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Euro 2024: Netherlands Reach Quarter-Finals, Romania Eliminated

License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/at/deed.en Author: solacebase.com https://solacebase.com/van-dijk-speaks-on-netherlands-disallowed-goal/
Dutch footballer Virgil Van Dijk.

Staff writer Oliver Harrison reports on the Netherlands versus Romania game in the Round of 16 of the 2024 UEFA European Championship.

Netherlands beat Romania by three goals to nil on Tuesday afternoon to seal their place in the quarter-finals of EURO 2024 against Turkey.

At 5pm on Tuesday, Netherlands may have been the favourite to reach the next stage of the European Championship. However, after a difficult group stage, their chances were certainly threatened by a Romania side riding on the wave of winning a group that contained Belgium and Ukraine, ranked third and twenty-fourth by FIFA (Romania is forty-seventh).

The game’s balanced start reflected Romania’s success in the group stage. Despite Dutch quality, with Virgil Van Dijk utilising his signature diagonal passes to the left wing to quickly progress the ball, Romania maintained a steady pressure. This energy allowed Razvan Marin to win the ball high up the pitch and cross within the first two minutes. In the seventh minute, Ianis Hagi dribbled away from three Dutch players before sending a deadly ball through to Denis Dragus, neutralised only by the pace of Nathan Aké. Across the next ten minutes, Romania displayed what would usually be expected from the Netherlands by maintaining some steady spells of controlled possession, one of which resulted in a shot from Dennis Man in the fourteenth minute.

Netherlands’ performance, however, had not been far from that of Romania, and it was not totally against the run of play when Cody Gakpo opened the scoring in the nineteenth minute. Sent running by a pass from 21-year-old attacking midfielder Xavi Simons, Gakpo cut in onto his stronger right foot upon receipt to unleash a devastatingly powerful strike that Florin Nita had no chance of saving at his near post.

Following the first goal, Romania never regained the momentum they had in the first twenty minutes. In contrast, the Netherlands looked far more assured by their goal, which prevented a humiliating early exit from the tournament. Romania’s situation only worsened when left-back Vasile Mogos sustained a head injury, leaving Romania with ten players for six minutes until he was replaced by Bogdan Racovitan near half-time. Romania were desperate to protect their back line in Mogos’ absence. Hagi, Dragus and Marius Marin all dropped back into that position, and while their efforts not to concede again were valiant, their attack suffered as they began to look disorganised in possession. By the sixty-sixth minute, Hagi was visibly frustrated with his team’s position and pressing as he waved his arm wildly, willing his team to move forward.

If Romania had a hero after this game, it was Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Radu Dragusin, who battled bravely to keep the ball out of his goal. He won two ground duels and two aerial duels, alongside making four interceptions and putting his body on the line to block a shot.

Gakpo’s quality and intelligence made him stand out from the other Dutch attackers. While Donyell Malen scored one more than him, Malen’s decision making in the final third was questionable as he squandered multiple attacks with poor passes. Gakpo on the other hand knew when to cut in to shoot or link up play, and when to stay wide and allow Simons to operate within the left half space. He was extremely effective at both, as evidenced by his goal and dangerous in-swinging crosses, but his most impressive moment actually started from an interception he made in his defending third in the sixty-first minute that turned into a driven run and a shot on target.

While 3-0 may be a bit harsh of a scoreline, the Netherlands were certainly the better side, and fans will feel confident against Turkey on Saturday night. Romania’s honourable attacking and defending efforts against the Netherlands, as well as their group stage triumph, will earn them a passionate response from fans. An eighty-ninth minute pitch invader certainly seemed to agree, anyway.

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License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/at/deed.en Author: solacebase.com https://solacebase.com/van-dijk-speaks-on-netherlands-disallowed-goal/ License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/at/deed.en Author: solacebase.com https://solacebase.com/van-dijk-speaks-on-netherlands-disallowed-goal/

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