Netherlands 2-2 Scotland: A late equaliser denies Scotland victory
ALMANCIL, PORTUGAL - JUNE 02: Kevin Nisbet of Scotland celebrates a goal with his teammates during the international friendly match played between Netherlands and Scotland at Algarve Stadium on June 2, 2021 in Almancil, Portugal. (Photo by Joaquin Corchero / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images)

Scotland provided the shock of the night by earning a  2-2 draw to Frank de Boer's Netherlands side, a game in which they would have won had it not been for a superb goal late on for the Dutch.  

  • Story of the game

Covid-19 precautions meant that Scotland were without seven of their players ahead of their game against the Netherlands. With expectations low, Steve Clarke and his men were already being seemingly written off. 

It was Scotland though that started the more bright of the two, with Kieran Tierney firing just wide from distance, with the Arsenal man not closed down quick enough and allowed the time and space to shoot.

Not long after, the Dutch were careless in possession and good pressure from Scotland resulted in Jack Hendry with the ball at his feet outside the box. With the Netherlands again slow to close down the threat, Hendry fired the ball past a helpless Tim Krul in goal to send the Scots one nil to the good.

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As if the goal was not enough to shake the Dutch awake, Scotland came close again with a shot from Lyndon Dykes this time finding the hands of Krul. Again though, Netherlands were slow to react and Clarke and his men were sensing an upset. 

The Netherlands eventually got back on level terms though with a lovely finish from Memphis Depay, after Georginio Wijnaldum lost him marker Hendry and managed to get a well executed header down for the Lyon forward to slot home to equalise. Worryingly, Depay had a lot of time and space to apply the finish.

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In a strange but perhaps pre-planned twist, Netherlands manager Ronald De Boer decided to bring off Wijnaldum and Frankie De Jong after only half an hour of play. This essentially nullified the Dutch midfield and Scotland were able to keep their attacks at bay for the rest of the half.Both sides were very even for the first period of the second half. It was Scotland though who were able to strike first again, with a superb counter attack starting from a clearance from Andy Robertson.

Stuart Armstrong then carried the ball forward and fed the ball left to Ryan Christie. The Celtic man was then overlapped by the very player who initially cleared the ball in Robertson, who was put through down the left channel. The Liverpool full back then fired in a pin-point low cross, which found the right foot of Kevin Nisbet who put Scotland back in front.

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It was lovely football from Scotland, which stemmed from the determination and work-rate from Robertson. Nisbet could hardly believe his luck, having only just come on as a substitute. The Scots nearly made it 3-1, with David Turnbull playing a silky one-two to find himself on the edge of the Dutch box, only to strike the ball over.

Craig Gordon in goal for Scotland was having a relatively quiet evening, until substitute Patrick van Aanholt managed to break into the Scotland box. The Crystal Palace man's shot took a nasty deflection into the direction of Gordon's near post, only for the 38-year-old to tip the ball acrobatically past the post. 

With a morale boosting win within their grasps, the Netherlands won quite a soft free-kick on the edge of the box in the last minute of normal time. It was the man wearing the armband for the Dutch Depay who stepped up to take it, who then curled an unstoppable shot right into the corner of Gordon's net.

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  • Glad to be disappointed in only getting a draw

The full-time whistle came and the Dutch had rescued a draw in the dying moments to spare their blushes. Scotland will be rightly infuriated with the free-kick being given that led to the goal, but this should not gloss over a fine performance in Almancil.

With such a depleted side, any one of the Tartan Army would have taken a 2-2 draw at the start of the match. Yet it was Scotland's resilience and never-say-die attitude that caught the Oranje completely off-guard.

It is a shame that such a performance is limited to that of a friendly warm-up game, but fans can be encouraged by their team's outlook now moving forwards. With Luxembourg up next, it will be interesting to see how Clarke and his men handle themselves with this time being the favorites to win.