Monday, April 22, 2024

Scotland crumble in Amsterdam as Netherlands claim comfortable friendly win

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 22 Mar 2024

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A late collapse by Scotland saw Steve Clarke’s side lose 4-0 to the Netherlands in their friendly encounter in Amsterdam.

The visitors controlled much of the first half and hit the goal frame through Ryan Christie but the Dutch took the lead five minutes from the break with a Tijjani Reijnders thunderbolt.

Scotland continued to create and miss chances in the Johan Cruijff ArenA – as did the Netherlands – before Scotland striker Lawrence Shankland hit the bar in the 62nd minute with only Dutch goalkeeper Mark Flekken to beat.

It was a glorious chance for Scotland and they were made to pay 10 minutes later when Georginio Wijnaldum headed in a second and then goals from substitutes Wout Weghorst and Donyell Malen in the 84th and 86th minutes turned a good performance on its head as Clarke now looks to get back on track against Northern Ireland at Hampden Park on Tuesday night.

Many of the Tartan Army had clamoured for in-form Hearts striker Shankland to be handed a start and he will know he should have scored to cap off a good performance.

Keeper Angus Gunn was back after injury along with several familiar faces such as captain Andrew Robertson and Kieran Tierney, with the visitors backed by around 2,400 travelling fans.

Ronald Koeman’s side had a mixture of youth and experience but included top names such as captain Virgil Van Dijk and another former Celtic defender, Jeremie Frimpong, with Memphis Depay leading the line.

But the Scots started with confidence, Shankland’s touches were assured, full-back Nathan Patterson stretched the Dutch down the right-hand side with Robertson working the left flank.

However, there was danger when Cody Gakpo went clean through on the Scotland goal but he failed to finish and was eventually flagged offside.

After midfielder Scott McTominay was booked after just nine minutes for fouling Xavi Simons, Shankland headed a Patterson cross over the bar.

Then, in the 18th minute, midfielder Billy Gilmour raced down the right and his cross was met by the head of Christie but Netherlands keeper Flekken tipped the ball on to the bar and it did not fall kindly for Shankland.

Gakpo’s blatant dive inside the Scotland penalty area did not fool Belgian referee Erik Lambrechts and moment later at the other end McGinn flicked a Christie cross over the bar.

However, the Scots walked into a sucker punch just before the break when AC Milan midfielder Reijnders took a pass from Gakpo and, with little pressure on him, measured his shot from 25 yards and arrowed it high past the helpless Gunn.

McTominay had a shot blocked by Reijnders inside the Netherlands box at the start of the second half but Gunn had to make a great save from Depay’s shot on the turn.

More excitement followed at both ends.

McGinn’s shot was parried by Flekken before Christie headed a cross from the Villa player past a post and then Gunn saved from Gakpo’s 20-yard drive.

When Shankland found himself through against Flekken with the goal beckoning, his shot clipped the bar on the way over and he was soon replaced by Che Adams, with John Souttar and Lewis Ferguson also coming on.

However, the Netherlands doubled their lead with a simple goal, Gakpo’s cross being headed in by Wijnaldum from eight yards out.

McTominay headed a cross from substitute Anthony Ralston over the bar to continue the theme of missed chances before Scotland folded as Weghorst headed in a corner and fellow substitute Malen ran through to grab a fourth – and the damage could have been greater.

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