Wout Weghorst sends Dutch into Euro 2024 with narrow win over Ireland

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Wout Weghorst sends Dutch into Euro 2024 with narrow win over Ireland
Wout Weghorst celebrates with teammates after giving Netherlands the lead over Ireland
Wout Weghorst celebrates with teammates after giving Netherlands the lead over Ireland
AFP
The Netherlands sealed qualification for UEFA Euro 2024, after securing a top-two finish in Group B with a 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland in Amsterdam.

In what was more than likely to be Stephen Kenny’s final competitive match in charge of Ireland, the visitors started brightly, and tested the water early on when Alan Browne’s shot was saved by Bart Verbruggen.

But this dismal qualification campaign came back to bite The Boys in Green once again, as Wout Weghorst outmuscled Nathan Collins with ease and smashed his strike past Gavin Bazunu at the near post.

The Dutch were taking a patient approach in their pursuit of a second goal, against an Irish side straining every sinew to keep their defensive shape, as Cody Gakpo and Tijjani Reijnders both saw their shots drift harmlessly wide. Reijnders came closer with another chance shortly before HT, but saw his angled strike parried over by Bazunu.

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Koeman’s men were looking to hammer home their advantage after the break, but Xavi Simons could not hide his frustration after he slid in to meet a Denzel Dumfries cross, only to see his subsequent effort inadvertently blocked by Gakpo. The visitors certainly had the luck of the Irish when Reijnders came close again with a strike that Bazunu just about managed to parry onto the post.

Albert Idah thought he had scored the most unlikely of equalisers when his shot squirmed its way past Verbruggen in a horrible moment for the Brighton goalkeeper, but was reprieved by the linesman’s flag.

The tide of Oranje pressure returned though, and Jamie McGrath made a potentially goal-saving tackle to thwart Gakpo. Koeman’s men were opening up the Irish defence at will, but still could not find that elusive second goal, with Reijnders taking a touch too many in the box and seeing his chance disappear.

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The Dutchmen failed to find a second in the end, and despite the Irish rallying late on, this was as comfortable a 1-0 win as you are ever likely to see.

This Ireland side lacked the quality to genuinely trouble the hosts, ending this qualification campaign, and more than likely, Kenny’s managerial tenure, with a whimper. Meanwhile, the Netherlands can look forward to the draw for next year’s finals, which takes place two weeks today on December 2nd.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Tijjani Reijnders (Netherlands)

Click here to see stats of the match.

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