Dumfries Helps Netherlands Come on Top in Five-Goal Drama with Ukraine

High pace, intensity, and five goals, all scored in the second half. Netherlands – Ukraine was arguably the most entertaining match seen at Euro 2020 so far. It was the Oranje to pull it off in the end, overcoming Andriy Shevchenko’s side 3-2 despite squandering a double lead, mostly thanks to a monstrous performance from PSV Eindhoven wing-back Denzel Dumfries who scored the winner. 

It was not an easy one for coach Frank De Boer, who had to deploy 39-year-old Maarten Stekelenburg between the posts after starting goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen tested positive for COVID. Oddly enough, the Ajax goalkeeper was a starter for the Oranje already at Euro 2008. De Boer was also missing his designated captain Donny Van den Beek. He lined up his boys in a 3-5-2 fashion with Memphis Depay and Wout Weghorst spearheading the attack. They would both make it to the scorecard.

Andriy Shevchenko answered with a reckless 4-3-3, featuring Oleksander Zubkov, Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk on the front line – with Atalanta’s Ruslan Malinovskyi deployed in midfield.

The game started with an irresistible progression from Memphis Depay who called goalkeeper Heorhiy Bushchan to action less than two minutes after kick off. On five minutes, the Ukrainian goalie made an authentic miracle as he denied Denzel Dumfries with a split from point-blank range. 

The Dutch were on fire: Faster, more aggressive, they always came first on the ball. Coach Shevchenko didn’t even have luck on his side as he soon lost a part of his offensive trident in Oleksander Zubkov, who left the pitch due to an injury. The Ukrainians, however, eventually managed to regain control and the match became more balanced, though Stekelenburg suffered no major treat.

On the contrary, his counterpart Bushchan continued to have much work to do and had to keep his cool to save from a dangerous Georginio Wijnaldum effort on 39 minutes. Dumfries was the added weapon for the Oranje but failed an easy chance just one minute later, heading the ball into the side banners from a Depay long range cross to the far post.

Ukraine made themselves dangerous right before the break as Marlos exchanged with Andriy Yarmolenko but Stekelenburg was well alert and averted the challenge.

The balance didn’t last long in the second half as the Netherlands’ aggressiveness bore fruit on 51 minutes. It all started with a brilliant cutting cross from Dumfries, who whipped the ball into the middle of the box from the right flank. Bushchan did what he could this time to prevent Marten De Roon from catching the ball, but captain Wijnaldum pounced on the rebound and whipped it into the empty net to finally trouble the scorecard.

Eight more minutes, and the Dutch extended their cushion to two goals, courtesy of a Wout Weghorst rocket fired into the back of the net after yet another Dumfries progression had sent the Ukrainian defense in panic.

It seemed that the Netherlands could switch to cruise control mode, yet they wasted it all in the space of three minutes. First, with 15 minutes to play, Ukraine number 7 Yarmolenko suddenly reopened the game with a stunning conclusion from outside the box that ended its run into the top right corner of the Oranje‘s net. 

But if Ukraine’s first goal could be attributed to Yarmolenko’s feat, the second was totally gift-wrapped by the Dutch defense – who failed to mark Roman Yaremchuk appropriately and left him free to head the ball home from a Ruslan Malinovskyi set piece.

Luckily for Frank De Boer and co., Denzel Dumfries had really decided that this had to be his game. Netherlands made it three on 85 minutes thanks to the untamable PSV Eindhoven wing-back, even if this time Bushchan should have done better. Not only the Ukrainian shot-stopper offered Nathan Aké the chance for the winning cross – delivering him the ball with a poor pass – but also let the ball slide through his hands from Dumfries’ header.

Maybe with a bit of luck, the Oranje took the three points home, much to the delight of the home crowd populating the stands of the Johann Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam. Ukraine and their loud supporters, however, showed that they can have their say in the European competition and – based on what seen in the afternoon between Austria and North Macedonia – can still cultivate good hopes of making it past Group C and into the knockout stage.   


June 13, 2021 – European Championship 2020 Group C

SCORERS: 51′ Wijnaldum (N), 59′ Weghorst (N), 75′ Yarmolenko (U), 78′ Yaremchuk (U), 85′ Dumfries (N)

NETHERLANDS (3-5-2): Stekelenburg; Timber (88′ Veltman), De Vrij, Blind (64′ Aké); Dumfries, De Roon, Wijnaldum, F. De Jong, Van Aanholt (64′ Wijndal); Depay (90′ Malen), Weghorst (88′ L. De Jong) (Krul, Bizot, Berghuis, Klaassen, Gravenberch, Koopmeiners, Gakpo) Coach: De Boer
UKRAINE (4-3-3): Bushchan; Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Matviyenko, Mykolenko; Malinovskyi, Sydorchuk, Zinchenko; Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk, Zubkov (13′ Marlos, 64′ Shaparenko) (Pyatov, Trubin, Sobol, Kryvtsov, Stepanenko, Makarenko, Besedin, Tymchyk, Popov, Dovbyk) Coach: Shevchenko

REFEREE: Brych (Germany)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Sydorchuk (U); Extra Time: 1st Half 1′, 2nd Half 5′