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Euro 2024: Weghorst's first touch helps Dutch net 2-1 win over Poland

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Euro 2024: Weghorsts first touch helps Dutch net 2-1 win over Poland
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Photo: AFP 

Hamburg, Germany: In Sunday's European Championship Group D opening against Poland, striker Wout Weghorst came off the bench to steal a late winner with his first touch and give the Netherlands a well-earned 2-1 comeback victory.

Tens of thousands of "Oranje" supporters at Hamburg's Volksparkstadion went wild in the 83rd minute as Weghorst hardly had time to enter the game when he slid in Nathan Ake's beautiful pass into the area.

He had scored three goals in a row as a substitute for the national team.

"So important to get the early win and for me personally it's a dream scenario," the 31-year-old said. "I felt the goal coming. Our aim now is to leave with the trophy.”

With man-of-the-match Cody Gakpo leading a smooth passing attack, the Dutch dominated from the start, looking to repeat their victory at Euro 1988, which was also held in Germany, Reuters reported.

However, they were taken aback when, in the 16th minute, Adam Buksa, taking the place of Poland's injured goal machine Robert Lewandowski, soared over three defenders and skillfully flicked a stand-in captain Piotr Zielinski's corner into the net.

"I have mixed feelings. First there was euphoria but now I'm just sad that we lost that match," Buksa said. "We definitely played a good match against a really good team... No points in this case. However, we are not putting our guns down.”

The Dutch equalised in the 29th minute when livewire Gakpo sent a low shot from outside the box that deflected off defender Bartosz Salamon and beat Wojciech Szczesny.

The Dutch wasted a number of first-half opportunities, much to the dismay of head coach Ronald Koeman: classy midfielder Tijjani Reijnders missed one, Memphis Depay squandered two excellent opportunities, Gakpo missed another, and Virgil van Dijk's close-range effort was saved.

Van Dijk appeared to always be one step ahead of his opponent at the back, and Ake constantly stormed forward, setting up both goals with assists.

The second half saw more Dutch lost opportunities as Xavi Simons missed a chance and Denzel Dumfries' header was turned away by Szczesny before Weghorst saved the day.

"I felt we should have been three or 4-1 up by then but if you want to win you must score goals, so we knew we needed to change something up front," said a relieved Koeman whose team have France and Austria to come in Group D.

"Wout's aggression is what he brought to the game... He got one moment and swept it in with his left.”

It was a disappointing defeat for Polish coach Michal Probierz, despite great defensive work by a team that displayed its ability to play without Lewandowski's leadership. It also brought an end to his eight-match unbeaten streak with the national team.

The Poles were behind for much of the game, but in the closing stages, they took a risk and had a chance to tie the score through a shot by Karol Swiderski, only for Bart Verbruggen to make an outstanding save.

"Of course, the Netherlands were driving this match, However, we had a good few situations even after conceding the second goal, it's too bad that we are finishing this game with zero points," said Buksa.

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TAGS:NetherlandsPolandEuro 2024
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