This Sunday evening’s meeting offered us an enticing duel between the Netherlands and Ukraine, two nations who wanted to join Austria, victorious over North Macedonia a little earlier in the day (3- 1), at the top of Group C of this Euro 2020. After missing Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup, the Oranjes started the first of their three matches played at home in a heated Johan Cruijff Arena (Amsterdam) of 16 000 people, including 200 Ukrainians. To everyone’s surprise, Frank de Boer, deprived of Matthijs de Ligt (injured groin), opted for a 3-5-2, a choice strongly criticized overwhelming Dutch habits, with the tenure of Stefan de Vrij, from the neo -Parisien and captain Georginio Wijnaldum, Frenkie de Jong or Memphis Depay. Ukrainian coach Andreï Chevtchenko was betting on a 4-3-3 to beat the odds with Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ruslan Malinovskiy or Roman Yaremchuk.
This match started on a very fast pace. On their first possession, the Ukrainians brought danger into the area of veteran Stekelenburg (38). But in the process, taking advantage of a transmission error in midfield, Depay projected and made the difference, from a small bridge, before forcing Bushchan to relax to repel his shot at the entrance to the box. (2nd). The pressure intensified when Dumfries stumbled on the opposing goalkeeper at close range (6th) and Wijnaldum narrowly missed the frame (7th) in the box. The Netherlands had a stranglehold on the ball, trying to find the loophole against a Zbirna gradually leaving the head of the water but who lost Zubkov to injury, replaced by Marlon (13th). The debates balanced out slightly, with Ukraine tightening the screw to calm the locals but failing to keep the leather between their feet. Faced with a fox Weghorst, Bushchan, impeccable, intervened perfectly in the feet of the Batavian (27th), while a few seconds later, van Aanholt perfectly tackled Yaremchuk in his area to save his family (28th).
Incredible scenario in the second half
If the pace dropped a notch after 30 very interesting minutes to follow, the Dynamo Kiev goalkeeper kept his vigilance intact to masterfully repel with a very firm left hand an instantaneous volley from Wijnaldum (39th) before Dumfries, perfectly served at the far post by Depay, does not miss his helmet shot at close range (40th) in a way that is difficult to explain. After the break, the match started again on a false rhythm. Until Wijnaldum perfectly follows a cross at ground level pushed back by Bushchan to open the scoring with a curled left foot sending the ball to the skylight (1-0, 52nd). Enough to launch the Oranjes, who doubled thanks to Weghorst, resuming victoriously without questioning a ball badly cleared by Matviyenko (2-0, 58th), an achievement validated by the VAR.
Stunned by these two quick goals, the Zbirna regained its senses, making a round back and proceeding against while feeling that there was a blow to play in this Batavian defense. And the light came first from Yarmolenko, who sent a sumptuous missile from the left 20 meters into the skylight of Stekelenburg (2-1, 75 ‘). Like the Netherlands, Ukraine scored a second goal in quick succession, through Yaremchuk, equalizing with an uncrossed header on a perfect serve from Malinovskyi on a free kick on the left (2-2, 78th). But in this crazy match, it was the Oranjes who had the last word. As imprecise as dangerous in this part, Dumfries, well served by Aké, also placed an unstoppable header to offer victory to the Dutch people (3-2, 85th). Thanks to this victory, the Batavians join Austria at the top of this group C, a nation they will face on June 17 in a decisive match for 1st place.
Find the classification of group C