A late Luuk de Jong header earned an impotent Netherlands side a 1-1 draw against the Republic of Ireland

de jong oranjeKevin Strootman was back in the Netherlands line-up for the first time in two years as Netherlands looked to continue on from the win over England earlier this year and gain confidence for the World Cup qualifiers later this year.

Netherlands began the game with lots of possession, but looked clueless in the opponents half and as the first period wore on it was the hosts who began to take control. Harry Arter fired straight at Jasper Cillessen as Republic of Ireland gained confidence and after 30 minutes they took the lead. A corner was met by John O’Shea, but Jasper Cillessen kept out his header, only for Shane Long to bundle in on the rebound.

After the goal Netherlands showed small signs of life with Memphis Depay’s curling cross just evading Quincy Promes, while Riechedly Bazoer registered the visitors first shot at goal just before the break, but it was high and wide.

Early in the second half the Irish threatened a second goal but last ditch defending and a smart Jasper Cillessen save kept Netherlands in the tie.

As the game wore on Netherlands camped themselves in the Irish half, but still struggled to create any chances. Memphis, who was replaced on the hour mark by debutante Steven Berghuis, whipped another dangerous cross wide, while Bas Dost’s tame header fell wide.

With the game limping to an end Blind threw on Luuk de Jong and the PSV hitman headed in Jetro Willems perfect cross on 85 minutes to earn Netherlands a draw they barely deserved with their only shot on target in the whole game.

Its a meaningless match for the Oranje, but fans will once again be worried by the performance of the national team who looked short of ideas or confidence. Blind will once again be under more pressure and improved performances will need to come against Austria and Poland to avoid more calls for him to be sacked.

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