The Republic of Ireland gave the Netherlands a tricky test in Dublin, but a solid second half performance saw Ronald Koeman’s side claim all three points in the Group B clash. The Netherlands started the game with three changes to the side that cruised to a 3-0 victory over Greece last Thursday. Matthijs de Ligt came in for the injured Lutsharel Geertruida. Mats Wieffer played over Marten de Roon and Donyell Malen started over Wout Weghorst.
It was stressful start to the game for the visitors, who conceded a penalty within the first four minutes. A shot struck the arm of Virgil van Dijk in the penalty area which resulted in Ireland’s Adam Idah stepping up for the spot kick. The 22-year-old converted, putting the Netherlands under pressure.
Less than 15 minutes later, a similar event occurred at the other end of the pitch. This time, Ireland goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu pulled down Denzel Dumfries in the box to give away a penalty. Cody Gakpo stepped up to level the score. In the second half, it was Wout Weghorst who won his country the game. A brilliant header found its way into the back of the net to give the Netherlands the victory. Here’s how everyone got on in the game:
Netherlands player ratings
Mark Flekken – 5 – A poor game for Mark Flekken on a personal level, in what was only his fifth appearance for his national team. The Brentford keeper’s short passes regularly put his own defenders in danger, with Ireland applying pressure. Flekken could have played more long balls, but instead opted to play dangerous short passes.
Denzel Dumfries – 8 – The right wing-back regularly posed a threat down the right hand side. He won the Penalty in the first half after making a darting run through the Irish defence. In the second half, the Inter Milan full-back provided the assist for his country’s second goal of the night. A solid performance overall.
Since 2022 Denzel Dumfries has been directly involved in 12 goals (3 goals and 9 assists) for his national team.
Daley Blind – 6 – Playing in a left wing-back role, Blind struggled to deal with Ireland’s pressure in the first half. The man with the most experience in the Netherlands starting eleven failed to impress and was replaced by Wout Weghorst (7) at half time as Ronald Koeman looked to add more attacking threat.
The substitution certainly paid off, as Weghorst coolly converted with a header from Denzel Dumfries’ cross.
Nathan Aké – 7 – Did what was needed to be done, blocking two shots and making some crucial clearances.
Matthijs de Ligt – 7 – Coming into the squad to replace the injured Lutsharel Geertruida, De Ligt did well. The defender won the ball back on five occasions, but only managed a passing accuracy of 82%.
Virgil van Dijk – 6 – Conceded a penalty within four minutes after the ball hit his arm. The captain didn’t look comfortable when under pressure but did what was needed to be done to guide his nation to victory.
Mats Wieffer – 5 – A player who really struggled in the Netherlands midfield. Wieffer committed two silly fouls and received a yellow card before being replaced by Tijjani Reijnders (6) at half time.
Frenkie de Jong – 8 – Finishing the match with a 95% passing accuracy emphasises Frenkie’s fantastic performance. The midfielder was by far one of the best players on the pitch, playing some superb long balls and hugely helping his side to victory. He completed the most passes during the game (58).
Xavi Simons – 5 – A very quiet game for Xavi Simons. The 20-year-old failed to make an impact on the game, registering just one shot in the 89 minutes that he played. Some good combinations with his fellow attackers, but overall it was a performance shy of what he’s been showing off with his new club, RB Leipzig. Replaced in the final few minutes by Steven Berghuis.
Cody Gakpo – 8 – Scored from the penalty spot to make it 1-1 and caused problems for the Irish defence, particularly in the second half. Overall, a great performance from the forward despite a lack of opportunities.
Donyell Malen – 6 – Very few opportunities for Malen to feed off during the game. The striker registered two shots on target but was very quiet other than that. Replaced in the second half by Teun Koopmeiners (6).