Friday, July 12, 2024

Poland 1-2 Netherlands: What Were The Main Talking Points As Holland Produce A Dramatic Comeback In Hamburg?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, European Championships 17 Jun 2024

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Mounting a dramatic comeback on Sunday afternoon, the Netherlands opened this summer’s European Championships with a 2-1 victory against Poland in Hamburg.

While Holland might have got their EURO 24 adventure underway pencilled in as a standout contender this weekend, Ronald Koeman’s men were left stunned after just 16 minutes as Adam Buksa glanced home.

However, dominating for large spells on either side of the half-time break, the European giants equalised just 13 minutes later as Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo saw his deflected effort find a way past ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Although the Netherlands might have been moments away from opening their Group D campaign with a downbeat point, it was former Manchester United loanee Wout Weghorst who stole all of Sunday’s headlines late on.

Coming off the bench and producing a clinical finish with just seven minutes left on the clock, Holland eventually dragged themselves to what was a crucial opening victory in Hamburg.

Now sat in the driving seat to punch a knockout stage ticket, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Sunday’s showdown.

Holland’s resilience pays off

While Holland might have initially struggled to find their feet following Koeman’s return last year, the European heavyweights have certainly turned a real corner and some have even billed them as a potential dark horse contender this summer.

Enjoying what was a major EURO 24 qualifying romp last year as they won six of their final seven Group B appearances, the former Barcelona boss has seen his squad gain plenty of plaudits.

With the likes of PSG starlet Xavi Simons spearheading this new era of Dutch football, Koeman’s side will certainly be confident of booking a knockout stage ticket this month.

Dominating large spells of proceedings on either side of the half-time break here, the Netherlands also appear to have found a real clinical edge in the final third.

Signing off their pre-tournament preparations with consecutive 4-0 victories against Iceland and Canada respectively, Holland have now won nine of their previous 11 appearances across all competitions – a run that stems back over the past 12 months.

Poland suffer major heartbreak

Always knowing that they faced a major uphill battle in their bid to finish ahead of either Holland or France in the race to find a route out of Group D this summer, it was imperative that Poland made an early statement of intent here.

Getting off to the dream start on Sunday afternoon as Buksa headed home after just 16 minutes, Michal Probierz’s side would have been left heartbroken by what was a dramatic collapse.

Falling to their knees at the final whistle and unable to call upon attacking record-breaker and Barcelona superstar Robert Lewandowski due to an arm injury, Poland also watched their eight-match unbeaten run come to an abrupt end.

While the Eagles might remain optimistic that their striking icon can make a full return next weekend, they now find their fate out of their own hand.

Poland will be next seen on Friday evening when they travel to Berlin for what is certainly a must-win showdown against Austria.

Wegourst does it for the Dutch again

While Weghorst might have failed to gain any kind of stability during his shock loan stint with Manchester United during the 2022/23 campaign, the Hoffenheim striker is a real crucial part of Koeman’s set up.

Only on the pitch for just two minuets before sending the Dutch support into overdrive with his smart finish, the 31-year-old has continued to gain a reputation for his performances on the major tournament stage.

Weghorst, who came on with the Dutch trailing 2-0 to Argentina at the 2022 World Cup to score twice, has netted with his past three shots at major tournaments. And underlining his super-sub credentials, it was the third consecutive game in which he has come off the bench to score for the Dutch.

With question marks still lingering over Memphis Depay’s fitness, it appears that Weghorst could once again have a leading role to play over the next month.

Match Report

Poland: Szczesny, Frankowski, Bednarek, Salamon, Kiwior, Zalewski, Szymanski, Romanczuk, Zieliński, Buksa, Urbanski

Subs: Piotrowski, Swiderski, Moder, Slisz, Bereszysnki

Netherlands: Verbruggen, Dumfries, de Vrij, van Dijk, Ake, Veerman, Schouten, Simons, Reijnders, Gakpo, Depay

Subs: Malen, van de Ven, Frimpong, Weghorst, Wijnaldum

Goals: Poland: Buksa (16’) – Netherlands: Gakpo (29’), Weghorst (83’)

Yellow Cards: Veerman

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Artur Soares Dias

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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