Frank de Boer finally has his first win as Netherlands coach after Georginio Wijnaldum scored a swift brace Sunday to lead his team to a 3-1 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Nations League.
Wijnaldum, captain in the absence of his injured Liverpool teammate Virgil van Dijk, tapped in from close range in the sixth and 14th minutes to set up the win in the empty Johan Cruyff Arena. Wijnaldum has now scored seven of his country’s last 12 goals.
Memphis Depay turned in a cross by right back Denzel Dumfries for the Netherlands’ third goal 10 minutes after the break. Dumfries also provided the assist for Wijnaldum’s opener in the League A match.
The victory eases pressure on De Boer who became the first Netherlands coach not to register a win in his first four matches in charge when his team drew 1-1 with Spain on Wednesday, following a defeat and two more draws since taking over from Ronald Koeman.
“We were ready for a win,” Wijnaldum told Dutch broadcaster NOS. “We started well. We’ve had a few times that we’ve started the second half well, but today it was the other way around.”
Bosnia created a handful of chances, but often failed to capitalize as Dumfries and left back Owen Wijndal constantly pressed forward, sometimes leaving gaps in defense.
Barcelona midfielder Miralem Pjanic shot just over the bar in the 13th minute and from the quick restart Frenkie de Jong pushed forward and fed Memphis, whose ball to the far post was headed back across goal for Wijnaldum to make it 2-0.
Smail Prevljak cut the lead in the 63rd minute shortly after coming on as a substitute, converting a cross from Edin Visca. The pair combined again in the 77th minute, but Prevljak’s shot looped just wide of Tim Krul’s goal.
Italy tops Group 1 after beating Poland 2-0 Sunday. Italy has nine points, one more than the Netherlands, with Poland on seven points.
The Netherlands’ final group match takes place Wednesday at Poland, while last-place Bosnia hosts Italy.
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