Netherlands vs Northern Ireland: As it Happened in the Euro 2020 Group C Qualifier (3-1)
Photo: Getty Images


Good night
That's all from me, Chris Lincoln.

Thank you for joining us and ensure you mark 16th November on your calendar...

Northern Ireland vs Netherlands.

Could there be just as much drama?!

Good night.

As for Northern Ireland, you feel they have to beat either Netherlands or Germany to qualify.
Group C still alive..
1 Netherlands (Played 5, Goal Difference 11, Points 12)

2 Germany (Played 5, Goal Difference 11, Points 12)

3 Northern Ireland (Played 6, Goal Difference 1, Points 12)


Netherlands have an identical record to Germany in every department  but their 4-2 victory trumps Germany's reverse 3-2 win to go top.

Elsewhere, Belgium hit nine and Scotland bow out...

Croatia 3-0 Hungary

Slovakia 1-1 Wales


Austria 3-1 Israel

Latvia 0-3 Poland

Macedonia 2-1 Slovenia


Kazakhstan 1-2 Cyprus

Belgium 9-0 San Marino

Russia 4-0 Scotland

The stats don't tell the whole story
23 shots to 2.

77% possession to 23%.

Northern Ireland were better than the stats suggest, limiting Netherlands' creativity.

But the telling statistic was this one...

46% pass success rate...the visitors just could not hold on to the ball.

The away fans have their heads in their hands.

With 15 minutes to play, they looked to be on course for the dream result, Euro 2020 beckoning.

Five minutes later, they were hanging on for what they had come invaluable point in the backyard of one of the best teams in the world.

They were almost there but a devastating final few minutes blew away Northern Ireland, and possibly their qualification hopes.

Huge comeback and result.
3-1 Northern Ireland.

This time de Jong is the architect, waltzing through tired legs in the middle of the pitch before threading the ball to Depay who places it into the bottom corner.

The striker is booked as he rips his shirt off.

A real fortunate goal for the Dutch but it could prove pivotal in Euro 2020 qualification.

Bergwijn whips a cross that flicks off Flanagan. The ball comes to de Jong at the far post who appears to have fluffed his lines when the ball pings off his foot and into the air.

Yet it drops straight back down to the striker who prods past the stranded Peacock-Farrell.

Four minutes of injury time...
Depay flashes over from range.

Can Northern Ireland hold on?

De Jong heads wide under pressure before van Dijk nods past the post from the resulting corner.
Final Northern Ireland change
Tom Flanagan provides fresh legs in place of Corry Evans.

Three minutes of normal time to play.

Malen has to score!

This time it is Depay who picks out Malen but the striker, who has ten league goals in nine games this season, misses a free header from six yards out.

Northern Ireland sub
George Saville has been fantastic tonight. He is replaced by Blackpool's Jordan Thompson.

What a time to make your competitive international debut...

GOAL! Netherlands equalise!
Heartbreak for Northern Ireland with 10 minutes to play.

Malen threads the ball to Depay who prods home for another international goal.

A draw will still be an incredible result for the visitors.

The away fans are bouncing!
Netherlands sub - going for it
Striker Luuk de Jong replaces Dumfries.

Moments later, Dallas whips a dangerous ball right across the Dutch box.

Northern Ireland's second shot of the game!
Would you believe it?!

De Ligt and Blind both fail to clear the lines before Dallas chases the loose ball down.

The midfielder clips the ball over Cillessen's head and Magennis uses his strength to climb above de Ligt and head home!

1-0 Northern Ireland!

Great block!
Northern Ireland hanging on!

The ball pinballs across the box and falls to Wijnaldum but Jonny Evans positions himself perfectly to head the ball away after it deflects past Peacock-Farrell off Michael Smith's outstretched boot.

Chance for Netherlands
A piece of magic from Depay who clips a ball to substitute Malen.

The 20-year old looks to clip it across to Wijnaldum for an open goal but opts to use his right foot rather than his left and it is easy for Peacock-Farrell to gather.

Michael Smith booked after leaving one on van Dijk.
Just 16 touches for Lafferty who didn't complete a single pass... He has been on his own for much of the game.
Northern Ireland sub
Lafferty has worked hard and is replaced by Josh Magennis.
Double change for Netherlands
Donny van de Beek and Donyell Malen replace de Roon and Babel.
Although they have been against two of the best central defenders in the world, the free-kicks from Northern Ireland have been poor.

I'm not sure they have won an aerial ball in the Dutch penalty area yet.

