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‘Netherlands showed reaction in euros’

Netherlands crush Romania 3-0 in the round of 16

MUNICH:

Dutch striker Cody Gakpo said his under-fire team had “shown a response” in Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Romania that secured them a place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2024.

The Dutch came in for a lot of criticism after finishing third in the group stage, behind leaders Austria and number two France.

Even Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk criticised his team, saying they lacked the “will to win” in the 3-2 defeat to Austria.

However, Gakpo was named man of the match in the round of 16 after scoring the opening goal against Romania in Munich and then setting up Donyell Malen for the second with seven minutes remaining.

The Liverpool forward told Germany’s ARD network: “We played a good game, we responded well to the last game and I’m very satisfied. We took a step in the right direction today.

“It’s all about aggression and intensity and defending as a team and I think it was a good and important step.” The Dutch have reached the last eight at the European Championship for the first time since 2008, giving Gakpo a bout of nostalgia after watching successful Dutch teams as a youngster.

“I have a lot of nice memories, but now we are trying to make new memories with this selection,” he said.

The score did not reflect the true story of the match: the Netherlands led 1-0 and only found themselves in trouble against the lively Romanians in the 83rd minute.

Dutch defender Denzel Dumfries said his team were “not nervous” despite failing to create a number of chances. “No, we were not nervous, we know our quality, we know we can score. I’m proud of how focused we were until the last minute,” Dumfries said.

Malen, who came on at half-time, scored his second goal in the third minute of injury time to seal the victory. The Borussia Dortmund forward broke through and dribbled past the defence, passing a pair of trainers thrown onto the pitch from the Romanian side, before scoring.

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