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Van Dijk believes World Cup could be 'special' for the Netherlands following win over Belgium

7:40 AM WAT 26/09/2022
Virgil van Dijk Netherlands 2022
Virgil van Dijk believes the 2022 World Cup could be a “special” event for the Netherlands as they will head to Qatar full of confidence.
  • Rare international goal for defender
  • One cap away from 50
  • Senegal next up in November

WHAT HAPPENED? Louis van Gaal’s side took in their final pre-tournament outing on Sunday, with their talismanic captain registering a rare international goal to help edge out Belgium in the UEFA Nations League. An impressive Dutch outfit will be heading to the finals of that competition in summer 2023, but only after another shot at global glory has been taken in this winter.

WHAT THEY SAID: Van Dijk told reporters after seeing his solitary effort earn a 1-0 victory over Belgium in Amsterdam: "It was not a good game, but we won. That's what we came for. This gives a nice feeling, although it should be much better.

"But we must not forget that we are playing against Belgium. That's one of the best teams in the world. We are going to the World Cup with a good feeling. We kept the clean sheet here and won. We're going for it, we're going to give everything. Hopefully it will be a special World Cup."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Van Dijk earned his 49th cap for the Netherlands on Sunday night, meaning he is set to reach a half-century of appearances for his country in their World Cup opener against Senegal on November 21.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

DID YOU KNOW? The Netherlands have tasted victory in 37 matches during Van Gaal's three spells in charge. Under no manager has the Dutch national team won more international games.

WHAT NEXT FOR VAN DIJK? The commanding 31-year-old centre-half, who has seen questions asked of his form this season, is now preparing to turn his attention back to domestic matters and a return to Premier League action with Liverpool at home to Brighton on Saturday.