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Schuurman stars as Dutch beat Malta to advance

Malta 2-5 Netherlands
Jari Schuurman struck a hat-trick to help rubber-stamp the Dutch's semi-final place and end the spirited hosts' hopes of reaching the last four.

Schuurman stars as Dutch beat Malta to advance
Schuurman stars as Dutch beat Malta to advance ©UEFA.com

The Netherlands won 5-2 against Malta to book their semi-final berth and end the hosts' hopes.

England's victory against Turkey earlier in the day meant Malta needed three points to stay afloat. They had their moments even after falling 3-0 down, following two goals from Jari Schuurman and one from Steven Bergwijn. Indeed, Sergio Soldano's team pulled one back through Joseph Mbong, but Schuurman then completed his hat-trick and Bergwijn added a late fifth after Aidan Friggieri had once more cut the deficit.

Maarten Stekelenburg promised pre-tournament that this was a "typically Dutch" side, and they certainly delivered here. Wide forwards Bilal Ould-Chikh and Anthony Berenstein were at the heart of much of the Jong Oranje's early success. Indeed, Berenstein teed up Bergwijn with a minute gone, but the No7 headed over.

Bergwijn again failed to make the net ripple when set up by Ould-Chikh from the other side, the right, but Schuurman was on hand to turn in the rebound. The Feyenoord midfielder then hit the bar after Jamie Azzopardi parried Ould-Chikh's effort. Bergwijn also found his range five minutes later, collecting Abdelhak Nouri's cute ball with one touch and finishing with another.

Though Malta eventually got a foothold in the game and went close through Jake Grech and Friggieri, Stekelenburg's charges remained superior. Kenneth Paal, on for the injured Berenstein, was a seamless replacement, sliding in a delightful pass for Schuurman, who slipped the ball calmly under the onrushing Azzopardi.

However, Malta finally had reason to cheer three minutes before the break, when Mbong finished first time after Friggieri's effort came back off the bar. The hosts' celebrations were short-lived, though, for Schuurman restored the Dutch's two-goal advantage soon after the break, daintily latching on to Keziah Veendorp's long ball and rounding Azzopardi before finishing with aplomb.

Friggieri did likewise when the ball was laid on a plate for him by Mbong but, with the unlikeliest of comebacks looming, Grech then missed the target with only Yanick van Osch to beat. A few moments later, it was game over when Bergwijn let fly with a splendid shot from outside the area. Mbong missed another late chance but the game was up despite a spirited showing.

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