Virgil van Dijk scored the winner as the Netherlands defeated Belgium 1-0 to win their Nations League group.
Roberto Martinez’s side needed to win by three goals to earn a place in the semi-final at the expense of their opponents but they created few chances and the Netherlands looked comfortable throughout.
The game was played at a friendly-like pace in the opening 45 minutes but after the break things did improve as Belgium upped their intensity.
The win puts the Netherlands on 16 points, some six points clear of Roberto Martinez’s Red Devils, who are in second on 10 points. The Netherlands progress to the finals of the Nations League, which take place from 14 to 18 June 2023.
Kevin De Bruyne pulled the strings in midfield creating the best chance for Amadou Onana but it was tipped wide excellently by Remko Pasveer.
However, the Netherlands broke the deadlock when Van Dijk headed in from a corner late on in the game to seal three points.
They nearly scored more but were denied by some Thibaut Cortious saves but Belgium then nearly rescued a draw when Dodi Lukebakio’s bicycle kick cannoned off the woodwork with the last kick of the match.
The team in orange have not lost since they crashed out of Euro 2020 with defeat to Czech Republic. Van Gaal has returned to the national team setup, his third spell in charge, and he has got them playing brilliantly.
The truth is, tonight, in a slow paced game they rarely had to come out of a low gear. But, they knock the ball around with such confidence and have some fantastic technical players in their side with bundles of pace and trickery in attack. Defensively, they look strong and Van Dijk commands the back three really well.