The Netherlands took another step towards the Euros with a hard-fought 2-1 win in Dublin against the Republic of Ireland.

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Ronald Koeman made three changes for the clash in Dublin with Matthijs de Ligt replacing the injured Lutsharel Geertruida. Mats Wieffer and Donyell Malen also came in for Marten de Roon and Wout Weghorst.

The start couldn’t have been much worse for the Netherlands, who lost the ball in their own penalty area. A corner was the result but from that, the ball hit the arm of Virgil van Dijk and a penalty was awarded. Adam Idah made it 1-0.

The Netherlands struggled with the press of the Irish and a number of mistakes were made. No further goals were conceded and in the 19th minute, Cody Gakpo played an excellent pass through to Denzel Dumfries, who was brought down by the goalkeeper. Gakpo netted the resulting penalty.

Ireland had their chances before the break against a shaky Netherlands backline, while at the other end, Malen was twice denied by Gavin Bazunu.

At the break, Koeman brought off Wieffer and Daley Blind for Wout Weghorst and Tijjani Reijnders. The formation was switched back to a 4-3-3.

That led to the Netherlands taking control and the lead was found in the 56th minute when Frenkie de Jong played in Dumfries and he pulled the ball back for Weghorst to fire in his second goal this week.

There was chances for the Netherlands to wrap up the game on the counter through Xavi Simons and substitute Noa Lang, but they weren’t taken. That led to a nervy ending in which the Irish pushed for an equaliser, but it did not come.

The Netherlands remain second in the group and their qualifying hopes remain in their own hands. Next month they will host France and travel to Greece.

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