Nations League: Bergwijn strike takes Netherlands past Poland

The Netherlands came up with a crisp performance to beat Poland, while the Czech Republic claimed a 3-1 away win over neighbouring Slovakia.

Steven Bergwijn celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal.   -  REUTERS

Netherlands forward Steven Bergwijn scored just past the hour mark to secure a hard-fought 1-0 win over Poland in its opening Nations League clash on Friday as heavy home pressure finally paid dividends at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

Netherlands, runners-up in last year's inaugural edition of the competition, was playing its first game since the departure of coach Ronald Koeman to Barcelona last month but kept up its crisp performances of the last two years.

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Bergwijn tapped the ball home in the 61st minute after a characteristic sweeping move, playing under interim coach Dwight Lodeweges in the League A Group 1 match.

Frenkie de Jongs sweeping ball and Hans Hateboers assist gave Tottenham Hotspur's Bergwijn the simple task of finishing from close range to score his first international goal.

De Jong had hit the upright with the last touch of the first half, after a clever flick over the top of the defence by Memphis Depay. De Jong chested the ball down and swivelled a shot towards goal, only to be denied by the woodwork.

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There was also a good chance for Depay early in the second half but he was caught unawares when the Polish defence failed to clear an incoming cross.

Poland was missing Robert Lewandowski after the Bayern Munich striker was given time off following Champions League success last month but did see Krzysztof Piatek force a good save out of Jasper Cillessen just past the half-hour.

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His side-footed shot was parried away by the keeper after Poland had split the Dutch defence with a quick counter. But it was the only real chance as the host dominated the match.

"Not many of our players had many minutes in the legs but we trained hard this week and worked well and we achieved a very professional performance, as a result," said Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk.

Netherlands next host Italy in Amsterdam on Monday, while Poland visits Bosnia in Zenica.

- Czech Republic beats Slovakia 3-1 -

The Czech Republic claimed a 3-1 away win over neighbouring Slovakia after finally breaking down its opponents with three second-half goals.

The Czechs pressed high and controlled much of the League B Group 2 match but could not find the cutting edge in the first half in which Sparta Prague's 18-year-old striker Adam Hlozek made his debut as the youngest ever Czech international.

Vladimir Coufal gave the Czechs the lead just after the break when Slovak goalkeeper Dominik Greif parried Jakub Jankto's cross for the Slavia Prague player to slot home.

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Borek Dockal notched the second in the 53rd minute when he beat the keeper from the penalty spot after Slovakia's Norbert Gyomber brought down Lukas Masopust in the area.

Michael Krmencţk rounded off the Czech scoring in the 86th before Ivan Schranz netted for the Slovaks two minutes later.

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