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Football news - Dramatic Virgil van Dijk equaliser sends Netherlands through at France's expense

Dramatic Van Dijk equaliser sends Netherlands through at France's expense

20/11/2018 at 07:32Updated 20/11/2018 at 09:39

Nations League A1, Veltins-Arena - Germany 2 (Werner 9', Sane 19') Netherlands 2 (Promes 85', Van Dijk 90')

Virgil van Dijk struck a last-gasp equaliser as the Netherlands hit back from two down to draw 2-2 with Germany and reach the UEFA Nations League finals in the most dramatic fashion.

The Liverpool defender expertly hooked a volley into the corner at the death after Quincy Promes had given the visitors hope with a smart finish five minutes from the end.

It was hard on Germany, who had deservedly led through early first-half strikes from Timo Werner and Leroy Sane, who netted his first competitive goal for his country.

However, the sensational finale was perhaps a fitting end to Die Mannschaft's annus horribilis and will surely heap more pressure on the under-fire Joachim Loew.

The result means Holland finish top of Group A1 and pip France courtesy of a better head-to-head record.

Oranje now join England, Switzerland and hosts Portugal in the pot for the draw for next summer's finals on December 3.

TALKING POINT

What a difference a year makes.

Germany were the world champions with plenty of observers tipping them to go on and retain their title in Russia. Now, many are calling for a change of direction after a terrible year that saw them dumped out of the World Cup at the group stage and relegated from pool A1 in the Nations League. There's no doubt Die Mannschaft have quality in their ranks, but some serious questions need to be addressed moving into 2019.

In contrast, the Dutch are on an upward curve after being completely rejuvenated under Koeman. The former Everton boss has created a real spirit in his squad and his new-look, exciting side have delivered way ahead of schedule. They had been in disarray after missing out on their second straight major tournament and going through a raft of different coaches. Now they suddenly appear to have a sense of purpose and belief, and will feel pride has been restored for a country of great footballing tradition.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Leroy Sane (Germany). The forward is letting his performances on the pitch do his talking following a difficult seven months or so with his country. Despite being named the Premier League Young Player of the Year, Sane missed out on a spot in the World Cup squad and was criticised by team-mate Toni Kroos in September for his poor body language. He has responded in the right way, following up his first goal for his country in a friendly win over Russia last week, with his maiden competitive strike. There's no doubt the 22-year-old has bags of talent and has the speed and quality to inject a more direct, fluid attack that the German public have been craving.

Germany's forward Leroy Sane (C) celebrates scoring with his team-mates during the UEFA Nations League football match Germany v the Netherlands in Gelsenkirchen

Germany's forward Leroy Sane (C) celebrates scoring with his team-mates during the UEFA Nations League football match Germany v the Netherlands in GelsenkirchenGetty Images

PLAYER RATINGS

GERMANY: Neuer 7, Hummels 7, Rüdiger 7, Süle 7, Schulz 8, Kroos 8, Kimmich 7, Kehrer 7, Sané 8, Werner 8, Gnabry 8. Subs: Reus 6, Muller 6, Goretzka n/a.

NETHERLANDS: Cillessen 6, Tete 7, de Ligt 7, van Dijk 7, Blind 6, Wijnaldum 6, de Jong 7, de Roon 6, Promes 7, Depay 6, Babel 5. Subs: Dilrosun 5, Vilhena 6, De Jong 6.

KEY MOMENTS

9' - GOAL! Germany 1-0 Holland. Werner nods Gnabry's clever flick into his own path and lashes a superb 25-yard drive into the corner.

19' - GOAL! Germany 2-0 Holland. It's all going wrong for Holland. Kroos clips a lovely ball over the top for Sane, who cuts back on to his left foot and fires a deflected effort into the far corner.

62' - GERMANY CHANCE! Gnabry leads a rapid Germany counter attack. He sends Werner clear, but the forward somehow contrives to place his shot wide of the far post. He should have scored.

78' - HOLLAND CHANCE! Depay rampages at the German defence. He bursts beyond two but sees his low drive beaten away by the foot of Neuer at his near post.

85' - GOAL! Germany 2-1 Holland. Hang on! Holland pull one back. Germany get caught trying to play out from the back and Promes fires a lovely strike into the corner from the edge of the box.

90' - GOAL! Germany 2-2 Holland. Wow! Holland are level! Van Dijk hooks a wonderful volley into the corner after latching onto a flick-on from a right-wing cross.

Steven Bergwijn of the Netherlands scores his team's first goal during the UEFA Nations League A group one match between Germany and Netherlands at Veltins-Arena

Steven Bergwijn of the Netherlands scores his team's first goal during the UEFA Nations League A group one match between Germany and Netherlands at Veltins-ArenaGetty Images

KEY STATS

Timo Werner's goal after nine minutes was the fastest for Germany against Netherlands since 18 June 1978, when Rüdiger Abramczik scored after three minutes at the World Cup (2-2 draw).

The German national team is now five competitive games without a win (2 draws, 3 defeats) - the longest winning drought since June 1978 until April 1979 (6 games back then).

Thomas Muller became the 15th player to win 100 or more caps for Germany.

Virgil van Dijk scored with both of his shots on target in the Nations League, both coming v Germany.

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