Wout Weghorst ended Wales’ superb undefeated streak at home by scoring the winning goal late in injury time as the Netherlands beat Cardiff 2-1.
The Netherlands were chasing their 11th game unbeaten under Louis van Gaal, and a Teon Kompeners goal set the team on their way to achieving just that.
Both teams produced two weak teams – in the case of the Netherlands they made 11 changes from the team that crushed Belgium 4-1 in the opening match of the Nations League.
Robert Page had made seven changes from Wales’ historic win over World Cup-qualified Ukraine, and Gareth Bale’s 13-minute appearance off the bench easily made for the night’s biggest cheer.
It had the desired effect, as Wales found another tool in the final minutes and Reese Norrington Davies headed the equalizer in stoppage time from Conor Roberts’ cross.
But just when Wales thought they had done enough to gain a point and extend their unbeaten run to 20 games, the visitors reclaimed the lead with a Wigghurst header after a fine strike from Frenkie de Jong.
That was enough for a 2-1 win as he took charge of his group in the Nations League after beating Belgium 4-1 five days ago.
Bill: We need to learn the dark arts
Gareth Bale speaking to S4C:
“It was a tough match where we didn’t have a full strength squad but the boys who came in worked hard. To get the equalizer and then the concession it was tough but we have to learn the dark arts to beat it. We need to use this as a learning experience. If that happens again in the World Cup, we need to do what we have to do.
“We are in Group A because we deserve to be here and test ourselves against the best player in the world. If you are at a level below you can probably get away with this late chance but when you play in the big teams and don’t do things you have to be punished. It is hard to bear it. But we are a young team.”
Page: We weren’t wise enough
Wales coach Rob Page said: “I feel the same way I did after Poland where I’m disappointed we didn’t get a draw. It was a great opportunity but we showed naivety to see the game over. That’s a lesson in the values of learning. That’s the benefit of the night where we have to learn.” From those mistakes with young players who know they need to be tough in the middle of the park to make a mistake to see the match. That’s what disappointed me tonight but I can’t blame the players, I’m really proud of them against a very good Dutch team.
“We weren’t wise enough to get the job done.”
Opta . stats
- The Netherlands have won all nine of their encounters against Wales, 26-6.
- Wales suffered their first home defeat in a competitive international match since November 2018 (also against Denmark in the Nations League), having not lost in 13 such matches in tonight’s match.
- The Netherlands are unbeaten in 11 matches in all competitions since Louis van Gaal’s return as coach (W8 D3). The last time they went unbeaten in a long streak was between 2012 and 2013, when they went 17 games unbeaten – also under Van Gaal.
Wales host Belgium at Cardiff City at 7.45pm on Saturday while the Netherlands host Poland at the same time at De Koep Stadium in Rotterdam.