Hansi Flick's 100 per cent start as Germany head coach came to an end as Steven Bergwijn sealed a 1-1 friendly draw for the Netherlands on Tuesday.

Former Bayern Munich boss Flick took over the reins from Joachim Low in May 2021 and the 57-year-old had overseen wins in each of his eight games in charge before the trip to Amsterdam.

It looked like he would make it nine on the spin when Thomas Muller emphatically slammed home his 43rd international goal before the break.

Louis van Gaal's side had the final say, though, with Bergwijn powering home the equaliser midway through the second half.

Germany started brightly and went close in the 11th minute when Leroy Sane drilled into the side netting from a tight angle.

They threatened again 10 minutes later when Timo Werner's header from David Raum's cross crashed back off the underside of Mark Flekken's crossbar.

Donyell Malen then clipped just wide of Manuel Neuer's right-hand post under pressure from Antonio Rudiger in what was a rare sight of goal in the opening period for the hosts.

Germany deservedly went ahead in first-half stoppage time, with Muller lashing a crisp left-footed strike past Flekken after Jamal Musiala's cross had been deflected into his path.

Die Mannschaft's failure to find a second goal was punished in the 68th minute when substitute Bergwijn thundered home from six yards following Denzel Dumfries' downwards header.

The Netherlands were denied the chance to score a winner soon after when referee Craig Pawson overturned his initial penalty decision for Kehler's foul on Depay after viewing the pitch-side monitor. 

 

 

Former Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has warned compatriot Erik ten Hag against taking the managerial reigns at Old Trafford this summer.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of his Netherlands team's friendly against Germany, Van Gaal said the in-demand Ajax coach "should choose a football club, not a commercial club."

Van Gaal spent two years in the Old Trafford dugout between 2014 and 2016, bringing the club their first major trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement when he led them to the FA Cup in 2016.

With the Red Devils' interim boss Ralf Rangnick widely expected to vacate the post to focus on a consultancy role with the club after an underwhelming season, Van Gaal has warned Ten Hag, considered one of the front runners for the job, against making the move to Manchester. 

The United hierarchy have been reported as having already made contact with the Ajax boss, but his compatriot, though calling Ten Hag a "great coach", believes the move would not be the best for his career.

"I think Ten Hag is a great coach; I said that multiple times," Van Gaal said.

"A great coach is good for Man United. But Man United is a commercial club. 

"Those are difficult choices for a coach. As a coach, you should prefer a football club.

"I won't accompany his career. If he wants that, he will call me. We have conversations with each other.

"He should choose a football club, not a commercial club."

Van Gaal was an outspoken critic of United's commercial activities during his time with the club, lamenting the physical effects of a pre-season tour during his first summer in charge in 2014.

 

Ten Hag has won 153 of his 207 games in charge of the Amsterdam giants in all competitions, but last month's Champions League exit to Benfica was a disappointment, and meant Ajax have failed to win any of their last nine home knockout games in Europe's premier club competition.

Manchester United legend Gary Neville has said he expects an announcement on the club's new manager shortly, with the side facing the prospect of missing out on Champions League football after a frustrating campaign.

The Red Devils have lost two of their last three games under Rangnick in all competitions, having lost just one of their previous 20 matches.

Their recent eliminations from the Champions League and FA Cup, meanwhile, mean United are guaranteed to go five consecutive seasons without lifting a major trophy, with 2017's Europa League triumph under Jose Mourinho representing the club's last taste of silverware.

Hansi Flick expects a strong performance from his Germany team against the Netherlands, as he assesses his side's prospects ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Germany travel to Amsterdam to face their historic rivals in on Tuesday, following Saturday's routine 2-0 win over Israel.

The Oranje, who have won their last 11 games on Dutch soil, should represent a sturdier test, with Flick seeking to build towards a major tournament revival after Germany's failing to make the 2018 World Cup and then underwhelming at Euro 2020.

The former Bayern Munich coach is anticipating a tough contest against Louis van Gaal's side, and is expected to name a strong team after announcing that he wants to win the game "at all costs".

"It will be a good indicator for us," Flick told a pre-match press conference.

"We want to put in a good team performance, try and put our opponents under pressure, force them into mistakes and play our own game.

"I want to win the game at all costs."

Flick will be able to include goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and defender Antonio Rudiger among his starting XI, though he was giving nothing else away.

"All of the players here are available to play," Flick added. "We're very much looking forward to testing ourselves against the Netherlands.

"Neuer and Rudiger will both start.

"Everything else we'll decide in due course, but we will have an incredibly well-prepared team out on the pitch."

