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Romania 0 Holland 3: Cody Gakpo shines again as Dutch storm into Euro 2024 quarter-final

CODY Gakpo propelled Holland into their first Euros quarter-final in 16 years.

The Liverpool star’s first-half strike put him joint top of the tournament’s goalscoring chart with three.

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Cody Gakpo was the star of the show in the Netherlands 2-0 win against Romania[/caption]

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Donyell Malen’s second strike secured Holland’s spot in the quarter-finals of the Euros[/caption]

And the Dutch should have added at least that many more before substitute Donyell Malen made up for his early wastefulness by turning in Gakpo’s cutback.

But in truth Romania already looked beaten, having faded badly after a rousing start, and Malen made it three in stoppage time.

This was a promising display by Ronald Koeman’s side as they bounced back from the disappointment of losing 3-2 to Austria in their final group game.

The Dutch last made it to the last eight of the European Championship in 2008.

Given they find themselves on the better half of the draw, they may now fancy their chances of repeating the final they played on German soil in 1988 – when Koeman and co lifted the trophy.

Romanian fans outnumbered the Dutch and they roared their team on to an aggressive start.

But the men in yellow had not managed a shot on target when Gakpo gave Holland the lead.

Blue-haired right back Andrei Ratiu made an even bigger spectacle himself by showing the Liverpool wideman the inside.

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Gakpo could not believe his luck, even more so when Romania goalkeeper Florin Nita made only a feeble effort to keep out the shot at his near post.

With Memphis Depay increasingly influential, the Dutch took control and created a number of openings.

Xavi Simons was guilty of wasting the best of them, taking way too long to shoot after Denzel Dumfries robbed substitute Bogdan Racovitan, and then hitting the ball tamely wide when he did.

There was to be no Romanian recovery.

Tijjani Reinjders was allowed to run from deep only for his shot to be blocked.

Depay should soon have doubled the lead soon but seemed to panic when half-time sub Malen’s shot was deflected into his path. He miscued and Nita gathered.

Malen wasted a three-on-two break and from the resulting Depay corner, Virgil Van Dijk grazed a post with a header.

Then it was Gakpo’s turn to run opposed deep into the Romanian half, and he forced Nita into a decent stop. After the corner, he had the ball in the net, but VAR ruled it out because he was offside.

That reprieve woke up the Romanian crowd. But their team was still on the rack, with Depay sending a free kick just wide.

Gakpo teed up substitute Joey Veerman with a brilliant backhell but again the target was narrowly missed. Simons almost scored by accident when the ball was cleared on to him and then Malen mucked up another overload that ended with Gakpo’s shot being blocked.

Finally, the second goal arrived with seven minutes to go.

Tottenham defender Radu Dragusin allowed Gakpo to wriggle past him on the byline and even Malen couldn’t miss from inside the six-yard box.

The Dortmund forward had more to do for his second, and this time he made the most of a quick break with a fine finish at the death.

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