Dutch defeat England to deflate increased expectation ahead of Euros
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | March 29, 2016
England 1-2 Netherlands
- Janssen and Wijnaldum test Forster from range for visitors
- England grow into game, while Dutch lose Quincy Promes
- Vardy grabs opener before half-time to end fine team move
- Rose handles and Janssen levels from spot after interval
- Narsingh nets Netherlands winner, but was there foul in build-up?
Euro preparations dented by Dutch
Patriotic punters were brought back down to earth with a bump, as England lost their latest Euro 2016 warm-up friendly to the Netherlands – a nation that flopped and finished fourth in their qualifying group.
Full Dutch debutant Vincent Janssen did the damage, scoring from the spot when Danny Rose was adjudged to have handled and cancelled out Jamie Vardy’s opener, before teeing up substitute Luciano Narsingh for a Wembley winner.
Roy Hodgson had masterminded a memorable win in Germany last time out, coming from 2-0 down, but a raft of changes left the Three Lions rhythm disrupted and produced a flat display that ended in just a second defeat since the 2014 World Cup.
Early chances to go Dutch
With Danny Blind fielding a very attacking Orange outfit, there were opportunities for England to get at their visitors. Vardy, a menace all night, set the tone early on with a direct run that forced former Chelsea defender Jeffrey Bruma into a last-ditch clearance.
Although Janssen worked Fraser Forster in routine fashion, more was needed from the Southampton stopper and Three Lions goalie to keep out Newcastle United midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum.
Slick work from the Magpies man, given relative freedom by Blind, saw him strike with his instep from distance and force Forster to palm behind. Netherlands winger Quincy Promes never recovered from a strong Rose challenge and was forced off in favour of Narsingh.
England grow into first-half
Another Vardy burst forward saw him race into the Dutch box, but blast over, and Daniel Sturridge’s shot had to be blocked by Bruma following fine work from Rose in the left channel.
Ross Barkley flashed a shot wide when Sturridge caught the opposition napping with a quickly-taken free-kick, but England held a half-time lead thanks to vibrant Vardy. He finished a lovely team move, started by John Stones, with Adam Lallana and Kyle Walker involved.
Stones’ slip almost gifted Janssen an equaliser shortly after the interval, as he popped up in-behind the highly-rated Three Lions centre back, but Forster again proved equal to the AZ Alkmaar man’s effort.
Penalty pain a cruel kiss from a Rose
While Rose was lucky not to concede a first-half penalty, with replays showing he got Joel Veltman and not the ball when challenging the Dutch defender, he did give one away shortly after the interval.
Handling a right-wing cross, albeit one blasted against him at close range, gave the Spanish referee an excuse to point to the spot, and Janssen dispatched a first international goal from 12 yards on his maiden start for his country.
Being pegged back by the Dutch provoked Roy Hodgson into unleashing Theo Walcott, Harry Kane and later Dele Alli on them. Vardy remained the real threat, however, making Jeroen Zoet claw over one-handed with another wicked strike.
Defeat has a Narsingh in the tail
Forster also had work to do with Riechedly Bazoer’s deflected effort, but 13 minutes from time the Netherlands completed an unlikely comeback in controversial fashion.
Janssen, a willing runner in the channels and happy to put himself about, appeared to bundle England sub Phil Jagielka off the ball. No foul was given, play continued and the Dutch striker set up Narsingh to net the winner from a tight angle.
Kane fired just wide, as late attempts to equalise were in vain. Danny Drinkwater’s display in midfield proved a slim crumb of comfort for Hodgson here, with Leicester City cohort Vardy making it two goals in as many games and striking here on his first international start to press his claims.
Coral cut the Three Lions into 9/1 to win Euro 2016 following a raft of bets in the wake of the Germany game, but their status as tournament outright fourth favourites looks less assured now.