In a massive road game against Greece, the Netherlands took a massive step toward qualifying for Euro 2024 with a late win. Virgil van Dijk scored the only goal of the game with a penalty near the end of the 90 minutes. The hosts now have the pole position to advance alongside France out of its group.
Yet, it did not come easy. Chances were few and far between for both sides on Monday.
The Netherlands took advantage of a calamitous situation in the 25th minute. Hartman lobbed a cross into the box from the left-hand side. Virgil van Dijk waited in the penalty box among a crowd of Greek and Dutch players. Jostling with Konstantinos Koulierakis, van Dijk and the Greek defender went to the ground. With three Greek defenders on the pitch with van Dijk, the referee awarded a penalty. He deemed Koulierakis pulled down van Dijk.
Wout Weghorst stepped up to take the penalty. Greece goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos dove to his left-hand side and saved the tame penalty from the Hoffenheim striker.
The Netherlands had the other major chance of the half in the 44th minute. Virgil van Dijk played a superb ball from the back to Steven Bergwijn, who was now in on goal. Bergwijn took it on first time, but he bounced his shot into a diving Vlachodimos. The Greek goalkeeper parried the ball away for a corner.
The Netherlands leaves it late to defeat Greece in Euro qualifying
In the second half, the Netherlands and Greece traded similar opportunities to find the opener. Greece had the first chance. Fotis Ioannidis made a marauding run down the right side. However, his angle of attack on goal was too tight. His shot hit the outside of Bart Verbruggen’s net. The Netherlands responded by coming down the left side. The Dutch forced another save out of Vlachodimos, and Xavi Simons put his rebound attempt wide.
The two sides traded attempts throughout the second half. Neither side truly generated a standout chance like the Netherlands did in the first 45. Instead, it came down to another decision from the referee. Greek defenders brought down Denzel Dumfries, who made his way into the opponent’s box.
After a lengthy penalty check from VAR that bled into the six added minutes, including the referee going to the monitor, the call on the field stood. Wout Weghorst, who took the first penalty, was on the bench after a second-half substitution. The man to step up was the one who won the original penalty from the first half, Virgil van Dijk. The center-back made no mistake, as he powered a ball into the right side of the net to give the Netherlands a massive goal.
Greece had just six minutes to find a response. It sprayed balls forward, but the Dutch held strong on each attempt. In fact, it was the Netherlands who forced another VAR review for a potential penalty. The referee still waved it off, and he added more time to the original six minutes. It did not matter, and the Netherlands picked up a massive three points in Euro 2024 qualifying.
PHOTO: IMAGO / ANE Edition
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