The Netherlands took home the full three points on Sunday, scraping past a resilient Poland side 2-1 to kick off their Euro 2024 campaign. Super-sub Wout Weghorst made the difference to complete a sensational come-from-behind victory.

Poland entered the game without star striker Robert Lewandowski, who suffered a thigh injury in one of their pre-Euro friendlies. The Dutch, down Frenkie de Jong and Teun Koopmeiners, were also missing Ajax winger Brian Brobbey to a hamstring injury

Poland started the game with a bang. Star midfielder Piotr Zieliński lofted a well-hit corner to striker Adam Buksa in the 15th minute, who powered a header past Dutch stopper Bart Verbruggen. The Netherlands faced the tall task of breaking down Poland’s low block, with Poland committed to getting at least a point from the match.

The Netherlands struck back through Cody Gakpo. Nathan Aké won a ball out of the air and laid it off to the winger. Gakpo then cut inside and fired a low shot, which took a heavy deflection from Bartosz Salamon. Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who had already dove for the seemingly easy save, couldn’t get to the ball in time.

Netherlands struggles for winner against Poland

The Netherlands struggled to find a winner after, and the frustration was evident on the players’ faces. Despite generating 21 shots, the Dutch only steered four shots on target. There was a rift between the Netherlands’ offensive stars, with Memphis Depay, Donyell Malen, and Denzel Dumfries arguing after missed chances.

Gakpo had a huge chance to give the Dutch its first lead of the afternoon after he found himself on the receiving end of an Aké cutback with only the keeper to beat. But, the Liverpool star blasted his shot well over the bar.

Arsenal fullback Jakub Kiwior nearly scored Poland’s second in the 58th minute. After receiving the ball in the box, Kiwior blasted a shot to Verbruggen’s left. The shot took a huge deflection on its way to the goal, but the Brighton stopper forced the ball away.

After subbing on Depay, Weghorst scored the game’s winning goal in the 85th. Aké strolled into the final third with no Polish player to check him. The City defender played an incisive through ball that spun past the marauding Denzel Dumfries and into Weghorst’s feet. Weghorst struck the ball with one touch, powering the ball past Szczesny to put the Netherlands up 2-1.

Striker Karol Swiderski had the opportunity to even the game for Poland and rescue their chances of a draw in the 89th minute. Jakub Piotrowski strode into the box with an incisive dribble and found Swiderski open at the six-yard line. However, Swiderski, under heavy pressure from Virgil van Dijk, sent his attempt just past the post.

Netherlands have advantage after win

The Dutch have a huge advantage after winning three points in their first match. They won’t necessarily have to play to win against France — four points is enough to advance out of the group stage. The Netherlands are also favorites in their match against Austria, meaning they have a fair chance of finishing first in their group.

Poland will need to get their points elsewhere, and their best chance is in a pivotal clash with Austria. Austria is likely to not take any points from their Monday match against France. A win against Poland could set them up to take away points from France in Group D or even qualify as one of the best third-placed finishers.

The Netherlands plays France on Friday at 3 PM EST, while Poland faces Austria on Friday at noon EST.