- Frank de Boer’s side took control of the game right from the get-go and created a raft of chances.
- On Sunday, the Netherlands defeated Ukraine 3-2
Netherlands hosted Ukraine at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, as they returned to a major competition for the first time in over six years, EKO HOT BLOG gathered.
Oranje failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup in what was a tumultuous period for the great footballing nation, but Euro 2020 is a massive chance for them to make their presence felt on the big stage.
In what was a captivating encounter against an impressive Ukraine side under Andriy Shevchenko, the home side won by the odd goal in five after a goal-laden second half.
Gini Wijnaldum, who is the stand-in captain in the absence of Virgil van Dijk, started the game strongly, while Denzel Dumfries also enjoyed a lot of joy on the right flank.
Ukraine goalkeeper Heorhiy Bushchan endured a heroic outing in the first half, as he made a series of outstanding saves to keep the scores level.
Netherlands created a lot of chances, but they lacked the cutting edge upfront and were guilty of not making the most of a few clear-cut opportunities.
The second half proved to be one for the ages, as both sides stepped it up a notch to play out an intriguing 45 minutes of football.
Netherlands finally broke the deadlock through Wijnaldum, who slammed the ball into the top corner after the ball fell kindly to him inside the penalty area.
Wout Weghorst added another goal minutes later with an instinctive finish from close range after a good bit of work from Dumfries on the right flank.
Ukraine were left to rue their missed chances in the first half, as they struggled to get back into the game after going two goals behind. However, Shevchenko’s side dug deep and staged a magnificent comeback to restore parity on the night.
Andriy Yarmolenko scored one of the goals of the competition so far with a stunning effort from outside the area to give his side a glimmer of home.
Netherlands let their guards down and were made to pay for a lapse in concentration, as Roman Yaremchuk completed the comeback with a headed goal from close range.
In a second half that was filled with twists and turns, Dumfries struck the telling blow in the closing stages of the game to record a morale-boosting victory for the Netherlands.
The PSV captain headed in a Nathan Ake cross at the far post to give his side a priceless three points to kick start Euro 2020.
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