Matthijs de Ligt said he "got goosebumps" when Christian Eriksen took to the pitch during Saturday's friendly between the Netherlands and Denmark.

Eriksen had not played for his country since suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch in Copenhagen during Euro 2020 last year.

Yet the former Tottenham and Inter playmaker, who is now back in action with Brentford, returned after a 287-day absence and scored with his very first touch just 114 seconds after coming on as a substitute.

Eriksen, fittingly playing at the stadium where he made his name for Ajax, almost netted a second when a long-range shot hit the woodwork but, with his goal having reduced the arrears to 3-2, it was the hosts who went on to edge out a thrilling contest 4-2 at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.

 

For Dutch centre-back De Ligt, however, playing against the 30-year-old was difficult. Nevertheless, the Juventus defender is thrilled to see the Dane back.

"It's not easy to tackle Eriksen, when he came on the pitch I had the skin go... I got goosebumps," De Ligt told reporters.

"We are players but also human beings, in those moments you have to think about playing, but it's clear that we are all happy that he is back playing at this level."

Eriksen did not create a chance for Kasper Hjulmand's side, but did put in a joint team-high three crosses (all from set-pieces) and completed 31 of his 36 attempted passes.

Christian Eriksen could not hide his delight after scoring on his return to international football, despite Denmark's 4-2 loss away to the Netherlands on Saturday, saying he "felt like a footballer" again.

Following his cardiac arrest during Denmark's opening group game against Finland at Euro 2020, Eriksen found the net within two minutes of coming onto the pitch to joyfully end a 287-day absence.

He almost scored a second in his return match, rattling the frame of the goal from long distance.

Yet simply being on the pitch for Denmark provided satisfaction for Eriksen.

"I felt like a footballer again. I have been away internationally for so long," he told NOS.

"I'm just very happy to be back. To also score is that little bit extra, it gives a wonderful feeling. I was looking forward to it."

A warm reception for the former Tottenham and Inter man was inevitable, but playing in the city and stadium where he made his name – having spent five years at Ajax – made for a particularly special moment, Eriksen sharing an embrace with former Ajax team-mate Daley Blind, who continues to play with a heart defibrillator.

For Eriksen, rhe only thing that could have added to the occasion would have been a second goal.

"It's great that I scored, but I would rather have scored two. It's a shame the ball didn't go in," he said.

"I had wonderful years here and I remembered where the goal was here in the Arena."

Denmark will finish their international window when they host Serbia on Tuesday.

Christian Eriksen scored two minutes into his international comeback as Denmark fell to a 4-2 loss against the Netherlands in Saturday's friendly at Johan Cruijff ArenA.

The midfielder was back in Denmark's squad for the first time since suffering a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 and made an instant impact after being brought on at half-time.

Eriksen's well-taken goal, coming at the ground where he made a name for himself with Ajax, got Denmark back into the game after the hosts opened up a 3-1 lead at the break.

Steven Bergwijn and Nathan Ake netted either side of Jannik Vestergaard's leveller before Memphis Depay converted a penalty, with Bergwijn rounding things off after Eriksen's strike.

 

The Netherlands had already tested Kasper Schmeichel three times before Bergwijn met Daley Blind's left-sided cross and headed in a 16th-minute opener.

Denmark's response was a swift one, with Joakim Maehle sending in a cross for Vestergaard to glance in a leveller four minutes later after Jesper Lindstrom's free-kick was blocked.

Ake restored the Netherlands' lead shortly before the half-hour mark with another headed goal, finishing from close range once picked out by a fine Steven Berghuis delivery.

Louis van Gaal's men had some breathing space before the interval thanks to a Depay penalty, which was awarded for Vestergaard's challenge on Berghuis.

Denmark lost Yussuf Poulsen and Thomas Delaney to injury but were given a lifeline when Eriksen converted fellow substitute Andreas Skov Olsen's pass with a first-time finish.

Bergwijn's curled effort with 20 minutes to go ended Denmark's hopes of claiming a draw, though there was still time for Eriksen to send a long-range shot off the post.

Ajax's Ryan Gravenberch has acknowledged interest from Bayern Munich, while revealing contract renegotiations have stopped.

The 19-year-old's stock has continued to rise following appearances at Euro 2020, but his contract with Ajax expires at the end of the 2022-23 season.

While in camp with the Netherlands national team, Gravenberch clarified his position with Ajax.

"Contract negotiations have now been stopped," he told NOS. "I have just one more year on my contract now and that's it, really. We'll see.

"My father and agent are very busy with that [handling his contract status] while I focus on football."

In relation to Bayern's reported interest, the midfielder admitted he was well aware.

