Putting in what was a professional performance on Saturday night, the Netherlands officially punched their ticket to EURO 24 as they secured a 1-0 victory against Ireland.
Simply looking to avoid what would have been a major qualifying banana skin in Amsterdam, former Manchester United striker Wout Weghorst proved to be Holland’s hero as they Hoffenheim marksman produced a wonderful solo strike after just 11 minutes.
Although the Oranges might have been hoping to put in a more clinical display here, the Netherlands didn’t really have to get out of third gear as they edged past an Ireland squad that have endured a public Group B crisis this year.
Although Ireland might have arrived in Amsterdam simply looking to spring a heavyweight upset on foreign soil, Saturday’s guests will know that they face even more scrutiny back home.
Mustering just a single shot on target and failing to find any kind of fluidity, Ireland have now lost six of their previous eight appearances across all competitions.
Really limping their way over the finish line, we have taken a look at the key talking points from Monday’s showdown in Amsterdam.
Holland officially punch their EURO 24 ticket
Shockingly missing out on their World Cup ticket last year, it was no secret that the Netherlands opened their EURO 24 qualifying adventure with plenty of pressure on their shoulders.
However, while the European icons might have initially struggled to find much stability when they appointed Koeman for a second time earlier in the year, Saturday’s guests have certainly found top gear at a crucial time.
Despite suffering major Nations League heartbreak back in June, the former Barcelona boss has seen his squad come roaring back.
Signing off October’s international break with what was a crucial 1-0 win away against Greece, Holland have won five of their previous six qualifying appearances and the mood in Koeman’s camp should be at a continued high.
Officially securing their much-needed major tournament return on Saturday night, the Netherlands will simply be looking to sign off their qualifying adventure with a final statement on Tuesday night when they travel over to Gibraltar.
Ireland are limping their way over the finish line
While Ireland might have opened their EURO 24 qualifying adventure back in March with their sights firmly set on securing a top-two finish in Group B, the Greens have endured a public nightmare.
With their qualifying dreams long since going up in smoke, it is no secret that Stephen Kenny has a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders.
Putting in another toothless performance on Saturday night and failing to ask any real questions of Holland’s defence, Ireland will have plenty of questions to answer over the next few weeks.
Although the Greens might have signed off October’s international break with a routine 4-0 victory away against Gibraltar, Ireland have lost each of their other four Group B appearances.
Likewise, mustering just six points from any of their eight qualifying appearances this year and gaining a reputation for their struggles on foreign soil, Kenny’s side will take some time to recover from their Group B nightmare.
Weghorst shows his worth
Opening Saturday’s showdown in Amsterdam dealing with another stacked injury list, much of the attention in Amsterdam was focused on Holland’s fringe stars.
Nevertheless, although Koeman was once again unable to call upon attacking talisman and Atletico Madrid hitman Memphis Depay here, it was Weghorst who once again stole most of the headlines.
Although the former Burnley star might have endured a real struggle after completing a shock loan switch to Premier League giants Manchester United last season, the 31-year-old has enjoyed a hugely impressive qualifying campaign.
Bagging the winner here thanks to a stunning solo strike after just 11 minutes, Weghorst have proven that he can play a leading role in Koeman’s attack.
Finding the net in back-to-back EURO 24 qualifying appearances during September’s international break, the towering striker has also registered four goals in his last five appearances for club and country.
Netherlands: Verbruggen, De Vrij, Van Dijk, Blind, Hartman, Reinders, Schouten, Dumfries, Simons, Gakpo, Weghorst
Subs: De Roon, Veerman, Malen, Koopmeiners
Ireland: Bazunu, O’Shea, Collins, Scales, Manning, Cullen, Browne Doherty, Robinson, Knight, Ferguson
Subs: Idah, Molumby, McGrath, Parrott, Johnston
Goals: Weghorst (11’)
Yellow Cards: Molumby
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Irfan Peljto
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