Late Weghorst goal gives Netherlands win over Poland

16 June 2024 - 18:13 By Andrew Cawthorne
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Netherlands' Wout Weghorst celebrates after their Euro 2024 Group D win against Poland at Hamburg Volksparkstadion, Germany on Sunday.
Netherlands' Wout Weghorst celebrates after their Euro 2024 Group D win against Poland at Hamburg Volksparkstadion, Germany on Sunday.
Image: Reuters/Annegret Hilse

Striker Wout Weghorst came off the bench to snatch a late winner with his first touch and give the Netherlands a deserved 2-1 comeback victory over Poland in their Group D opener at the European Championship on Sunday.

Weghorst had barely been on the field when he slid home Nathan Ake's perfect pass into the area in the 83rd minute to send the tens of thousands of “Oranje” fans at Hamburg's Volksparkstadion into raptures.

“So important to get the early win and for me personally it's a dream scenario,” the 31-year-old said of his 12th goal for the Netherlands. “I saw it coming and I felt the goal coming. Our aim now is to leave with the trophy.”

As expected, the Dutch dominated from the off with slick-passing attacks. But they were shocked in the 16th minute when Adam Buksa, replacing Poland's injured talisman Robert Lewandowski, rose above three defenders to flick home stand-in captain Piotr Zielinski's corner.

The Dutch equalised in the 29th minute with a low shot by live wire forward Cody Gakpo from outside the area that took a deflection off defender Bartosz Salamon to beat Wojciech Szczesny.

The profligate Dutch missed a string of first-half chances: classy midfielder Tijjani Reijnders shot just wide, Memphis Depay fluffed two good opportunities, Gakpo put another shot over and Virgil van Dijk saw a close-range strike saved.

At the back, Van Dijk seemed always one step ahead of his man while Ake marauded forward to start attacks.

The Dutch wasted more chances in the second half, with Denzel Dumfries seeing a header clawed away by Szczesny and Xavi Simons shooting wide on a break, before Weghorst came to the rescue.

Dutch coach Ronald Koeman will be relieved his team have started with a win, with tough games against Austria and France to come in Group D.

For Polish coach Michal Probierz, it was a disappointing outcome after strong defensive work from his team and also brought to an end his eight-match unbeaten run with the national side. 

Reuters


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