Dubai: Day three of Euro 2020 was lit up by a pulsating five-goal second half between the Netherland and Ukraine and it didn’t come as a surprise what with the way the game kicked off.
Inside the very first minute Ukraine found themselves inside the Netherland’s box and almost snatched a dramatic early lead but the ball was cleared out to Memphis Depay who hit them on the counter, running all the way from the halfway line only to see his strong shot saved by Georgi Bushchan in goal.
The bright start set the tempo for the rest of the match and on several occasions the Netherlands nearly found themselves ahead with efforts from Georginio Wijnaldum and Denzel Dumfires but the real action in this Group C clash started in the second 45.
Oranje boss Frank de Boer – still trying to convince fans he is the right man for the job, I’m not sure he is – had given Wijnaldum license to roam and he really enjoyed the freedom to play whereas while at Liverpool he had a more defensive role. PSG will be excited to have him on board if he can replicate last night’s dominant performance.
He broke the deadlock with a neat left-foot finish and soon enough Wout Weghorst added a second but if anyone turned off the telly or decided to watch some Netflix instead thinking ‘game over’ you missed an absolute classic.
With 12 minutes remaining, Ukraine came storming back with Andriy Yarmalenko’s superb 25 yarder into the top corner. It’s an early contender for goal of the tournament and will take some beating but it got even better for Andriy Shevchenko’s side when Roman Yaremchuk headed an equalizer four minutes later to silence the Dutch fans.
But they couldn’t hold on for what would have been a valuable point as Dumfries headed a dramatic late winner with just five minutes remaining to lift the roof off the Johan Cruyff Arena and earn the Netherlands a thrilling 3-2 victory.
They have a mixture of experience in 38-year-old Maarten Stekelenburg in goal and youth with 19-year-old defender Jurrien Timber and if Depay and Wijnaldum can continue to shine, the Netherlands – who remember are without key man Virgil Van Dijk – might still spring a surprise and go on to be the great entertainer of Euro 2020.