Home Football Donyell Malen’s Double Sends Netherlands to Euro 2024 Quarter-Finals

Donyell Malen’s Double Sends Netherlands to Euro 2024 Quarter-Finals

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The Netherlands reached their first European Championship quarter-final since 2008 with a commanding 3-0 win over Romania. Donyell Malen scored twice, securing a decisive victory in the last 16 on Tuesday. Cody Gakpo provided an early lead and an assist, contributing significantly to the Dutch triumph.

Early Dominance

Cody Gakpo opened the scoring for the Netherlands in the 20th minute, capitalizing on a sweeping move. Jerdy Schouten delivered a perfect long pass to Xavi Simons, who then found Gakpo on the left flank. Gakpo eluded Andrei Ratiu and fired a shot past goalkeeper Florin Nita, igniting a period of Dutch dominance.

Missed Opportunities

Despite their early lead, the Netherlands struggled to convert their dominance into additional goals. Stefan de Vrij came close with a header, and Denzel Dumfries set up a chance for Simons, who failed to get a decent shot away. Memphis Depay and Virgil van Dijk also had opportunities but couldn’t find the back of the net.

Romanian Resistance

Romania, who had shown grit and determination throughout the match, had their moments. Dennis Man’s early chance from a superb diagonal ball by Nicolae Stanciu was blasted over the bar. However, Romania lacked the quality to capitalize on the Dutch’s missed opportunities.

Gakpo’s Influence

Cody Gakpo, the standout player, continued to make an impact. Despite having a second goal ruled out by VAR for offside, Gakpo’s persistence paid off. With seven minutes remaining, he dribbled through a crowded penalty area and set up Donyell Malen for a crucial second goal.

Malen’s Late Show

In stoppage time, Malen struck again. With Romania launching a final attack, Malen broke through on the counter and slid the ball into the net, sealing a 3-0 victory for the Netherlands. This second goal underscored Malen’s importance and showcased his clinical finishing.

Post-Match Reactions

“We played a good game. I’m very pleased. Especially after the last game we needed a reaction, and today was a good step in the right direction,” said Cody Gakpo. He highlighted the team’s improved aggression, intensity, and unity.

Looking Ahead

The Netherlands’ coach, Ronald Koeman, acknowledged the need for improved effectiveness in front of goal. The Dutch will face Turkey or Austria in the quarter-finals, and Koeman’s team will need to sharpen their finishing to continue their campaign.

The Netherlands’ victory over Romania was a blend of dominance and resilience. Donyell Malen’s brace and Cody Gakpo’s influential performance were key factors in securing their place in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals. As the Dutch prepare for their next challenge, they will aim to build on this momentum and improve their goal-scoring efficiency.