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3 things we learned from Netherlands v. Ukraine

On the eve of EURO 2020, Joe Prince-Wright, Andy Edwards and Nick Mendola preview the whole field -- from why England could make a deep run to why France should be heavy favorites.

The Game of the Tournament (so far) finished a 3-2 victory to the Netherlands over Ukraine as the two sides kicked off their EURO 2020 campaigns at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Sunday.

[ MORE: EURO 2020 hub ]

Georginio Wijnaldum and Wout Weghorst staked the Netherlands to a lead which stood late into the second half, but Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk pulled Ukraine level with just 10 minutes left to play — plenty of time for Denzel Dumfries to grab the winner in the 85th minute.

Three things we learned: Netherlands - Ukraine

1. Chaos rains down in Amsterdam: Thus far, the games played at EURO 2020 had all been relatively tame in terms of dramatic swings of momentum or the shocking nature of an unexpected result. Netherlands - Ukraine over-delivered on the former as it also threatened the latter for a brief period late in the game. And, with the first chaotic game in the books, EURO 2020 has officially begun.

2. Ukraine’s response fantastic: 2-0 down heading into the 75th minute, Ukraine looked like going quietly into the Amsterdam night and weakly accepting a comprehensive defeat to open EURO 2020, but they had other ideas. For the 10 or so minutes immediately after Ukraine’s first goal, they had seized control looked like they might go on to win the game.

3. Netherland’s response to Ukraine’s even better: Alas, the Netherlands deserve even more praise for how they responded to conceding twice in four minutes when they were already so close to full-time. With so many questions about this Netherland side under Frank de Boer, that’s the kind of moment that galvanizes a team — and its supporters back home — in a meaningful way which inevitably comes back to lift them again at a later date.

Man of the match: Georginio Wijnaldum - Scored the opening goal, but more importantly linked the midfield to the forward line and organized the transition from attack to defense.

The Netherlands came flying out of the starting gate as they forced Ukraine goalkeeper Georgi Bushchan into a pair of stellar saves inside the first five minutes.

Though they dominated possession and constantly probed the final third of Ukraine, the Netherlands lacked the incisiveness and precision required to fashion a chance of great quality.

Fittingly, the opening goal came amid a chaotic scene inside the Ukrainian penalty area. Bushchan came out to punch away a low cross, but didn’t quite get it out of his own box before Wijnaldum hammered the loose ball home from 16 yards out.

1-0 became 2-0 rather quickly, and again it was chaos to which the Dutch reacted best again. Weghorst pounced on a blocked cross, applying the right-footed, side-volley finish to force the ball past Bushchan.

Yarmolenko provided the first Goal of the Tournament nominee in the 75th minute, sparking the Ukrainian comeback to life in the process.

The equalizer came just four minutes later, as Ruslan Malinovskiy floated a free kick onto Yaremchuk’s forehead.

Dumfries rose highest to head home the winner six minutes later. Nathan Ake floated the ball into the box, a bit behind Dumfries, but the PSV defender adjusted quickest to the flight of the ball.

Up next for the Netherlands is a clash with Austria on Thursday (3 pm ET), while Ukraine will face North Macedonia on the same day (9 am ET).

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