Netherlands 1-1 Spain: Van de Beek scores again to cancel out maiden Canales strike

Donny van de Beek made it two goals in as many games for the Netherlands as he cancelled out Sergio Canales’ maiden strike for Spain in Wednesday’s 1-1 friendly draw.

The Netherlands were seeking their first win in four attempts under Frank de Boer but got off to a bad start at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.

Alvaro Morata marked his return to the Spain side with an assist for Canales’ well-taken opener but Van de Beek added to his goal against Italy last month to level matters. 

Memphis Depay should have won the game for De Boer’s men in a second half that saw Sergio Ramos come on to earn his 176th Spain cap and equal the European record held by Italian great Gianluigi Buffon.

The hosts were already without captain Virgil van Dijk and lost fellow centre-back Nathan Ake to an apparent hamstring injury inside the opening six minutes.

That stoppage did little to halt Spain’s flow and they took the lead through Canales’ calm finish past Marco Bizot after being played in by in-form striker Morata.

Luuk de Jong had a weak penalty appeal rejected and then tested debutant Unai Simon, while Bizot was equal to Morata’s edge-of-the-box effort at the opposite end.

But Van de Beek drew the Netherlands level 105 seconds into the second half as he ghosted in to meet Owen Wijndal’s left-sided cross and drilled the ball home.

Koke, another Spain player brought in from the cold to captain the side, volleyed over a glorious chance on the hour mark and Hector Bellerin’s low drive was pushed to safety.

An even bigger chance fell the way of Depay, who had time to get the ball out of his feet in the Spain box but could not squeeze the shot past Simon.

Ramos was brought on in the final stages for his landmark cap but the game ultimately petered out.

2 – Donny van de Beek scored two goals with his last two shots for @OnsOranje, after failing to find the net with his first 10 attempts for the Netherlands. Roaring.

— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) November 11, 2020

What does it mean? Bigger games to come for both sides

The Nations League campaign concludes with a couple of fixtures for both sides over the next week and those games understandably take priority.

This friendly offered Luis Enrique and De Boer a chance to experiment a little, with both coaches making changes in what was an entertaining enough match on the whole.

There was ultimately little between the European heavyweights, who have both already qualified for next year’s rescheduled Euro 2020, as they both managed four shots on target

Morata makes his mark

The striker was recalled to the Spain squad after a year-long absence thanks to his impressive form for Juventus and made the most of his chance against the Netherlands.

Morata played in Canales with a nice pass for the breakthrough, making it six goals and three assists in nine appearances this season.

Depay on the periphery

The Lyon forward has again been talked up as a Barcelona target this week by his former boss Ronald Koeman but was unable to really get going today.

No player on the field lost possession more times (16), equal with Wijndal, and he really should have buried the chance that fell his way in the second period.

What’s next?

The Netherlands host Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday in their penultimate Nations League fixture, a day after Spain travel to Switzerland.

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