, Mali, DR Congo and Cameroon, who beat (1-0) and left Ivory Coast without a World Cup.
In Asia, Iran and South Korea caress the pass with four rounds to go. Saudi Arabia also has it close while everything indicates that, two of the favorites, Australia and Japan, will play the last ticket against each other. They would in any case have one more option through an intricate play-off that first requires eliminating with a rival from the area and then with one that may come from South America, Oceania or North and Central America.
The night ended with 12 teams confirmed to play the World Cup because in addition to the European ten, Brazil and the host Qatar are already classified, but there is a lot at stake in half the world.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.