Europe in ‘FIFA World Cup 2022’ qualifiers as Netherlands up and running while Turkey beat Norway

Netherlands’ 2-0 win over Latvia was played in front of 5,000 spectators in the Amsterdam Arena as part of a government-supported study into the amount of contact in crowd situations.

Steven Berghuis and Luuk de Jong scored either side of half-time as the Netherlands got their World Cup qualifying back on track with a 2-0 home win over plucky Latvia on Saturday.

The Dutch were looking for a strong response after a shock 4-2 loss to Turkey in Istanbul on Wednesday at the start of their Group G campaign.

Yet despite a ferocious onslaught from kick-off – the Dutch had 11 attempts on target in the first 25 minutes – they took until past the half hour to score when Berghuis, who had waited until his 23rd cap for his first international goal, lashed home from the edge of the area.

Latvia defended heroically for most of the match, except at a 69th-minute corner when De Jong headed home the second.

The match was played in front of 5,000 spectators in the Amsterdam Arena as part of a government-supported study into the amount of contact in crowd situations.

Meanwhile, Ozan Tufan scored two superb goals as Turkey cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win over Norway, who had substitute Kristian Thorstvedt sent off late on in the Group G World Cup qualifying clash on Saturday.

Playing their home game in Malaga due to coronavirus restrictions in Oslo, the Norwegians protested about the Qatar World Cup for the second time in four days by wearing t-shirts that called for human rights to be respected.

The players also held up their left hands, mirroring the international logo for human rights.

They quickly fell behind as Yusuf Yazici sliced their defence open down the left and put in a low cross for the late-arriving Tufan to rifle home in the fourth minute.

Alexander Sorloth could have put his side level in the 26th minute, but his powerful shot cannoned back off the post and it proved to be a costly miss when Caglar Soyuncu was left unmarked to head home Yazici’s corner two minutes later.

Sorloth and Erling Haaland went close from an early second-half corner but their night was effectively ended when Tufan netted Turkey’s third with a glorious curling shot that flew in at the far post to make it 3-0 just before the hour mark.

Haaland had the ball in the net shortly afterwards but his effort was ruled out for offside and Turkey held on for a comfortable win to top Group G with six points after two games, ahead of Montenegro on goal difference. Netherlands, who beat Latvia 2-0 are third on three points, with Norway fourth on goal difference.

Elsewhere, Croatia got their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign back on track after a first-half header by Mario Pasalic gave them a laboured 1-0 home win over Cyprus in Group H on Saturday with captain Luka Modric celebrating a record 135th international cap.

Modric broke the record set by former Croatia defender Darijo Srna and produced an industrious performance at Rujevica stadium as Croatia were made to work hard for their victory.

The result left the Croatians on three points from two games after their opening 1-0 defeat at Slovenia while Cyprus have one point after a 0-0 draw with Slovakia. Russia top the group with six points after they beat Slovenia 2-1 earlier on Saturday.

Croatia, the 2018 World Cup runners-up, laid siege to the Cypriots from the start but were confined to a flurry of crosses and several half-chances before Pasalic broke the deadlock in the 40th minute.


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