"Yeah, of course [I've seen the Bayern interest]," he said. "You can read it everywhere, so there is interest from Bayern, but I think there are several clubs.

"I have no idea, I have no idea. But if you're worth 25million, you can be proud because it's a lot of money, of course."

Despite the rise in profile, Gravenberch was left out of a recent Dutch squad by Louis van Gaal due to a dip in club form.

After playing 90 minutes as Ajax came from behind to win 3-2 over bitter rivals Feyenoord on Sunday, it was something Gravenberch noted his disagreement on.

"A lesser phase, I don't want to see it that way. Before the winter break I didn't play very well, but after the winter it really only went up," he said.

"Then the team does well and you have to fight yourself back into the team, I just did that in the end. So I don't agree with that [from Van Gaal] so much."

Having already qualified for Qatar, the Oranje will host Denmark and Germany in Amsterdam over the upcoming international window.

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal has tested positive for coronavirus ahead of the friendlies against Denmark and Germany.

Van Gaal is isolating in Woudschoten after returning a positive test on Monday.

Danny Blind, Henk Fraser and Frans Hoek will take on Van Gaal's duties until the Oranje boss is able to link up with the squad again.

Netherlands face Denmark at the Johan Cruijff ArenA on Saturday and take on Germany in Amsterdam three days later.

PSV defender Jordan Teze was last week called up for the upcoming friendlies and is poised to make his debut.

The Oranje qualified for the World Cup in Qatar this year by winning Group G with a 2-0 win over Norway in November.

Louis van Gaal has spoken out for the first time against the World Cup in Qatar in his position as Netherlands coach.

The former Ajax and Manchester United manager is known for speaking his mind, and made clear the strength of his feelings about this year's prestigious competition.

During a news conference on Monday ahead of a friendly against Denmark, the 70-year-old called it "ridiculous" that the tournament will be held in Qatar in November.

"I am a member of a committee with [KNVB Secretary-General] Gijs de Jong. We meet and then I hear what has been agreed with other countries," he said. "Then I hear what we can do and I give my comments.

"I'm on it every month. I have already mentioned it in previous press conferences. I think it's ridiculous that the World Cup is there."

While Van Gaal's position on the World Cup in Qatar has been publicly known, he has not spoken on it since taking over as the Dutch national team coach last August.

"We are playing in a country that FIFA says they want to develop football there," he added. "That's bulls..t, but it doesn't matter. It's about money, about commercial interests. That matters in FIFA.

"Why do you think I'm not on a committee at FIFA or UEFA with my expertise? Because I have always opposed these kinds of organisations. I can say that in Qatar later but that won't help the world get rid of this problem."

The Oranje face Denmark in Amsterdam on Saturday, before also hosting Germany on Tuesday.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) and Koninklijke Nederlandse Cricket Board (KNCB) announced the match schedule for the West Indies Men’s first-ever One Day International (ODI) tour of the Netherlands in 2022.

It's officially a World Cup year, that means footballers all over the globe will be hoping to get themselves into contention for their own shot at glory in Qatar.

Back in November, Stats Perform began their one-year countdown to the biggest show in football by identifying 11 uncapped players who could potential break into their respective national squads before Qatar 2022 got under way.

With February now upon us, we have revisited those players to see how they have been faring and whether a trip to World Cup looks any likelier…

Luis Maximiano (Portugal) – 23, goalkeeper, Granada

Having been one of LaLiga's form goalkeepers during the early stages of the season, Maximiano has been a little rocky lately. Since the start of December, he has conceded 10 times (excluding own goals) in the league despite those chances only being worth 7.9 xG – that puts him at least partly at fault for 2.1 goals, the sixth-worst over that period.

 

Jonathan Clauss (France) – 29, right-back, Lens

Clauss continues to show his worth in Ligue 1. Since December 1, his three assists have been bettered by only Dimitri Payet and Lovro Majer. Granted, the expected assists (xA) value of those was only 1.2, so there's an element of luck or benefiting from expert finishing, but he's still proving himself a good outlet both out wide and from set plays.

 

Bremer (Brazil) – 24, centre-back, Torino

Torino managed to keep Bremer in January before they extended his contract by a year to 2024 on Wednesday. Not only does that protect his value to the club, it was also a just reward for his reliable form. Since December 1, his tally of 21 interceptions is the second-highest among Serie A defenders, as is his 28 aerial wins.

