HomeFootballWijnaldum and Weghorst on target as Netherlands thrash wasteful Scotland

Wijnaldum and Weghorst on target as Netherlands thrash wasteful Scotland


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At the Johan Cruyff Arena Steve Clarke did not demand pretty ­football, only a Scotland victory after five games without enjoying one. Instead, the sequence is now a sorry six as the manager oversaw an embarrassing fourth loss of the run and now targets Tuesday’s visit of Northern Ireland to Hampden Park to stop the slump.

His side were profligate and Netherlands clinical, Georginio Wijnaldum’s 72nd-minute header joining Tijjani Reijnders’s first-half opener and emulated by finishes from Wout Weghorst and Donyell Malen, as Scotland’s European Championship preparations suffered a body blow.

Andy Robertson, their captain, said: “The fact that we have walked off that pitch 4-0 is unbelievable. We can’t keep doing this, going into our old ways against the big teams. There is no way we can play like that because people will look at that result and think it is very one sided. When you go to major tournaments then you have to be a lot better than that.

“If you do get beat, you have to keep your goal difference down. We do not want to be the team that just qualifies for tournaments, we want to be competing. You can’t come away to these big teams and play the way we did. We have to take heart from the 60, 70 minutes but the last 20 minutes is not how we want to play.”

Initially Scotland schooled their hosts. The Dutch are supposedly masters of ball and space so witnessing them being wheeled out of position was a surprise with Robertson and Ryan Christie combining along the left. Ronald Koeman’s men thwarted this foray yet here was the clever play of the standard Clarke spoke of wishing to attain.

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Roundup: Reid debut goal earns NI draw in Romania


Stevenage striker Jamie Reid scored just seven minutes into his international debut as Northern Ireland earned an encouraging 1-1 friendly draw away to Romania.

Connor Bradley and Shea Charles set up the opener for the 29-year-old, with the Southampton man squaring for Reid [pictured] to fire in off the underside of the bar. Euro 2024-bound Romania hit back when Dennis Man beat Conor Hazard for power in the 23rd minute.

Paddy McNair and Ianis Hagi passed up the best chances of a sluggish second half, with Michael O’Neill impressed by his youthful side. ‘I’m very pleased with a lot of aspects of our performance,’ O’Neill said. ‘[The goal] typified what we have in our team: energy, athleticism, and the quality of our play.’ PA Media

Elsewhere, Ademola Lookman’s late goal secured a 2-1 win for Nigeria over Ghana in Marrakech, while Egypt beat New Zealand 1-0 in Cairo. Oscar Bobb scored the opener for Norway but Czech Republic fought back to win 2-1 in Oslo. Dominik Szoboszlai’s penalty earned Hungary a 1-0 home win over Turkey, while fellow Euro 2024 qualifiers Albania lost 3-0 to Chile in Parma.

Photograph: Alex Nicodim/Rex Features

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Scott McTominay, Jack Hendry and Billy Gilmour, constructed sequences from the back with composure and the visitors nearly struck when the Brighton midfielder dropped a deep cross in from the right. Christie propelled himself at the ball, the header crashed off the bar via a Mark Flekken hand, and Lawrence Shankland failed to connect with the rebound.

The Dutch were powerless to stop those in blue flitting about with the ball so Jeremie Frimpong’s failure to find a teammate when unmarked in the area was poor. So, too, the same player’s skewed control of a right-to-left Memphis Depay pass that would have had him racing at goal.

Scottish preeminence was found in an atmosphere as muted as those in orange despite Koeman’s XI appearing formidable in featuring Nathan Aké, Wijnaldum, Depay, Cody Gakpo and being led by Virgil van Dijk. But, this was no well-oiled machine functioning in high gear, as illustrated by Xavi Simons’ free-kick going straight out.

Georginio Wijnaldum heads Netherlands into a 2-0 lead during their friendly victory. Photograph: Rene Nijhuis/MB Media/Getty Images

Yet any delight Clarke felt soured as Netherlands scored. First, Reijnders was given an acre outside Scotland’s area. Then, though his shot was blistering, Angus Gunn failed to elevate himself high enough and in went the opener at around the No 1’s shoulder height.

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The Scots had been sucker-punched and Clarke’s interval chat thus changed and at this juncture might have pondered introducing Ché Adams for Shankland as the attack lacked teeth. He did not but surely reminded his charges to be ruthless: to prosper in the second half, and at Euro 2024. If this was the message McTominay’s dally in the area before unloading will have infuriated as, again, Netherlands were allowed to escape.

The corollary was the hosts’ confidence jagging upwards. A Depay swivel-and-shot needed a sharp Gunn save – to his right – following smart Dutch interplay prompting John McGinn to go direct, blazing at goal, then collecting from Flekken’s parry and crossing to Christie. His header was spooned wide and a Gilmour attempt was deflected seconds later but this proved a direly false auguring for the Scots.

Gakpo might have doubled the lead with an attempt that was the product of Netherlands having taken control and this, now, became a test of Scotland’s ability to edge a way back – from the deficit and being under the hammer. Suddenly, following a Mats Wieffer error, Shankland had the chance to engineer this, yet though his lob beat Flekken it was too high and clipped the bar.

On 68 minutes Clarke finally made a move via a triple substitution – Adams for Shankland one of these, with John Souttar replacing Kieran Tierney and Lewis Ferguson on for Gilmour.

But Wijnaldum was to register, Weghorst and Malen the same – the Borussia Dortmund forward able to stroll through Scotland’s defence. This and their performance was not good enough.

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