Steven Davis missed a first-half penalty as Northern Ireland could not deny the Dutch their place at UEFA EURO 2020.
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The Oranje sealed their place at UEFA EURO 2020 despite being held at Windsor Park – a result that means Northern Ireland can only qualify through the play-offs.
Michael O’Neill’s side began brightly but the Dutch nearly struck first when Steven Berghuis clipped the bar. However, the best chance of the first half fell to Steven Davis, who fired his 32nd-minute penalty over.
The Oranje continued to hold sway after the interval without causing Northern Ireland custodian Bailey Peacock-Farrell too many problems and they will now hope to overhaul Germany for top spot in their final group game.
For the tenth time in their history, the Netherlands have qualified for the finals. Quite an achievement, given how many wrote them off only two years ago. But qualification will probably be tinged with a little bit of regret that they didn’t manage to win tonight and retain first place in Group C.
For Northern Ireland, you can only have praise. Twice against the Netherlands and once against Germany they stood their ground and were in no way outclassed. That is a tremendous achievement. No one will want to be drawn against them in the play-offs.
State of play
- Northern Ireland are now out of contention in the group but will take part in the play-offs.
- The Netherlands have qualified and could still win the group in their final game.
Michael O’Neill, Northern Ireland manager
“There are things we can be pleased and unhappy about. We started well with chances, but didn't take them. The penalty was a good chance but we didn't take it. Second half we couldn't get up to the ball enough. They were good in possession. We couldn't get up to create anything. But we didn't lose anything. It's not like we were under so much pressure but we couldn't get much possession. We should have been braver.”
Ronald Koeman, Netherlands coach
“I’m happy, and proud of my team. The match turned out the way we expected. They started out at a very high tempo. But we were professional in our attitude and got the point we needed. I think it’s a great achievement.”
Virgil van Dijk, Netherlands captain
“We have qualified for the finals, and that is the most important thing. In the end it doesn’t really matter how, only that we did it. We managed to cope with their long passing game, and now and again we were good in possession. But I don’t want to talk about all that for too long, because we have qualified - and that’s all that counts.”
Frenkie de Jong, Netherlands midfielder
“I’m definitely happy we reached our goal. I don’t think we should be too critical of our performance. But, deep down, I’m a little disappointed we didn’t win. We didn’t really face too many difficult moments, and also created possibilities to score, but in the end we should just be happy that we qualified.”
- Netherlands have won 12 of their last 18 competitive matches – their four defeats in that spell were away to France, twice, at home to Germany and away to Portugal.
- Netherlands are unbeaten in four away games, winning three, since the UEFA Nations League final.
- Twenty-five of the Oranje’s last 33 goals have been scored in or after the 55th minute.
- Memphis Depay, who was injured tonight, has scored ten goals in his last 13 games for the Netherlands. All bar one were scored in the final 35 minutes of the game, including four in the last seven minutes of matches.
- Georginio Wijnaldum, an unused substitute tonight, has scored in the last three minutes in two of the Netherlands’ last five games and has seven goals in his last 11 international appearances. Wijnaldum has scored four goals in the Oranje’s last four away games.
- Forward Josh Magennis and defender Craig Cathcart will reach 50 caps for Northern Ireland if they play in their final qualifier.
Northern Ireland: Peacock-Farrell; C Evans (McGinn 70), Cathcart, J Evans, Lewis (Thompson 81); McNair, S Davis, Saville (Smith 58); Dallas, Magennis, Whyte
Netherlands: Cillessen; Veltman, Van Dijk, De Ligt, Blind; Van de Beek, De Roon (Pröpper 36), F de Jong; Berghuis (L de Jong 65), Babel (Aké 90), Promes