The Netherlands came back from an early setback to beat the Republic of Ireland 2-1 in the European Championship Qualifiers at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday evening.
The Irish came into the encounter at the back of a 2-0 loss at the hands of France while the Netherlands, playing under Ronald Koeman had easily dispatched Greece in their previous assignment.
Ireland make a dream start
Ireland got off to a dream start when they took the lead in the fourth minute. Shane Duffy’s header struck Virgil Van Dijk’s outstretched hand in the penalty box and from the resultant spot kick, Adam Idah made it 1-0 for the hosts.
It was an end-to-end contest in the opening fifteen minutes as the Netherlands settled into the game, displaying their passing game and looking to hit back from the early setback.
The visitors restored parity as they earned a penalty of their own in the 18th minute. Cody Gakpo released Dezel Dumfries with an inch-perfect pass and the latter was clipped by Gavin Bazunu in the Ireland box.
Gakpo stepped up to restore parity in what had been an entertaining first twenty minutes. It was all Dutch from there on.
Koeman’s side displayed attacking football of the highest order and should have been ahead going to halftime.
The Oranje looked comfortable on the ball and displayed signs of their old free-flowing style with players interchanging positions to create problems for the opposition.
Tactical changes lead to Dutch victory
A change of system worked for the Dutch as Wout Weghorst scored in the 56th minute following a wonderful move as they went 2-1 ahead.
Frenkie De Jong released Dumfries and the Inter right wing-back headed the ball across to Weghorst, who finished emphatically as the Oranje deservedly took the lead.
The hosts did threaten to equalize in the last fifteen minutes, bringing on options from the bench and switching their system of their own.
However, they failed to create any clear-cut openings as the Dutch held on for a vital win in Group B.
Photo credit: IMAGO / ANP
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