Sven Botman (Netherlands) – 22, centre-back, Lille

Lille stood firm as Newcastle United tried to prise Botman away in January. Over the past two months, the Dutchman has continued to look an imperious presence at the back – his duel success rate (76.5 per cent) is the highest among defenders with at least 300 minutes on the pitch, while only two of those to have engaged in more than 11 aerials can better his success rate (79 per cent) in the air.

Angelino (Spain) – 25, left-back, RB Leipzig

Spain certainly aren't short of quality options in this area of the pitch, but Angelino is still a standout from an attacking sense. Since early December, his 3.0 xA is the best in the Bundesliga, while only five players have played more key passes than him (16).

 

Riqui Puig (Spain) – 22, midfielder, Barcelona

It's not looking good for Puig. It was thought Xavi's arrival might finally be the break he needed, but he has played only 158 minutes of LaLiga football in the past two months, and that was a period that saw Barca under real stress amid an injury and COVID-19 crisis. With players returning to action, including Pedri, few would be surprised to see his minutes reduce even further.

Christopher Nkunku (France) – 24, midfielder, RB Leipzig

Nkunku continues to look to be in with a great chance of forcing himself into France reckoning. Since we last checked on him, the versatile midfielder has scored four non-penalty Bundesliga goals, bettered by only four players (all out-and-out strikers), and laid on three assists. Only five players have tallied more goal involvements over the same period.

 

Alan Velasco (Argentina) – 19, winger, FC Dallas

Young talents leaving South American countries for MLS is becoming a recurring them – Velasco is the latest. The young winger became Dallas' record signing on February 1, reportedly costing $7million. He has not played much in recent months due to the Argentinian football calendar, so it will be intriguing to see if he kicks on when MLS starts again at the end of the month.

Cade Cowell (United States) – 18, forward, San Jose Earthquakes

The first success story on this list! Cowell was given his international bow in December as the USA beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0. He did only feature for 12 minutes, and it was a partly experimental squad, but a cap is a cap.

Amine Gouiri (France) – 21, forward, Nice

Gouiri is another who continues to plug away to good effect. He slowed a little, and his return of five goal involvements (three assists, two goals) in the specified period is bettered by as many as eight players, though only Payet has as many as seven. The exciting forward is still doing well, though he could do with another minor boost.

 

Matias Arezo (Uruguay) – 19, forward, Granada

With the Uruguayan season finishing in early December, Arezo has not played much since his form was last examined – though he did get one more goal to take his seasonal tally to 15 in 29 games for River Plate (URU). That form earned him his shot in Europe, with Granada pulling off a potentially major coup in bringing him to Spain for about €3million. He awaits a first senior cap, though Uruguay are back in an automatic qualification spot.

Christian Eriksen had his contract terminated with Inter last month.

The Danish midfielder has been training with Ajax in recent weeks.

But the 29-year-old former Tottenham star is set to return to England.

 

TOP STORY – ERIKSEN SET TO COMPLETE BEES DEAL

Former Inter midfielder Eriksen is set to complete a deal to join Brentford in the next 72 hours according to the Mirror.

Ex-Tottenham star Eriksen has agreed terms but needs to pass a medical with the Bees to seal the imminent deal.

The Denmark international, who suffered a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020, was unable to play for Inter this season due to Italian football regulations.

 

ROUND-UP

- Newcastle United will open new talks with Brighton as they move to sign Yves Bissouma, claims the Daily Mail. The Magpies are also pondering an offer for Tottenham's Dele Alli.

- The Sun reports that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola may be lured away with by the offer to take over as the Netherlands national team boss. The Dutch deal would start in 2023 when his current contract expires.

- West Ham will make a bumper move for Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin claims The Sun. The deal would be worth £60million.

- Mundo Deportivo claims that ex-Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj is set to extend his current deal with Real Sociedad .

- Diego Carlos' representatives are trying to convince Sevilla to sell him to Newcastle with a £60m deal on the table according to 90min.

Italy were drawn to face England and Germany in a tough 2022-23 Nations League group on Thursday.

The Azzurri beat England in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley in July and the two sides will do battle again in Group A3 of the Nations League.

They will also face Germany and Hungary home and away in matches that will take place next June and September 2022.

Holders France are in Group A1 along with Croatia, Denmark and Austria.

World champions France were crowned champions when they came from behind to beat Spain 2-1 at San Siro in October.

Spain were drawn in Group A2 and will come up against Portugal, Czech Republic and Switzerland in the third edition of the UEFA competition.

Belgium, who squandered a two-goal lead to lose against France at the semi-final stage of the Nations League two months ago, will take on Netherlands, Poland and Wales.

Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Ukraine and Armenia are in League B Group 1.

Russia, Iceland, Israel and Albania will do battle in Group B2, with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland and Romania in Group B3.

