The Netherlands returned to a great international competition seven years after reaching the podium in the World Cup in Brazil with a suffered victory against Ukraine, a remarkable team that completed a fantastic qualifying phase for their third European Championship and promises to give a fight to anyone. It comes as a covered but it would be a mistake to underestimate it because it has quality, it is very well worked and competes with enormous verve and ambition. At its premiere, yes, it was a tough nut to crack. The ‘Clockwork Orange’ is still mired in identity debates, but has left behind the tribulations that made it miss the European Championship in France and the World Cup in Russia. He is eager to regain his rightful status among the great powers of world football and is firmly on his feet again, despite being scared by the greats.
Over and over again blinded by the formidable Bushchan in a first part in which she exhibited very vertical football, she found the well-deserved reward for her insistence in the second. First Wijnaldum, who after scoring eight goals in seven qualifying matches, added another that raises the tally to 23 in his 76 international matches, and then Weghorst, who is stoned since his two targets with the ‘Oranje’ have taken place in the space of seven days, gave credit to the Dutch candidacy. And when the goals of Yarmolenko and Yaremchuk in four minutes that summed up the strength and pride of the team led by Andriy Shevchenko with his right hand threatened to spoil the party, Dumfries, assistant in the first two goals of his team, appeared to restore tranquility to the tulips and give them the three points in a group in which Austria also started in an authoritarian way.
Stekelenburg, Dumfries, Timber (Veltman, min. 88), De Vrij, Blind (Aké, min. 64), Van Aanholt (Wijndal, min. 64), De Roon, Wijnaldum, De Jong, Weghorst (De Jong, min. 88) and Depay (Malen, min. 91).
Bushchan, Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Matviyenko, Mykolenko, Zinchenko, Sydorchuk, Malinovskyi, Yarmolenko, Zubkov (Marlos, min. 13; Shaparenko, min. 64) and Yaremchuk.
1-0: min. 52, Wijnaldum. 2-0: min. 59, Weghorst. 2-1: min. 75, Yarmolenko. 2-2: min. 79, Yaremchuk. 3-2: min. 85, Dumfries.
Felix Brych (Germany). He showed Sydorchuk yellow.
Match of the first day of group C of the European Championship played at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam.
Refractory to the purists who demand their submission to the school of Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff, Frank de Boer structured his block with three centrals and two lanes, a system that acquires offensive nuance if it is sold as a 3-5-2 or defensive if it is ordered as a 5-3-2 but of which the aesthetes of the ‘voetbal’ will always be suspicious. The former Ajax, Inter and Crystal Palace coach has never been a paragon of bravery, but in his defense it is necessary to point out the casualties of Van Dijk and De Ligt, two center-backs with a lot of carats whose presence invites more daring bets. True to his purpose of making Ukraine a team that bundles up with the ball and does not wrinkle in front of anyone, Shevchenko orchestrated a daring 4-3-3, with Zinchenko as the architect in midfield alongside two high-quality midfielders as Sydorchuk and Malinovskyi.
The disposition of the armies delivered a frenzied showdown. An approach with many men from the ‘synio-zhovti’ ended up leading to an electric counterattack from Depay that put Bushchan to the test. The Dynamo Kiev goalkeeper, who has managed to displace the veteran Pyatov, surpassed his encounter with the attacker that Barça sighs for. and with that intervention began to build an outstanding performance. He stretched out his leg to avoid Dumfries’ goal, he got ahead of Van Aanholt and Weghorst in two actions that carried very bad traces for his interests and, above all, he flew to take out an incredible mitt after a tremendous whiplash from the omnipresent Wijnaldum. There is no doubt that he has well internalized the lessons of Spanish Pedro Jaro, goalkeeping coach of the Ukrainian team and with a past under the sticks in Cádiz, Málaga, Real Madrid, Betis and Atlético.
From power to power
Ukraine suffered with the depth of Dumfries, the verticality of Depay and the arrival from the second row of Wijnaldum, but did not shy away from the melee. It is the credit of Shevchenko, a national legend, to have changed the mentality of a team that in the past preferred to dress in lambskin. Yarmolenko had the two best chances of his in the first half, but in both he was won by Stekelenburg, the oldest competitor in the European Championship. How to forget that useless stretch of his against the volley of Iniesta that gave Spain the World Cup in South Africa. Then he was already a talludite, eleven years have passed and he is still there.
Holland started and finished the first half with enormous momentum. He only missed the goal, but found it around the locker room. Dumfries hit from the right, Bushchan rejected and the ball fell to Wijnaldum, who blew it. With the safe opened, De Boer’s team put land in the middle. Filtered De Jong for Dumfries’ career, who danced to Mykolenko. The ball was rejected again and went to Weghorst’s boots, who doubled the rent. Yarmolenko managed to reduce distances with a whiplash to the squad from the front and put fear in the body of the tulips, who had lowered their guard with the 2-0 and paid dearly. Malinovskyi bounced an indirect free-kick and Yaremchuk finished off at the far post to put the tables. But Dumfires emerged again to strike another blow at Ukraine with an imperial head. Holland makes foodies enjoy again.