Frank De Boer’s side left it late to secure the points in the highest scoring game of the tournament so far
Former Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong expressed his relief after his country scored a late winner in their thrilling 3-2 Euro 2020 victory over Ukraine, describing the see-saw match as “an emotional rollercoaster”.
The Netherlands looked set for a frustrating evening when a stunning recovery from Ukraine saw them score two goals in four minutes to fightback from 2-0 down.
However, Denzel Dumfries’ header with five minutes remaining secured a dramatic win in what was the Netherlands’ first major tournament appearance in seven years.
What did De Jong say?
Frank de Boer’s side were on course for a comfortable three points when goals from Georginio Wijnaldum and Wout Weghorst put them 2-0 ahead early in the second half.
However, a wonderful curling effort from Andriy Yarmolenko and a stooping header from Roman Yaremchuk brought Ukraine level to leave the crowd at the Johan Cruyff Arena stunned.
But just as it looked like they would have to settle for a draw the lively Dumfries, who had missed two clear chances in the first half, headed home his first international goal and leave former Netherlands midfielder De Jong emotionally exhausted.
“Absolutely delighted to see the Netherlands win,” he told ITV. “It was an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve got no voice!
“Denzel Dumfries missed a sitter and especially in the first half, he could’ve scored a hat-trick with the amount of chances he had. But he made it count at the end of the game.
“It was a nervous couple of minutes for Frank de Boer – I could already see the headlines. But the three points were the most important thing.”
Another former Netherlands international, Mario Melchiot, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “The confidence is there. Sometimes, with the arrogance, you have to be careful with underestimating people. We saw how Ukraine got back into the game.
“The talent the team possesses is incredible. That’s what Holland is built on. We always produce quality players. But you have to remember in tournaments you need passion and a little bit of luck to achieve things.”
What’s been said?
The win leaves the Netherlands second in Group C on goal difference behind Austria, who beat North Macedonia 3-1 earlier on Sunday.
Next up for De Boer’s side is a clash with Austria in Amsterdam on Thursday.