The Day 3 of the Euro witnessed England registering their first win in the opening game of the event and Austria hold the nerves to bag a victory for the first time in a major event since Italia 90 and in Euro. England had been good and hinted of becoming better while Austria showed that they could be a threat and when the evening got darker, at Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Ukraine dished out an absolute classic.

After the nine-year absence of the Oranje from the event, the 16,000 inside the Johan Cruyff Arena gave Frank De Boer’s men a rousing greeting and which included high emotion for Ukraine from those from the war-torn nation.

Memphis Depay was in the mood early on as he swooped on the ball in his half, and powered a 60-yard strike towards Georgiy Bushchan’s goal – the shot lacked the edge and was easy to collect.

On the counter Ukraine were fast and caught the Dutch on the back foot – Andriy Yarmolenko skated at Daley Blind who just about chugged back to cover, though the move broke down after the ball went in-field.

Yarmolenko was as effervescent as Depay, Ukraine’s best performer throughout. His next act was to zip into the area and cause Patrick van Aanholt to execute a precisely timed tackle or Felix Brych would not have waved away the penalty appeals as the number 7 went down.

The switch to a 5-3-2 during build-up has been the plan for De Boer, but the way their backline melted under pressure should be a concern.

A slick work had the ball drop on the way to Georginio Wijnaldum’s toes and when an instant volley was deflected, Bushchan had to readjust smartly before pulling off a superb save. And, then, came the miss – from point-blank range the otherwise excellent Dumfries put a header wide.

An engrossing first half played with speed, muscularity and lots of ambition. All that’s been missing is precision in the box, whether in terms of the final interplay or the finishing.

The drama unfolded after the break.

Dumfries fired in a low cross from the right. The Ukrainian keeper ventured out of his six-yard box and tried to intercept before it was poked home by an attacker. He dived along the ground and palmed it away but it ran to Wijnaldum, who calmly rammed it into the net from 12 yards – the deadlock was broken.

Six minutes later it was 2-0 for the Dutch!

But there is a VAR check for a suspected foul by Dumfries in the buildup.

Mykolenko went down too easily -. Dumfries had dashed into the box to try to get on the end of a lovely through-ball by De Jong. The keeper got a block on it but it rebounded to Weghorst, who lashed it the first time into the net!

VAR clarified that there was no foul and the goal stayed.

With just 15 minutes remaining, Yarmolenko played a one-two with Yeremchuk on the right and then cut infield and curled a stupendous shot into the top corner from 20 yards! The bend was just beautiful – the ball seemed to be heading wide until it veered into the net. The Dutch keeper dived but never got close to it.

Four minutes later, the Ukrainian fans were ecstatic – De Roon berated De Vrij for making a clumsy foul on Zinchenko, giving Ukraine a free-kick about 30 yards out, to the left. And the reason for his ire became clear when Malinovskiy delivers a perfect free-kick into the box and Yaremchuk escaped Weghorst and guided a header into the net from 10 yards!

From 0-2 down to a dramatic 2-2 – the tournament was set on fire!

The players were tired, the fans were tensed and the game was heading for the ideal result because none of them deserved to lose until Dumfries struck and made the night a memorable one.

Ake curled a cross in from the left and Dumfries, who fluffed a header from five yards in the first half, out-jumped Zinchenko and sent a downward header into the net. Buschan’s attempt to save it wasn’t especially impressive, nor was the botched clearance that gave Ake the chance to put in the cross in the first place.

The Dutch prevailed in a thrilling encounter.

“This is the team that I would like to see,” said De Boer.

“We played very balanced and also dominated. We can be proud and hopefully, we can make some more steps like we have been doing so far.”

De Boer, though, had to concede that allowing the lead to slip was not, actually, what was desired. “This is why we analyse these games almost until we die because we hope to not do so again. Let’s say this will not happen again,” the head coach said.


“First of all I would like to thank my team for the reaction they showed especially after we were down 2-0 and almost lost the game at that point,” Shevchenko said. “The team showed themselves very well.”

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