Wales 1-2 Netherlands: Weghorst seals Dutch win late on
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
Seconds after Rhys Norrington-Davies had levelled for the home side, Wout Weghorst snatched victory as the Netherlands made it two wins from two in Group A4.
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The Netherlands made it two wins from two in UEFA Nations League Group A4 in dramatic fashion, Wout Weghorst heading the winning goal four minutes into added time, moments after Rhys Norrington-Davies had seemingly salvaged a point for Wales.
50' Koopmeiners scores with low shot
90+2' Norrington-Davies levels from Roberts' cross
90+4' Weghorst wins it with diving header
Match in brief: Weghorst decisive for Dutch
The first half proved an even contest, Norrington-Davies heading narrowly over for the home side and Harry Wilson drawing a diving stop from Mark Flekken. At the other end, Teun Koopmeiners had an early effort blocked while Cody Gakpo's shot deflected just wide shortly before half-time.
The Netherlands emerged for the second half with renewed purpose and within five minutes they were ahead. Patient build-up created space for Jery Schouten to find Koopmeiners just inside the area, and a low shot flew past the dive of Wales' substitute goalkeeper Adam Davies.
Wales sought a way back into the contest but looked like coming up short until two minutes into added time when Connor Roberts delivered an inviting cross that Norrington-Davies climbed above Hans Hateboer to meet at the far post with a thumping header.
Before Welsh celebrations had died down, however, Netherlands substitute Frenkie de Jong led a counterattack and found Tyrell Malacia down the left. Weghorst pulled away to the penalty spot to meet his cross and planted his diving header inside the post to give his side a dramatic victory.
Mark Pitman, match reporter
The Netherlands make it two wins out of two while Wales suffer their second group defeat in as many games. Both managers played their usual tactical system and shape, but the personnel were very different in two experimental starting line-ups. The game will be remembered for the two late goals, and this will be a tough defeat for Wales to take. They may be heading to the World Cup but Rob Page's focus now is on ensuring his side avoid Nations League relegation.
Wout Weghorst, Netherlands match-winner: "It was a good goal. It was a superb pass from [Tyrell Malacia] who went down the left well and delivered a perfect waist-high cross. The ball went in nicely at the end. I think they may have wanted to take me off [due to a head injury] but luckily I was able to continue and it's great that I could make the difference at the end."
Louis van Gaal, Netherlands coach: "We have a marvellous group. This is not the first time and it won't be the last [we win late]. The Wales coach changed a lot of players, more in attack than in defence, and that's why I made my changes. I must compliment Wales, they had the spirit to win, but they did not create any chances. Their goal was a mistake as we did not clear the ball. Their header was great, but the header from Weghorst to win was fantastic."
Rob Page, Wales manager: "I feel the same as I did after [the 2-1 loss against] Poland. We gave ourselves a great opportunity to get a point but we showed a bit of naivety, and the players will learn form that. I'm really proud of the players to put in that level of performance against a very strong Dutch team.”
Rhys Norrington-Davies, Wales goalscorer: "We played well today against a top side. Disappointed with the result, to get ourselves back into the game, that second goal we're disappointed to concede. It's something we need to look back and improve on. I'm delighted to get the goal but with the result it's a disappointing night."
Gareth Bale, Wales captain: "We didn't have our full-strength squad. The boys who came in worked very hard to get the equaliser then to concede so early after that was gutting, but it's something we have to learn. They're a world-class team; if you're the tier below you get away with that at the end. You play the top teams, you don't do the things you need to do and you get punished."
- Koopmeiners and Norrington-Davies both scored their first international goals.
- Weghorst's goal was his third for the Netherlands and his first since scoring against Ukraine at UEFA EURO 2020.
- This was Wales' first home defeat since November 2018, ending their 19-match unbeaten run.
- The Netherlands are now unbeaten in 11 matches (W8 D3).
- The Dutch have won all nine of their games against Wales, scoring 26 goals and conceding only six.
Wales: Ward (A Davies 46); C Roberts, B Davies, Mepham, Rodon; Norrington-Davies, Wilson, Morrell (Colwill 60), Levitt (Smith 68); James (Matondo 77), Johnson (Bale 77)
Netherlands: Flekken; Teze, De Vrij, De Ligt (Martins Indi 84); Hateboer, Koopmeiners, Schouten (F de Jong 67), Malacia; Lang (Til 90+1), Gakpo (Bergwijn 67); Weghorst
Group A4 Live now
What happens after the UEFA Nations League group stage?
The four group winners in League A will advance to the knockout finals with, in principle, one appointed as hosts. The semi-finals will be played on 14 and 15 June 2023 with the final and third-place play-off to follow on 18 June.
The teams finishing fourth in the groups in League A will be relegated to League B for the 2024/25 edition.