Netherlands beats Latvia 1-0 in World Cup qualifying Group G

RIGA, Latvia (AP) — Davy Klaassen scored the only goal as the Netherlands beat Latvia 1-0 to solidify its position at the top of Europe Group G in World Cup qualifying as Turkey and Norway played out a 1-1 in Istanbul.

Midfielder Klaassen scored his eighth international goal in the 19th minute, easing into space and volleying home a corner from the right by Memphis Depay.

A minute later, Klaassen was in action at the other end, blocking a shot by Roberts Uldriķis after a quick break by Latvia.

“We should have been better. But three points are very important for qualification,” captain Virgil van Dijk told Dutch broadcaster NOS.

The results left the Netherlands two points ahead of second-placed Norway.

The hosts were largely content to defend against a Dutch team that had scored 22 goals in six matches going into the qualifier in Riga. The Netherlands pushed forward throughout the match but after Klaassen’s strike could not find a way through the Latvian defense.

Substitutes Noa Lang and Ryan Granvenberch had shots blocked in the second half and Depay curled a shot wide as the Dutch attack failed to fire.

Latvia pushed players forward in the closing minutes and substitute Igors Tarasovs almost snatched a point for the home team in second-half stoppage time, but Justin Bijlow made a good save.

Second-placed Norway, playing without injured striker Erling Haaland, went a goal down to Turkey thanks to a sixth-minute strike by Kerem Aktürkoğlu in Istanbul before Kristian Thorstvedt levelled in the 41st.

Montenegro beat Gibraltar 3-0 in the day’s other Group G match.

The Netherlands takes on Gibraltar on Monday in Rotterdam, while Norway hosts Montenegro, and Turkey plays Latvia in Riga.

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