A first-half goal from Memphis Depay and a second-half brace from Georginio Wijnaldum helped the Netherlands seal a comprehensive 3-0 win over North Macedonia in their final group-stage game of UEFA Euro 2020.
With the win in Amsterdam on Monday, the Oranje march into the knockout stage of the tournament as group leaders with a perfect record while their opponents bow out of the tournament.
The fate of both sides was already known before the game, with Netherlands having confirmed top spot and North Macedonia guaranteed a bottom-placed finish. With only pride to play for, Igor Angelovski’s men caught their much-fancied opponents off guard with a fast-paced start. The visitors had a goal ruled out for offside before striking the post with a long-range effort.
However, Netherlands soon settled into their rhythm and took the lead in the 24th minute. Depay exchanged a one-two with Donyell Malen before slotting his strike partner’s return ball into the bottom-left corner.
Having wrested the initiative back from their opponents, Netherlands doubled their advantage six minutes into the second half. Depay turned provider for Wijnaldum, playing an inviting ball across the face of goal for his captain to tap into an empty net.
The same combination came good for Netherlands’ third goal seven minutes later. After Depay’s low strike was parried away by the Macedonian goalkeeper, Wijnaldum was on hand to smash home the rebound and put his side three to the good.
With the win secured, Frank de Boer gave minutes to his bench players as his side prepare to take on one of the four best third-place finishers in Budapest on June 27th in the Round of 16.
North Macedonia, meanwhile, exit the tournament with their heads held high after delivering a couple of respectable performances and have World Cup qualifiers to look forward to in September.
On that note, here are the Netherlands’ player ratings from the game.
Netherlands player ratings:
Maarten Stekelenburg: 5/10
Although he was beaten twice by goals that were later chalked off for offside, the veteran Netherlands’ shot-stopper had very little to do in the game. A smart save from a second-half free-kick was his only major contribution.
Denzel Dumfries: 5/10
One of the stars of the tournament thus far, Dumfries had an enticing battle with Ezgjan Alioski down the right flank. That was one of the highlights of the first half, as the PSV man got forward at every opportunity.
With one eye on the knockout stage, Dumfries was replaced at half-time for Jurrien Timber.
Stefan de Vrij: 5/10
He went about his business at the back quietly and efficiently. De Vrij kept the opposition attackers at bay effectively for 45 minutes before he was replaced at half-time.
Matthijs de Ligt: 5/10
The Juventus man continues to play his way back to full fitness after missing the opening game. De Ligt looked composed and commanding in the middle of the Dutch back three.
Daley Blind: 5/10
Playing on the left of a back three, the experienced defender regularly got on the ball for Netherlands. Blind brought the ball forward in his usual calm and composed fashion.
Patrick van Aanholt: 5/10
Although he was the more conservative of the two Dutch wing-backs who started the game, van Aanholt got up and down the left flank whenever an opportunity presented itself. He also created a couple of good chances.
Frenkie de Jong: 6/10
He grew into the game after misplacing a few passes in the first half and kept things ticking over nicely in the Dutch midfield.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 8/10
Wijnaldum showcasing all the qualities of the excellent box-to-box midfielder he is. The Netherlands captain not only defended diligently but also bagged a brace, helping himself to a couple of tap-ins following late runs into the box.
Ryan Gravenberch: 5/10
One of two changes made to the Dutch starting lineup, the youngster was a robust physical presence in the Dutch midfield. Gravenberch contributed both offensively and defensively.
Memphis Depay: 8/10
A display that would delight fans of both Netherlands and Barcelona alike, Depay celebrated his move to the Blaugrana with an eye-catching display. He scored the game’s opening goal and provided the assist for the second.
In addition to his goal contributions, Depay led the Dutch line exceedingly well, showcasing excellent hold-up play and dazzling dribbling prowess.
Donyell Malen: 7/10
Drafted into the starting lineup instead of Weghorst, Malen struck up an instant partnership with Depay and linked up well with his strike partner throughout the game.
The PSV forward grabbed the assist for Depay’s opener before slotting him through to set up his side’s third goal. Malen was replaced midway through the second half after making a good impression during his time on the pitch.
Player Ratings of Netherlands substitutes:
Steven Berghuis: 5/10
On for the second half, the Feyenoord winger looked dangerous on a couple of occasions. He cut onto his favourite left foot but was unable to apply the finishing touch.
Jurrien Timber: 5/10
The Ajax defender replaced Dumfries at right wing-back in the second half and delivered a similarly attacking performance. Timber got forward with great intent on a number of occasions.
Quincy Promes: 4/10
He found himself in a couple of promising positions after coming on midway through the second half, but his touch let him down on each occasion.
Wout Weghorst: 5/10
The tall striker came on in the second half and used his height and physicality to good effect.
Wout Weghorst was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet. He hit the bar and got into good positions on a couple of occasions, only to be overlooked by a teammate.
Cody Gakpo: 5/10
He came on for the final ten minutes on his international debut for Netherlands. Gakpo looked dangerous with his pace and trickery against North Macedonia.