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Netherlands 3-2 Ukraine: Denzel Dumfries settles five-goal Euros thriller in Amsterdam after late fightback

·3 min read
 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Denzel Dumfries struck late with a timely first senior international goal as the Netherlands opened their Euro 2020 campaign with a thrilling 3-2 win over Ukraine in Amsterdam.

Back at a major international tournament for the first time in seven years, the Dutch - despite no shortage of first-half profligacy - looked to be cruising towards victory in Group C after two goals in six second-half minutes from Georginio Wijnaldum and Wout Weghorst.

However, Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine staged a remarkable late fightback courtesy of a wonder strike from captain Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk’s header from a free-kick.

But Dumfries had the final say in undoubtedly the best match of the European Championship so far as he got across Oleksandr Zinchenko to head Nathan Ake’s cross beyond goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan with only five minutes remaining.

Per Opta Sports, it was the first match in European Championship history to involve five second-half goals that was tied 0-0 at the break.

Frank De Boer's Netherlands registered seven shots in the opening 15 minutes alone with two of their most experienced players, Mephis Depay and Wijnaldum, running the show.

But a combination of ineffective finishing and goalkeeper Buschan meant they were frustrated for 52 minutes before the previously impeccable goalkeeper pushed Dumfries' cross straight out to the former Liverpool midfielder and he calmly passed the ball into the net for his 23rd goal in 76 appearances.

Coincidentally, the new Paris Saint-Germain signing was the last player to score for the Netherlands at a major tournament, 2,528 days ago at the 2014 World Cup.

Weghorst, who had been relatively ineffective, fired home his first international competitive goal seven minutes later but the celebrations in Amsterdam's Johan Cruyff Arena were cut short when West Ham winger Yarmolenko curled home a brilliant effort before Yaremchuk's powerful header levelled up the Group C encounter.

At that point there was the potential for the hosts to implode completely but the 25-year-old Dumfries picked the perfect time to open his Oranje account and make it a memorable return after a seven-year absence.

Such was their dominance De Boer's side should have cruised to victory.

Lyon's former Manchester United forward Depay set the tone with a one-man counter-attack from 15 yards inside his own half with barely two minutes on the clock, forcing the first of a number of saves from Buschan.

With both wing-backs in the 3-5-2 formation pushing on it was no surprise to see the right-sided Dumfries regularly appearing in the final third but there was no excuse for him missing a free header from Depay's cross five minutes before the interval.

It was, merely, a prelude to what turned into an exciting finish in which Ukraine's goalkeeper had played his part, making the save of the match as, wrong-footed, he stuck out a left hand to keep out Wijnaldum's deflected first-half volley.

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

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Netherlands 3-2 Ukraine: Denzel Dumfries settles five-goal Euros thriller in Amsterdam after late fightback

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