Jonny Evans now goes into the book after a rash challenge from behind.
Scotland are now losing against Russia and Slovakia have equalised at home to Wales.
The away vocals continue whilst the blue wall is rebuilt.
The Dutch need to build some momentum after a treacle of promising moments but keep giving away petty free-kicks by the halfway line.
Important interception!
Northern Ireland are beginning to look a touch shaky.

Babel whips in a wicked ball but George Saville sticks out a right boot to take the pace off the cross with Dumfries lurking at the back post.

He could have easily diverted that one into his own goal.

52 minutes on the clock and Peacock-Farrell has been booked for time wasting.
Wijnaldum fires wildly over but finally a spark from Steven Berghuis who burst down the right flank.
Still no tempo from the Dutch. 
We are back underway
In that Netherlands side are three of the top 25 most expensive players EVER, including two of the three most pricey defenders on the planet.
Just to remind you...
Burnley - Hearts, Watford, Leicester, Millwall - Blackburn, Middlesbrough, Rangers - Leeds, Middlesbrough, Sarpsborg


Valencia - PSV, Liverpool, Juventus, Ajax - Liverpool, Atalanta, Barcelona - Galatasaray, Lyon, Feyenoord

22% possession and 43% pass success rate for the visitors.

It won't matter at all if they keep Netherlands at bay for the next 45 minutes.

Elsewhere, Wales winning, Scotland drawing and Belgium battering San Marino 6-0...
But Michael O'Neill's side were in a familiar position when they played Germany.

The opponents came out firing straight after the break, scoring within three minutes and bombarding the Northern Ireland goal for the next 20.

Brilliant from the visitors!

Great shape and even better discipline...Netherlands have not been able to create anything at all.

Netherlands shot on target!
Until now!

But Wijnaldum's looping header is weak after a better cross from Blind.

Whisper it quietly but Peacock-Farrell still hasn't made a save...

One minute until half-time.

Full-backs Blind and Denzel Dumfries are seeing so much of the ball for the hosts but their final product has been woeful.
Just four blue shirts in the penalty area for Northern Ireland corners.
As well as Northern Ireland have played defensively, the worry will be that they are not keeping hold of the ball.

Just 34 completed passes from 69...

Netherlands have bypassed 250.

Incidentally, Saville has touched the ball just six times - half of those were tackles.
Breaking up play
Corry Evans and George Saville have made seven tackles between them during the first 30 minutes.
Great block!
Finally a bit of goalmouth action...

The pitch opens up for the first time and Babel peels away at the back post before laying the ball to Wijnaldum.

The Liverpool midfielder's effort is bravely blocked by Dallas before Blind lashes wildly off target.

The pattern of play so far...

Slow passing from Netherlands before losing the ball in the final third...but then launched aimlessly towards Kyle Lafferty who has a thankless task working the line on his own.

However, a quarter of the game has been played and Netherlands have not threatened at all.

Northern Ireland have made this scrappy.

They've had a couple of chances to pump the ball into the box from set-pieces but haven't tested Jasper Cillessen.

Back to that passing accuracy...van Dijk's is 68%...ruffled?
A lot of flicks and tricks from the Dutch... the likes of van Dijk, Wijnaldum and Frenkie de Jong have all showboated but a quiet opening for Peacok-Farrell so far.
Netherlands' passing accuracy is down at 71% for the first ten minutes.

The blue shirts are in their faces.

Loud away support.

There's also a lone voice shouting "what a waste of money" when van Dijk gets on the ball...

41 years ago...
4 minutes in and Northern Ireland have started OK.

When these sides last met at this stadium, 41 years ago, Northern Ireland were leading 1-0 by this stage in the game...

The final result was a 2-2 draw.

Ferguson has lined up at left-back with Stuart Dallas on the right wing against Daley Blind.
The first strike? From van Dijk...a horrible shanked volley that nearly hit the corner flag.
And we are underway!
Ricksen recently passed away at the age of 43 after losing his fight against motor neurone disease.

The former Rangers player had 12 Netherlands caps to his name.

"There's only one Fernando Ricksen" reverberates around the stands.

A minute's applause for Fernando Ricksen.
De Kuip is rocking

Netherlands smashed six past Northern Ireland seven years ago...

You get the feeling the home side are expecting more of the same tonight.

Back to tonight's action...

The orange flags are flying, atmosphere building and anthems bellowed out.

Can Northern Ireland upset the odds?

Non-League Day
Just time for a mention of Non-League Day on Saturday. A number of clubs have got special offers on to entice you down to a local ground with no Premier League or Championship football taking place this weekend...

But Bailey Peacock-Farrell did make a string of outstanding saves against Germany last month.
Dangerous in attack
Rewind to last month and Netherlands smashed eight goals in two matches...both away from home...with one of those games against Germany.

