The Dutch national team is fighting passionately to reach the semi-finals of the European Championship

In the end, the Dutch national team did not miss the golden opportunity to reach the semi-finals of the European Championship in Germany. After the first 45 minutes, they realized that the intense quarter-final match against Turkey was not just about good football. Although their tactics and, above all, their experience failed them in the first half, the Dutch team showed their teeth after the break. With resounding success.

The Netherlands can now play the semi-finals in Dortmund on Wednesday against England, who earlier eliminated Switzerland on penalties. For the Dutch team, the first title since 1988 remains a possibility. Hazes’ classic “We love Orange” resonated in the Olympiastadion after the final whistle. The orange sea in the stands danced from left to right over Snollebollekes. The players, including an enthusiastic national coach Ronald Koeman, took to the field, with Wout Weghorst as the main driving force.

Holy fire

After the break, his contribution brought the team the holy fire it needed to beat the Turkish militants. The way in which the winning goal was scored fifteen minutes before the end was typical. Cody Gakpo played a mediocre game but went all out after a ball passed by Denzel Dumfries. Thanks to this Grinta it seemed that Gakpo’s fourth goal in this tournament had been born, but in the end it was scored by defender Mert Müldür into his own goal: 2-1.

In the first half, it didn’t look like it would be an all-night orange party in Berlin. Turkey had announced that they would be even more nervous about Merih Demiral’s suspension for his right-wing “wolf gesture”. But the Turkish national team showed unprecedented team spirit and passion throughout the European Championship. The Netherlands had been warned about this, but seemed to fall into the trap with their eyes wide open in the first half. As an ideal team of sons-in-law, they thought they could solve this tense situation with football.

Intensity

Well, no. In terms of experience, intensity, ferocity and strength, the Dutch team lost to the Turks. The world number 42 speculated about giving up and after the Dutch team lost possession, he was able to cross half the pitch at times. Where was the pressure from the Dutch midfield and defence? Xavi Simons also escaped a red card when he dug his studs into Mert Müldür’s calf.

After a few warnings from the Turks, things went completely wrong in the 35th minute. Dumfries just gave away a corner. The ball was cleared by Virgil van Dijk, but the brilliant Turk Arda Güler put the ball into the goal. Goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen looked paralysed as no Dutch defender was visible at the far post. Samet Akaydin headed in: 1-0.

Orange were in trouble. In the stands, Turkish President Recep Erdogan and his wife saw that the Netherlands had lost control from that moment on. Because the opponent threw in the towel. With tackles, fight and passion. Simons was given the ball but three Turks pounced on him like hyenas. Result: ball lost. Ferdi Kadioglu deprived Dumfries of the ball with a powerful slide. Bardakci literally threw himself at the ball with his whole body when Steven Bergwijn wanted to pass.

Super Sub

Bergwijn was deemed fit to play in the morning, but the Ajax player was unlucky. This also applies to Gakpo and Depay. At half-time, Bergwijn was replaced by Weghorst. The super-substitute formed a tandem with Depay up front and had to stoke the Dutch team’s fire, while Simons moved to the right flank.

It worked. With much more opportunism, more balls were brought into the box. The Dutch team was already awake in the games. After five minutes, the recipe seemed to work, when Weghorst headed a high ball across the goal just offside; Depay simply missed it. The Dutch team then had difficulty breaking up the five-man Turkish block. The Turkish players constantly encouraged their fans, and whistled in blue when the Netherlands again looked for openings with the ball.

After the Dutch had escaped the 2-0 deficit several times (Arda Güler hit the post with a free kick), a Dutch corner variant was successful in the seventieth minute. Depay finally got the ball through. Stefan de Vrij left the Turkish goalkeeper with no chance with a header: 1-1. The Dutch team smelled blood and thanks to Gakpo’s willpower the difference was made. In the frantic fifteen minutes that followed, the Netherlands defended themselves with Turkish passion. The way Verbruggen celebrated a save says a lot about the attitude that ultimately kept this Orange’s dream alive.

Read also:

Koeman, relieved: ‘Simons was the best’

The national coach was satisfied with the performance of the Dutch team against Romania (3-0).

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