Frank de Boer’s Netherlands side started their Euro 2020 campaign with a 3-2 win over Ukraine, a 90 minutes which was perhaps the most entertaining and back-and-forth of the tournament so far.
Early chances for Netherlands fell the way of Denzel Dumfries and Memphis Depay, but the former was blocked at close range and the latter couldn’t get enough on his strike at the end of a fine dribble. Gini Wijnaldum then saw a deflected effort saved and Dumfries should have scored a header shortly before the break.
Ukraine had sighters of their own, largely through Andriy Yarmolenko’s dribbling, but Dutch stopper Maarten Stekelenburg wasn’t overworked in a goalless first half.
Netherlands deserved a lead but lacked the clinical touch at that point, though they didn’t have long to wait after the restart; Bushchan finally erred by palming a cross into the path of Wijnaldum and the former Liverpool man hammered in a left-footed strike to open the scoring.
Wout Weghorst then rammed in a second soon after and it looked like being game over at that point, but Ukraine hit back with two of their own in five minutes through Andriy Yarmolenko’s picturebook curler into the top corner and Roman Yaremchuk’s header, before Dumfries won it with five minutes to go with a header of his own at the far post.
Here are the player ratings from Sunday night’s clash.
Maarten Stekelenburg – 6. A couple of good blocks in the first half, not much to do thereafter other than pick the ball out of his net.
Jurrien Timber – 7. The youngster didn’t look out of place defensively and was cool in possession. He has played fewer than 50 senior games for club and country in his career so far – not that you’d know it based on this display.
Stefan de Vrij – 7. A solid leader in the middle. Made a few big challenges when required and won the headers at set-pieces – but didn’t get close enough to Yarmolenko for his brilliant goal.
Daley Blind – 6. Cleared his lines a few times but the Dutch left channel was far from impenetrable.
Denzel Dumfries – 7. A very attack-minded wing-back throughout – should have scored at least once before he finally did so with the aid of Ukraine’s ‘keeper.
Marten de Roon – 6. Hard-working, always available to take possession, covered the counters as he needed to.
Gini Wijnaldum – 8. Fantastic in driving into the final third, holding up the ball and spreading play into the channels. A fierce drive in the first half almost opened the scoring, a great follow up finish in the second half did.
Frenkie de Jong – 8. Lovely in spreading play wide and forwards, comfortable evading challenges.
Patrick van Aanholt – 6. Got forward to good effect, but struggled to keep Ukraine’s wide threat under wraps.
Wout Weghorst – 6. Right place at the right time to net just his second international goal. Sadly for the Dutch, he failed be as effective at the other end as he lost his man for the equaliser.
Memphis Depay – 7. A brilliant early turn and run almost opened the scoring. Very busy in the first half but faded thereafter as an individual threat.
Nathan Ake – 6. Wonderful cross for the winner.
Owen Wijndal – 6. Got forward well a few times.
Luuk de Jong – n/a
Joel Veltman – n/a
Donyell Malen – n/a
Georhiy Bushchan – 5. Big block on Dumfries early on, then saved low down one-on-one against Weghorst and a reaction stop from a deflected effort – all in the first half. Sadly his fantastic display was marred in the second 45’; he parried out a cross which led to Wijnaldum scoring the first goal and should have easily saved the third, which came after his own poor pass out.
Oleksandr Karavaev – 5. Given a real tough night throughout by the raiding Dutch left wing-backs.
Illia Zabarnyi – 7. Battled on in the face of constant waves of pressure and stood up well to Memphis’ trickery in one-on-ones.
Mykola Matviyenko – 6. Coped well with the physical and aerial threat from Weghorst, but did lose out a couple of times for pace from runs in behind.
Vitalii Mykolenko – 6. He’s capable of much more and the young left-back didn’t really have enough chances to break forward and show his attacking traits.
Serhiy Sydorchuk – 5. Ukraine’s midfield was utterly swamped and the holding man too often was easily bypassed.
Ruslan Malinovskiy – 6. Made a few runs forward and tried to link play, but was well below his best level. Still delivered a cracking free-kick for the equaliser.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 5. Not enough possession for the team in blue for him to really show his creativity and technique on the ball. Worked hard but didn’t track the runs from Wijnaldum and De Jong enough.
Andriy Yarmolenko – 7. Tricked his way past several challenges but never quite had the end product in his past or shot – until, out of nowhere, he pinged one top corner from 25 yards.
Roman Yaremchuk – 8. A fierce drive on the turn with about 20 minutes left was as much as he had to show for his constant running off the ball until his equaliser with a fine header. Some nice back-heeled flicks to try and tee-up team-mates. Goal and assist within five minutes.
Oleksandr Zubkov – 6. Subbed due to injury just a few minutes in.
Marlos – 4. Early change. Did absolutely nothing and was subbed back off after the hour mark.
Mykola Shaparenko – 6.
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