Group B4 will see Serbia, Sweden, Norway and Slovenia lock horns as they strive to secure promotion.

Four of the six matchdays will be in June due to the scheduling of the World Cup in Qatar later in 2022.

The four group winners in League A will advance to the Nations League Finals in June 2023. The group winners in the other three leagues will all be promoted for the 2024-25 edition.

South Africa and Netherlands could abandon their three-match ODI series without a match being completed as escalating COVID-19 concerns coincided with a rain abandonment on Friday.

Worries about an emerging strand of the coronavirus have caused a number of countries, including the Netherlands, to halt incoming flights from South Africa.

The Dutch cricket board – the KNCB – has held discussions with Cricket South Africa (CSA) about prospects for the scheduled second and third matches in their series going ahead on Sunday and Wednesday, promising a swift decision.

The first game at SuperSport Park in Centurion fell victim to the weather on Friday, with South Africa totting up 277-8 before Netherlands were halted at 11-0 in their reply as rain fell.

Centurion is located in Gauteng Province, which is where a large proportion of cases of the new COVID-19 strand have been detected. SuperSport Park is also due to stage the second and third games in the series.

In a joint statement, both boards said: "Cricket South Africa and Koninklijke Nederlandse Cricket Bond are aware of news reports doing the rounds regarding the Netherlands tour to South Africa being cancelled or postponed.

"Both boards can confirm that following updated information, it is highly unlikely that the visiting team will be able to fly out of South Africa before their scheduled flight. The KNCB is reviewing all of its options, while prioritising the physical and mental well-being of its players.

"A decision on the continuation of the series will follow in the next 24 to 48 hours, while all flight options are being considered."

Kyle Verreynne anchored South Africa's innings in the opening ODI, coming in at 24-2 and going on to make 95 from 112 deliveries.

Janneman Malan (16) and Reeza Hendricks (6) faltered at the top of the order as both fell to Fred Klaassen (2-45), but Verreynne and Zubayr Hamza (56) put on 119 for the third wicket.

A top-edged pull from Hamza off Brandon Glover saw Scott Edwards take an easy catch to break up that alliance, and Verreynne was one big hit away from a maiden international century when he flogged a full toss from Vivian Kingma to Bas de Leede on the deep square leg boundary.

Andile Phehlukwayo flayed the Dutch attack for 48 from 22 balls, hitting six sixes before Glover improved his expensive figures slightly to 2-70 by bowling the all-rounder with the final ball of the innings.

Tabraiz Shamsi says there is no chance South Africa will be "slacking off" when they face the Netherlands in a historic three-match ODI series.

Temba Bavuma is among a host of South Africa players to be given a rest for matches that will form part of the Cricket World Cup Super League, so Keshav Maharaj leads the side in a series that starts at SuperSport Park on Friday.

South Africa are ninth in the Super League standings, while the Netherlands are bottom but have only played three matches as they eye a place in the 2023 World Cup.

The Dutch are very much underdogs for their first full international series against the Proteas in South Africa.

Shamsi says South Africa will not be taking anything for granted as they look to put the disappointment of missing out on the T20 World Cup semi-finals behind them.

The spinner said: "It is going to be a good challenge. They are obviously going to be up to the fight but so are we because we have some new guys in the squad. That's a lovely opportunity for all of us to put in performances and to put our hands up.

"As you have seen, we have a World Cup basically every year and we always want to win but the simple thing is to prepare as best as we can.

"We can't take these guys lightly because they have quality players in the squad. They have a lot of guys who have been playing county cricket as well but we are definitely not slacking off.

"Just looking at the opposition, they have some quality players in their squad and we will have to be at our best to beat them and get all the Super League points."

 

Proteas pacers can show strength in depth

South Africa are set to unleash a new-look pace attack on the Netherlands after Lungi Ngidi joined the list of absentees following his positive coronavirus test.

With Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje rested, there will be a chance for Sisanda Magala, Daryn Dupavillon and Junior Dala to charge in.

The experienced Wayne Parnell makes a long-awaited return, while Dwaine Pretorius and Andile Phehlukwayo are also included.

Khaya Zondo is also back in the squad over three years after the middle-order batsman played his last ODI.

 

Feeling at home on tour

The tourists will have a former South Africa international in their ranks as Roelof van der Merwe returns to his homeland.

Colin Ackermann, Stephan Myburgh, Brandon Glover and Clayton Floyd were also born in South Africa, while Ryan ten Doeschate has taken on a mentor role following his recent retirement. 

The Netherlands have been smarting from failing to qualify for the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup, having lost all three matches.

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