Wout Weghorst propelled the Netherlands into the Euro 2024 finals, concluding the Republic of Ireland’s disappointing campaign. In a resounding 1-0 victory in Amsterdam, Weghorst, Hoffenheim’s loaned Burnley striker, mirrored his earlier performance in Dublin, securing a win that belied its true dominance.
The Dutch clinched second place in Group B, trailing behind France, who convincingly defeated Gibraltar 14-0.
Despite high hopes to challenge one of Europe’s traditional powerhouses, Stephen Kenny’s men, having won only six of 29 competitive games under his leadership, struggled against the superior Dutch side at the Johan Cruyff Arena. Their slim chances for a Nations League play-off were definitively dashed by Slovakia’s 4-2 win over Iceland.
Kenny faces an uncertain future as his contract expires after the upcoming friendly against New Zealand. The Football Association of Ireland’s board is set to decide on November 28, but prospects for an extension seem dim.
In the match, Callum Robinson, making his first competitive start since June last year, showcased promise early on. However, the Irish team faced a formidable Dutch side, with Weghorst’s 12th-minute goal putting them in the lead. Despite possession, Ireland struggled to penetrate the solid Dutch defense, while Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo threatened with his skills.
The home side, led by Virgil van Dijk, remained resilient, repelling Ireland’s attempts. Although the Dutch missed opportunities at the other end, Ireland managed to reach halftime with minimal damage. Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu’s crucial saves kept them afloat.
Despite occasional forays forward, Ireland found themselves fortunate not to concede more goals. The Dutch, unable to capitalize on their dominance, faced pressure as the clock wound down. In the end, the Netherlands secured the win, and Ireland’s Euro 2024 journey came to an end with a whimper.