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UEFA Nations League: Netherlands 3-1 England - 5 Hits and Flops

Nived Zenith
FEATURED WRITER
Top 5 / Top 10
Timeless

Netherlands are through to the UEFA Nations League final
Netherlands are through to the UEFA Nations League final

The Netherlands booked their berth in the final of the inaugural UEFA Nations League tournament with an emphatic 3-1 win over England in extra-time during the semi-final at the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimaraes on Thursday.

Ronaldo Koeman's men were deserved winners at the end of a dramatic encounter that turned on it's head, following an uninspiring start to proceedings.

The Three Lions opted against handing out a starting role to any of their Champions League finalists, while both Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum played the entirety of the 120 minutes for the Oranje.

And following a cagey start that involved both teams conceding possession at regular intervals, Marcus Rashford opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 32nd minute, when he was fouled inside the area by Matthijs de Ligt.

The Dutch clawed their way back into the game in the second half and restored parity through De Ligt's trademark header, as they forced the game into extra-time.

And over the course of the additional 30 minutes, England committed two catastrophic defensive errors in each half of extra-time to condemn themselves to another semi-final defeat, where they drew first blood.

Quincy Promes and Memphis Depay combined effectively to dismantle the Three Lions' rearguard, as an own goal from Kyle Walker in the 97th minute, followed by Promes' seventh goal for his country sealed the tie in the 114th minute.

The Netherlands will now face Portugal during the inaugural final of the UEFA Nations League on Sunday at the Estadio do Dragao in Porto. Without further delay, let's take a closer look at the best and worst performers from the Netherlands' win over England:


#5 Hit - Memphis Depay

Depay played a part in all the goals scored by his team
Depay played a part in all the goals scored by his team
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Memphis Depay's renaissance during the Dutch revolution under Ronald Koeman has been nothing short of spectacular, to say the least.

The winger, who was branded as a flop after his dismal stint in England with Manchester United, is slowly but steadily proving his naysayers wrong with his performances for club and country.

Prior to the game against England, Depay had directly contributed to 14 goals from 12 appearances for the Netherlands under Koeman and came into the game on the back of a strong domestic season with Lyon, where he netted 12 goals and 16 assists in all competitions during the 2018/19 season.

And although he started the Nations League semi-final against England in sluggish fashion, the Dutchman grew into confidence as the game progressed and proved to be a real headache for the nervy English defenders.

Depay found Matthijs de Ligt with a perfectly executed corner kick for the equaliser in the second half, before his pressing and determined closing down at the top of the pitch forced England to shoot themselves in the foot and concede two embarrassing goals in extra-time.

The 25-year-old showed excellent awareness to dispossess both John Stones and Ross Barkley for the Netherlands' second and third goals respectively, as he combined with substitute Quincy Promes to deliver the decisive blow.

All that running and hassling did not go to waste in the end.

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