Euro 2024: Netherlands vs. Turkey, 2-1

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Netherlands Secure Semifinal Spot with Hard-Fought Win Over Turkey

The Netherlands have booked their place in the Euro 2024 semifinals with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Turkey this Saturday. The match, held at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, saw a dramatic turnaround within five minutes, with Cody Gakpo emerging as the standout performer.

Pre-Match Controversy

The buildup to this match was marred by controversy. Merih Demiral, Turkey’s star player in the round of 16 (scoring twice against Austria), was excluded from this match and the semifinals due to a gesture associated with the far-right Turkish organization, the Grey Wolves. Before the game, there were incidents in Berlin as Turkish fans attempted to replicate Demiral’s gesture, prompting police intervention.

On the Pitch

On the field, Turkey showed respect for the Dutch team by setting up with a five-man defense, four in midfield, and Arda Guler roaming in attack. The Netherlands, under Ronald Koeman’s offensive 4-3-3 setup, relied on Depay and Gakpo as their main attacking threats.

Despite the Dutch dominance in terms of attacking play, it was Turkey who struck first. Real Madrid’s Arda Guler sent a right-footed cross to the far post where Samet Akaydin powerfully headed the ball past Verbruggen, redeeming himself after an own goal against Portugal.

Second Half Adjustments

In the second half, Koeman brought on Weghorst for Bergwijn, seeking more physical presence against the tenacious Turkish defenders. Weghorst created a scoring opportunity for Depay, but the ex-Atletico Madrid forward narrowly missed.

Arda Guler continued to shine for Turkey, nearly scoring with a superb free-kick at 56 minutes that grazed the post after a slight touch from Verbruggen.

Dutch Comeback

However, the game’s most thrilling moments were yet to come. The Netherlands gained momentum and turned the match around within five minutes. First, Stefan De Vrij, the Inter Milan center-back, headed home unchallenged in the heart of the box, equalizing the score.

Five minutes later, in the 76th minute, Cody Gakpo orchestrated the comeback. A cross from Dumfries found its way across the penalty area, and Gakpo’s effort, combined with Muldur’s attempted clearance, ended up in the back of the net. UEFA officially credited the goal as an own goal by Muldur.

With this result, the Netherlands reached the European Championship semifinals for the fifth time in their history and the first since Euro 2004. They will face England on Thursday.

Player of the Match: Cody Gakpo

Cody Gakpo was the key playmaker of the match. While Verbruggen and De Vrij were crucial defensively, Gakpo consistently directed the Dutch attack. His involvement in the second goal, where he forced Muldur’s own goal, highlighted his impact. If the Netherlands makes it to the final, Gakpo will be a strong contender for the player of the tournament.

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