Georginio Wijnaldum’s double saw Netherlands defeat Belarus 2-1 in Minsk to take a huge step towards sealing Euro 2020 qualification.

Ronald Koeman decided to make four changes to the side that disappointed in the 3-1 win over Northern Ireland on Thursday. Donyell Malen replaced the injured Memphis Depay up front, while Donny van de Beek, Joel Veltman and Quincy Promes all started. Marten de Roon, Denzel Dumfries and Ryan Babel dropped out.

As expected, Belarus sat deep and tried to frustrate the Netherlands. The first big chance came in the 20th minute but van de Beek’s effort ended on the roof of the net. A few minutes later, Belarus got a big chance after a poor clearance by Matthijs de Ligt. Denis Laptev initial strike was blocked by De Ligt, and the follow up was then hammered wide of Jasper Cillessen’s goal.

In the 32nd minute, Netherlands got the lead with Georginio Wijnaldum getting in between two defenders to head in a Promes cross. Nine minutes later, the Liverpool midfielder made it 2-0 with a stunning strike into the top corner from just outside the box.

Belarus didn’t give up after the break and after a big chance was missed, Stanislav Dragun did make it 2-1 with a header in the 53rd minute.

Netherlands began to look shaky and Koeman intervened with De Roon and Luuk de Jong coming on for van de Beek and Promes.

With De Roon, Netherlands managed to wrestle control back and they should have extended their lead. However, De Jong put a header over the bar, while Malen was denied when through one on one with the goalkeeper.

Netherlands are now three points clear at the top of the group and know a win over Northern Ireland next month will seal their place in the Euros.

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