Netherlands defeated Ukraine in what was certainly the best game of the tournament so far courtesy of an 85th-minute winner by Denzel Dumfries.
The first half of the game was pure end to end football. Both teams were pressing high and hence leaving spaces in behind. The Dutch team played with a 3-5-2 with both fullbacks very high upfront. Ukraine on the other hand played a 4-3-3 but their fullbacks were constantly forced to stay back. Midfielders Olekzandr Zinchenko and Rusian Malinovskyi were kept busy on both ends of the field.
Heorhii Bushchan made some incredible saves to deny the Netherlands from scoring. Dumfries missed a free header in the 40th minute from Depay's cross. Andrey Yarmelenko and Roman Yeremchuk combined well a few times in the box but couldn't capitalize.
The deadlock was finally broken 52nd minute after Dumfries' low cross was palmed by Bushchan straight at Gini Wijnaldum who found the top left corner. Netherlands kept on coming and got the 2nd goal just 6 minutes after their first.
The Dutch team looked comfortable with a 2 goal advantage. The tide changed quickly after Yarmelenko got a goal back in the 75th minute with a wonder strike. Yeremchuk set up the goal and just 4 minutes later scored the equaliser from Malinovskyi's freekick. Out of nowhere, Ukraine came from 2 goals down. Andrey Shevchenko's team then was just sitting back trying to secure a point which massively backfired when Danzel Dumfries scored a header from Nathan Ake's cross in the 85th minute.
Ukraine showed a lot of fight to equalise after being 2 goals down. In the end, the result seemed fair as Netherlands created a lot of clear cut chances. Memphis Depay and Gini Wijnaldum in particular were impressive throughout the game. Yarmelenko and Yeremchuk on the other hand were the main men for Ukraine combining to score the first goal and created a couple of good chances in the first half.
Netherlands play Austria on Matchday 2 and the winner of that match will be the most likely to top the group. Ukraine will fight it out against a resilient North Macedonia team to ensure at least a 3rd place finish which still gives them a good chance to make it to the Round of 16.
Man of the match:
Denzel Dumfries ran up and down the right-hand side throughout the game. He missed a free header in the first half but redeemed himself after playing the cross that led to the opening goal of the game. The PSV full-back wasn't done there. After missing a free header he scored a thumping header to win the game his country. The 3 at the back formation suited his game perfectly as he had the license to get in the box and show his Arial prowess which is exactly what he did.
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