Euro 2024: Gakpo goal drive proves key for Dutch run to semifinals

Netherlands will be relying on his speed down the wing and his attacking drive when they take on England for a spot in the July 14 final

By Reuters

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Netherlands' Cody Gakpo (right) attempts a shot at goal during the match against Turkey. — AFP
Netherlands' Cody Gakpo (right) attempts a shot at goal during the match against Turkey. — AFP

Published: Sun 7 Jul 2024, 11:29 AM

Last updated: Sun 7 Jul 2024, 11:30 AM

Netherlands desperately needed the attacking quality of Cody Gakpo to edge past Turkey 2-1 in their Euro 2024 quarterfinal on Saturday, with the forward forcing an own goal by the Turks to get them out of trouble and into the last four.

For much of the game nothing was going their way with Turkey taking the lead and controlling proceedings before an equaliser from Stefan De Vrij in the 70th minute.


But it was Gakpo's drive towards the goal in the 76th minute, sprinting in at the far post to connect with a low cross and with Turkey's Mert Muldur who sent the ball into his own net, that put the Dutch into the last four where they will face England.

The 25-year-old forward has been the Netherlands' lifeline in this tournament with three goals in five games.


Even if Saturday's second goal was not credited to Gakpo and given as an own goal, Ronald Koeman's team would not be anywhere near a potential shot at their first European title since 1988 without his finishing.

Gakpo also scored the first goal in their 3-0 last-16 win over Romania before Donyell Malen added two more, and he netted twice more in the group stage, both times scoring his side's first goal. He has also made one assist.

But on Saturday it was his most important contribution yet when he forced the Turkish own goal as Netherlands came from a goal down to earn victory.

"His position is on the left side because he is really dangerous when he gets one-on-one with the full-back," Koeman said days ago. Turkey's Muldur can, no doubt, attest to that.

"He is strong. He's playing at a great level this tournament. He's maybe been our most important player up to now and I hope the rest of my team can come up to his level," Koeman said.

Gakpo has blossomed on that left wing at the tournament, a position which he had played at PSV Eindhoven before his move to Liverpool in late 2022, while his Premier League form towards the end of the season seems to have carried over to the Euros.

"I think the last, I don't know how many, games of the season at the club I played also good games. I just took that with me and kept working very hard," Gakpo said days ago.

Netherlands will be relying on his speed down the wing and his attacking drive when they take on England for a spot in the July 14 final.

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