Netherlands beat Ukraine in Euro 2020 thriller


Dumfries header gave Netherlands a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Ukraine in the Euro 2020 as they mark their return to the competition after seven years.

Dumfries, the PSV Eindhoven full-back, headed in a cross
from substitute Nathan Ake to complete a madcap second half after the home side
eased into a two-goal lead and then threw it away.

Captain Georginio Wijnaldum and Wout Weghorst both scored
before the hour mark in front a raucous crowd at the Johan Cruyff Arena, only
for Ukraine to silence the home supporters as Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman
Yaremchuk netted to briefly restore parity.

Frank de Boer’s side got there in the end and the victory
will provide a major lift to the Netherlands after what was their first game at
a major competition in seven years.

They will now hope to build on it on Thursday against
Austria, who beat North Macedonia earlier in Bucharest in the same Group C.

It was a brilliant game, and a crowd of around 16,000
created an atmosphere fit for the occasion at the home of Ajax, where
supporters held up banners with messages of support for Christian Eriksen
following the Denmark star’s cardiac arrest on Saturday.

Eriksen made his name at Ajax before moving to Tottenham
Hotspur in 2013.

After failing to qualify for Euro 2016 or the 2018 World Cup
in Russia, the Netherlands were playing their first game at a major competition
since beating hosts Brazil 3-0 to claim third place at the 2014 World Cup.

They had not won a game at a Euro in almost exactly 13
years, since Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Robin van Persie netted in a 2-0 win over Romania
at Euro 2008.

The emergence of the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs
de Ligt has given supporters of the Oranje new hope for the future.

Those supporters were in fine spirits ahead of the game,
bedecked in orange as they filled the bars around the ground in the blazing
sunshine, thoughts of the pandemic appearing far away.

A new-look

Yet Dutch optimism has been tempered by selection problems
facing coach De Boer.

Juventus defender De Ligt watched this game from the stand
as he recovers from a groin injury, his absence added to that of fellow
centre-back star Virgil van Dijk who is absent from the tournament with the
serious knee injury that cut short his season with Liverpool.

Manchester United’s Donny van de Beek withdrew from the
squad because of injury and first-choice goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen was left
out altogether after testing positive for Covid-19.

De Boer has switched to a 3-5-2 formation and he has real
stars in Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong as well as Memphis Depay up

The system has helped Wijnaldum — who will join Paris
Saint-Germain from Liverpool after the Euro — develop into a real goal-scoring
threat from midfield while Dumfries was a constant threat down the right flank.

He should have scored late in the first half when he
contrived to put a free header wide, after Ukraine goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan
had produced a fine save to keep out a deflected Wijnaldum volley.

The hosts got their reward shortly after the restart when
Bushchan turned a dangerous low ball into the box by Dumfries out into the path
of Wijnaldum who fired home.

Weghorst then lashed in a loose ball that came to him
following more havoc wrought by Dumfries, and the Netherlands seemed to be on
easy street.

Maarten Stekelenburg, at 38 the oldest player ever to
represent the Netherlands at a major tournament, had not had much to do but
then he was beaten in the 75th minute by a brilliant curling strike from
Yarmolenko, the West Ham United winger.

Yaremchuk then headed in a Ruslan Malinovskyi free-kick and
Ukraine — whose build-up to the tournament was overshadowed by a row about
patriotic slogans on their shirt which upset Russia — looked set to leave with
a draw, but then Dumfries appeared.

Author: desi123 is an online news portal that aims to provide the latest trendy news for Asians living in Asia and around the World.

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