Wekhorst fired the Netherlands to their opening win over Poland

The Netherlands won their first group game against Poland 2-1. Joker Wekhorst, the winner of the match, scored the winning goal shortly after coming on as a substitute.

Wood Wekhorst in the middle: Elfdal celebrates the 2-1 win with the whole team.
IMAGO/Shutterstock

On paper, at the back, Poland coach Michael Propiers also had to do without his absolute best star: captain, record national player and record goalscorer Lewandowski was missing with muscle problems. According to him, Buxa started as a striker compared to the successful dress rehearsal against Turkey (2:1). Additionally, Dawidowicz, Slisz, Piotrowksi and Swiderski had to give way to Solomon, Romanczuk, Urbanski and Sebastian Szymanski.

Meanwhile, Bond coach Ronald Koeman is completely missing, with Brophy suffering a short-term injury, two key players, De Jong and Koopmeiners, Dortmund’s Mattsen and ex-Munich Zirkzee have been nominated. Both substitutes sit on the bench for the time being as Koeman relies on the same starting eleven as in the 4-0 win over Iceland in the last European Championship test.

Orange pressures, Poland win 1-0

This team, full of individual classes, played well and had a couple of promising shots on goal through Gakpo (2nd) and Reijnders (9th), but they had to overcome an early setback: in the 16th minute, Puxa ran over. He highlighted the poles in one corner.

The Netherlands rewards the storm

But the Netherlands continued to play forward without conceding a goal. At some points the game resembled a real storm: first Van Dijk (20th) and Debaye (22nd) missed more chances, and Kagbo did well a little later when his deflected shot hit the net (29th).

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As a result, the Oranje continued to dominate the game, although the Poles showed tremendous fight and threw themselves at every ball. However, isolated attempts at a counterattack largely failed. Quivier had a great chance and his powerful shot was parried by Verbruecken (32′). On the other hand, Kagbo (42nd) and Debe (45th + 1) missed the Netherlands’ other best chances and the score went into the locker room at 1-1.

Fast-paced game: Poland hold on

After the break, the game continued with the first round based on entertainment value. As the Poles did not hide either – on the contrary, they became more active almost an hour later – the spectators in Hamburg saw many offensive actions on both sides.

After a ten-minute spell between the 60th and 70th minutes where the Dutch looked a bit nervous and gave the ball away, Koeman’s side settled back but now increasingly missed moving towards goal. Apart from Dumfries’ approach in the 70th minute, Elfdal rarely appeared in the final third.

Wegost shoots Orange in luck

In the 81st minute, Koeman brought on Wekhorst as Debay’s striker – and the substitution should pay off immediately. With his first contact with the ball, he dunked the ball into the net after a pass from Ake to make it 2-1 (83′). Shortly before the end, Poland had another chance to equalise, but Verbruggen quickly failed against Swiderski (89th) – and as not much happened in five minutes of stoppage time – it held on for a narrow victory.

On the second matchday, Poland face Austria on Friday (6pm), followed by the Netherlands against France (9pm).

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