copy short urlprintemail
+ A
A -
Qatar tribune



Substitute Wout Weghorst scored soon after coming on as the Netherlands fought from behind to beat battling Poland 2-1 in their opening Euro 2024 Group D game on Sunday.

Poland were without injured striker Robert Lewandowski, who is expected to return in Friday’s game with Austria, but forward Adam Buksa filled in with aplomb as he glanced in a 16th-minute corner.

The Dutch hit back through Cody Gakpo’s deflected shot just before the half hour and despite an open second half with pressure from both sides, the game looked set for the first draw of the tournament.

But Weghorst, who shone off the bench at the last World Cup, did it again on 83 minutes when he swept home Nathan Ake’s pass in Hamburg.

“It’s obviously what you imagine in your head,” Weghorst told RTL. “I’m glad it worked out.”

The Dutch, winners of their only men’s major tournament on German soil at Euro 1988 with coach Ronald Koeman in the line-up, were roared on by hordes of Orange-clad fans who had packed the Hamburg streets.

Germany’s second-largest city is only two and a half hours from the Dutch border and just about drivable from Poland, prompting a loud and balanced atmosphere for their first meeting at a Euros or World Cup.

The Dutch, shorn of top names including Frenkie de Jong, had the first good chance through Gakpo and looked like they could dominate.

But Poland grew into the game and captain Piotr Zieli?ski’s tempting corner was met by Buksa, with the Dutch defence exposed.

Virgil van Dijk almost levelled soon after but experienced Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szcz?sny was equal to it.

But the keeper could do nothing when Gakpo cut inside from the left and his effort from the edge of the box took a huge deflection to fly in. It was the Liverpool forward’s first Euro start as he scored his fourth goal in his last eight Oranje appearances.

Other Dutch chances followed, with Gakpo blasting over, but Poland stayed in the hunt in another open game at this championship.

Memphis Depay, sporting a white headband, showed some clever touches and almost put the wasteful Netherlands ahead on half-time.

Poland threw on Jakub Moder for winger Sebastian Szymanski at the break but it was the Dutch who came out firing.

Forward Karol Swiderski, who might have started but for a minor knock when celebrating a goal in a warm-up, was then introduced with Bartosz Slisz as the Poles tried to calm the storm.

It worked initially and the Eagles put Koeman’s side under pressure.

Stefan de Vrij then headed over for the Dutch, who ran out of steam.

That was until the introduction on 81 minutes of Weghorst, who quickly showed what the Dutch had been missing without a number nine.

It was the quickest goal by a Netherlands substitute at a Euros, coming just two minutes and 18 seconds after he entered the fray.

“I think it was a tough match, a tough opponent,” man of the match Gakpo said. “Obviously they scored first which made it more difficult. We have to be more clinical. But we won in the end.”

Poland’s joint best major championship came in Germany where they finished third in the 1974 World Cup.

A similar shock looks unlikely after coach Michal Probierz suffered a first defeat in nine games since replacing the sacked Fernando Santos in September. But the Poles could easily have levelled late on.

copy short url   Copy