• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Netherlands outclass Romania to reach Quarter-Finals of Euro 2024

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The Netherlands secured their spot in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals with a 3-0 victory over Romania in the last-16 fixture on Tuesday, despite missing several scoring chances.

Ronald Koeman’s side had 23 attempts on the night, but it was a fine Cody Gakpo strike in the first half and a late double from half-time substitute Donyell Malen that sealed their place in the last eight.

The Dutch advanced to their first European Championship quarter-final since 2008 as Donyell Malen scored twice in the 3-0 win over Romania. Cody Gakpo gave the Dutch an early lead, but were unable to convert pressure into a crucial second goal until the Liverpool forward set up Malen with seven minutes remaining in Munich.

Romania were gritty but outclassed, lacking the quality to punish their opponents’ profligacy before Malen added his second on the counter in stoppage time.

The victory set the Oranje on course for a quarter-final clash with Turkey or Austria, who beat the Netherlands 3-2 in the group stage.

“We played a good game. I’m very pleased. Especially after the last game, we needed a reaction, and today was a good step in the right direction,” Gakpo said.

“We talked a lot about the aggression, the intensity, and defending like a team. It was a good step. Sacrifice something for each other and work really hard to be at your best. Good game overall.”

Ronald Koeman’s side will need to improve their effectiveness in front of goal should they wish to emulate their manager, who was a player for the Dutch when they won the 1988 Euros on German soil.

Prior to the game, Netherlands’ captain Virgil van Dijk said his side lacked energy and the “will to win” in the loss to Austria. Despite Van Dijk’s rallying cry, the Dutch were still flat in the early stages.

Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman said, “It is sometimes difficult to say why you play badly in one game and then can reach a high level the next match. We were sharp from the beginning today and that made the difference.

“Maybe one critical point is that it took too long to score the second goal. We have great talent in this team, but of course, you need to win something, then people can start to compare it with [winning the Euros in] 1988.

“But it is more difficult now, football has changed, it is more physical, you need to be fast and technically good. England, Portugal, everybody has their own problems to continue in this tournament.”

Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk added, “Very proud, sure, and pleased as well. We were defensively sound and solid and did not give up much.

“We could have scored a lot more. After a turbulent week, where a lot was said, we had to show something, and we did that. We are self-critical and we knew it had to be a lot better after the last game, and everyone had to take responsibility, and today they showed they wanted to. Everyone went for the duels, won the second ball, and made the chances. Playing good football gives us self-confidence.”