Louis van Gaal felt this victory was never in doubt – but the Dutch left it late.
The veteran Dutch boss emerged from this satisfied with the Oranje after two goals in the final six minutes sealed beat the reigning African champs. Midfielder Cody Gakpo broke the deadlock six minutes from time – beating Edouard Mendy to Frenkie de Jong’s cross.
And then Davy Klaassen added a second in the dying moments after Mendy could only parry sub Memphis Depay’s shot into his path.
Van Gaal, who believes his side will perform better than the Dutch vintage he managed eight years ago that finished third in Brazil, was content with the show rather than overjoyed.
He said: “Was it an efficient victory? Of course it was. Listen to me, we played with poor ball possession in the first half but nonetheless we created five chances.
“It was more balanced in the second half. We created one chance and scored twice and, to be honest, I was calm. I always had the feeling we would score. So it was well deserved although we were shoddy in possession.”
The Dutch were one of nine teams to suffer FIFA’s clampdown on wearing the ‘One Love’ armband. Van Gaal added: “We’re not going to wear it if Virgil van Dijk is going to get a yellow card. We’re here to be world champions. That’s our purpose. All of us need to ask if this is a proper action by FIFA.”
Van Gaal had been sweating on the fitness of his leading light Depay who has been struggling with a hamstring problem but his introduction from the bench livened proceedings.
With just six minutes remaining on the clock, he was involved in a triangle of passes that ended with De Jong swinging over a cross from the lef