Ireland 1-2 Netherlands: What Were The Key Talking Points As Ronald Koeman’s Men Claim A Crucial Victory In Dublin?

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Mounting what was an eye-catching comeback on Sunday night while on foreign soil, Holland clinched a crucial 2-1 win away at Ireland in Dublin.

While Stephen Kenny’s struggling squad might have come flying out of the traps here as Norwich’s Adam Idah converted from the penalty spot after just four minutes, the Group B strugglers eventually saw their qualifying dreams go up in smoke.

Pegged back just 15 minutes later as Liverpool star Cody Gakpo notched his own spot-kick, the Greens failed to find any kind of fluidity after returning from the half-time interval.

Now losing four of their five Group B appearances this year as former Manchester United loanee Wout Weghorst bagged what could turn out to be a monumental victory for the European heavyweights, Ireland have plenty of questions that need answering.

However, while Ireland might be now seeking a major qualifying miracle, Holland have found a route into the top-two and it appears that they have turned a crucial corner this month.

With the Dutch now mustering three qualifying victories on the spin, we have taken a look at the key talking points from Sunday’s showdown in Dublin.

Holland show their resolve

While Holland might have gained a string of praise during their World Cup adventure under Louis van Gaal last winter, it is no secret that the Dutch had struggled to find immediately find their feet under the returning Ronald Koeman.

Nevertheless, while the European giants might have suffered real Nations League heartbreak back in June, the one-time Barcelona boss has seen his side come roaring back this month.

Marking their return to qualifying duties earlier in the week as they landed an eye-catching 3-0 romp at home against a high-flying Greece, the Rangers have now won each of their previous three straight Group B appearances.

Mounting a stellar comeback on foreign soil here despite suffering that early blow in Dublin, Koeman’s men have now handed themselves a major platform to build on going forward.

Leapfrogging Greece and still leading the chase to claim a crucial top-two finish in Group B, Holland will now know that they have their own fate firmly in their own hands.

Next up for Koeman’s side, they face what is a heavyweight showdown on home soil as they welcome France to Amsterdam on October 13th.

Ireland watch their qualifying dreams go up in smoke

While Ireland might have claimed what was a crucial 3-0 romp when they welcomed Gibraltar to Dublin back on June 19th, it appears that result was nothing more than a minor boost for Kenny’s downbeat squad.

Although Sunday’s hosts might have opened their European Championship qualifying adventure earlier in the year with their sights firmly set on mounting a genuine top-two charge, the Greens have instead come under a huge amount of scrutiny.

Marking their return to qualifying duties in midweek as they slumped to a routine 2-0 loss at the hands of former world champions France, Ireland would have always known that they faced another heavyweight challenge here.

Despite Idah handing the Group B strugglers a remarkable opener after just four minutes, Kenny’s side have now lost four of their five qualifying appearances and questions will be asked over the ex-Shamrock Rovers boss and his long-term future.

Sunday’s 2-1 loss leaves Ireland sitting six points adrift of the second-placed Dutch having played a game more, with a home match against Greece and a trip to Gibraltar in October up next.

Weghorst saves the day for Koeman

Unable to call upon attacking talisman and Atletico Madrid marksman Memphis Depay this month due to a recent injury issue, many Dutch fans were wondering who would spearhead Koeman’s attack in their two crucial Group B appearances.

While one-time Barcelona starlet Xavi Simons might be enjoying a stellar free-scoring start to life with German giants RB Leipzig, it will certainly be Weghorst who steals most of the headlines this month.

Although the Hoffenheim striker might have failed to find any kind of fluidity during his shock loan switch to Premier League heavyweights Manchester United last season, Weghorst has continued to shine when handed a chance on the international stage.

Bagging what turned out to be a crucial second-half winner here and now notching back-to-back Group B strikes over the past few days, the 31-year-old has proven that he has a key role to play in Holland’s bid to clinch a top-two finish this year.

Match Report

Ireland: Bazunu, Collins, Duffy, Egan, McClean, Cullen, Browne, Doherty, Knight, Ogden, Idah

Subs: Manning, Smallbone, McGrath, Ebosele, Armstrong

Netherlands: Flekken, de Ligt, van Dijk, Ake, Blind, de Jong, Wieffer, Dumfries, Simons, Malen, Gakpo

Subs: Lang, Weghorst, Reijnders, Koopmeiners Berghuls

Goals: Ireland: Idah (4’ P) – Netherlands: Gakpo (19’ P), Weghorst (56’)

Yellow Cards: Ireland: Bazunu, Knight, Ogbene – Ntherlands: Gakpo, Weghorst, Wieffer

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Irfan Peljto