Depay, Babel and Wijnaldum scored six goals between them and the statistics from those two games are quite staggering (the second match was against Estonia):

  • 36 shots - a shot every 5 minutes
  • 1266 passes - 7 passess per minute
  • 89% passing
Key battle: Wijnaldum vs Davis
If Northern Ireland have got any chance of taking a point from this game, then they must be competitive in the middle of the park.

Steven Davis will match the workrate of Gio Wijnaldum but has he got the craft to hell the visitors maintain possession for a period of time? 

If Northern Ireland can’t be effective in transitions, this will be a long evening for them.

I don’t think he’s a huge fan of the way Northern Ireland play...
Koeman expecting a scrap?
The Netherlands boss told the media:

“They are FIGHTING  machines.

Perhaps they haven't got the structure or quality technically but it's very direct, direct CONFRONTATIONS.

If they can get at you they will and they will GET YOU BY THE THROAT. You've got to be prepared for that."

Elsewhere in the group, Belarus and Estonia have played out a bore draw. Not that it really mattered anyway.
Return to the top
In contrast, Ryan Babel and Memphis Debay have netted 24 times between them during this calendar year.

Whilst Babel has been more of a threat at international level, just ask Fulham fans, Depay is firing on all cylinders for Lyon with seven goals in 12 games this season for club and country.

In fact, his last goal anywhere came eight months ago.
Lafferty has played 14 internationals between 2017-19 and hasn’t scored a goal...
The visitors will play in blue tonight and there’s certainly been an interesting reaction on social media to Kyle Lafferty starting ahead of Josh Magennis and Gavin Whyte.
Ferguson will play further forward, in a more natural position, than Michael O’Neill suggested.
Northern Ireland: Peacock-Farrell; Smith, Cathcart, Evans, Dallas;  McNair, Davis, Saville; Evans, Lafferty, Ferguson
Welcome back, here are the teams...
Netherlands: Cillessen; Dumfries, de Ligt, van Dijk, Blind; Wijnaldum, de Roon, de Jong; Bergwijn, Depay, Babel
Join us for live updates, team news and analysis before kick-off at 19:45pm.
Other fixtures tonight

Belarus vs Estonia


Croatia vs Hungary

Slovakia vs Wales


Austria vs Israel

Latvia vs Poland

North Macedonia vs Slovenia


Kazakhstan vs Cyprus

Belgium vs San Marino

Russia vs Scotland

Where to watch
You can watch this game on Sky Sports but if you are out and about or don't have access to the channel then the best way to keep updated is right here, on VAVEL UK's live stream score service!
But Van Dijk's Liverpool have only kept three clean sheets in twelve games this season - against Burnley, Sheffield United and MK Dons, the latter of which the Dutch captain didn't play.
Play for 0-0?
Playing against the world's best defender, Virgil Van Dijk, is not easy at the best times and Northern Ireland lack firepower.

Only midfielder Steven Davis and striker Kyle Lafferty have scored more than ten goals for their country - Lafferty's last coming three years ago.

Josh Magennis is the only other striker to have scored at least four Northern Ireland goals - with six in 46 internationals.

Ferguson at left-back?
With Norwich's Jamal Lewis being forced out of the squad with a knee injury, Shane Ferguson could be asked to deputise at left-back, despite normally playing midfield.

Conor Washington and Jordan Jones are also unavailable for the visitors.

Pressure on the hosts?
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill is hoping that keeping things tight defensively in the early stages will cause problems for Netherlands.

"We have 12 points and this is maybe a Dutch side with a little bit of expectation on it because they've not qualified for the last two tournaments.

We have to create doubt in their players and put doubt in the supporters' minds as well.

Hopefully, if we can do that, then it will give us an opportunity to capitalise and hopefully take something from the game."

Fortress De Kuip
And if the task wasn't tough enough for Northern Ireland, Netherlands have won their last 16 games in Feyenoord...
...the fixture list doesn't
The problem for Northern Ireland is that they still have to play Netherlands at Windsor Park and Germany in Hamburg after tonight's tough encounter at De Kuip.

In contrast, Netherlands and Germany both still have outstanding fixtures against Belarus, whilst Germany play Estonia on Sunday.

Group C looks good for Northern Ireland...
Second in the table, level on points with Germany, on the face of it, Northern Ireland look to be in a strong position in Group C.

They won their opening four games, against Belarus and Estonia, and put up a strong fight during the last international break against Germany.

Northern Ireland are even still three points above tonight's opponents, albeit the Dutch have a game in hand.

Welcome along to our live stream score commentary of a huge Euro 2020 Qualifier between Netherlands and Northern Ireland from De Kuip.

Join us for live match updates, analysis and team news.