The Netherlands took a major step toward UEFA Euro 2020 qualification on Friday with a 4-2 win over rivals Germany. Donyell Malen, making his international debut, scored the go-ahead goal.
Serge Gnabry opened the scoring before the break, but the match broke wide open in the second half. Frenkie de Jong and a Jonathan Tah own-goal gave the Dutch the lead, before Toni Kroos equalised after a controversial penalty decision.
Malen came on for his debut and restored the advantage after 79 minutes, and Georginio Wijnaldum secured the three points in injury time.
On Monday, Germany travel to Northern Ireland, who have a perfect record after four matches and remain among the top contenders for a top-two finish. The Netherlands visit Estonia the same day.
The Netherlands started the match well and put Manuel Neuer to work for the first time after eight minutes. Memphis Depay tested his reflexes, but the Bayern Munich star was ready for his effort.
Oranje were in charge early, but a defensive mistake cost them dearly. Quincy Promes lost his man, and Joshua Kimmich beautifully picked out Lukas Klostermann. Jasper Cillessen denied his initial effort, but he was powerless to stop the rebound from Gnabry.
He loves playing against the rival Dutch team:
The setback took the wind out of the visitors' sails, leading to a few half chances for Germany. The best look fell to Matthijs de Ligt, however, who couldn't keep his header on target.
Gnabry tried to chip Cillessen, who easily gathered, before an altercation broke out between Memphis and Kimmich. The former took exception to the latter shoving De Ligt, and the teams had to be separated:
The final action of the first half was a monster save from Cillessen, who showed tremendous reflexes to deny Marco Reus what seemed a surefire second goal.
That proved decisive, as the Germans came out with intensity to start the second half, but both De Ligt and Virgil van Dijk made a pair of tremendous clearances to keep the gap at a single goal.
And when Oranje ventured forward, De Jong tied things up just before the hour mark, courtesy of a great cross from Ryan Babel.
Per sports writer Ronan Murphy, the German defence gave them a hand as well:
Tah had himself a half to forget, and less than 10 minutes after his blunder, he deposited the ball into his own net.
The defender turned home a cross from Memphis, giving the Dutch a shock lead.
The Dutch lead would only last for seven minutes, however. A cross took a deflection before landing on De Ligt's hand, and although there was little he could do about it, the official pointed to the spot. Kroos converted the penalty.
The decision gave sports writer Janusz Michallik fits:
Malen missed a great chance to restore the advantage, but the young talent got his debut goal minutes later after Wijnaldum unselfishly squared the ball for him.
Manager Joachim Lowe introduced Julian Brandt in a desperate attempt to overturn the result, but in their push to find an equaliser, the Netherlands scored again. Wijnaldum, one of the best performers throughout the contest, finished off a brilliant counter to put the final score on the board.