Jesse Lingard’s strike was the difference on Friday as Netherlands succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of England at the Amsterdam Arena.
Netherlands and England both started the match with a 3-4-3 formation, with Gareth Southgate opting to start Jordan Henderson in the quarter-back role while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain found his spot in central midfield after some impressive performances for Liverpool.
The early proceedings were tough for England, with Danny Rose and Joe Gomez suffering knocks in the first 10 minutes of the match. Oxlade-Chamberlain lashed an effort towards goal, but Jeroen Zoet was up to the task. Gomez was unable to carry on and was brought off for Harry Maguire soon after.
Henderson produced an example of why Southgate has chosen him to play in the quarter-back role in midfield as he sprayed a beautiful long ball out wide to Rose, whose cross was way off the mark.
Soon after, Raheem Sterling cut inside before putting the ball across to Jesse Lingard, whose shot from just outside the box was disappointing, but seemed to have taken a deflection. Nevertheless, a goal kick was awarded.
In the 26th minute, Quincy Promes seemed to have gotten on the end of a beautiful early cross, only for the speedster to lose control inside the box as Jordan Pickford latched onto the ball in what was arguably, the best chance of the match for either side thus far.
Just past the half-hour mark, Henderson got his head on the end of a swirling Kieran Trippier free-kick but the ball fizzled out just wide. Oxlade-Chamberlain seemed to be in his elements and after a neat sequence of football, the Liverpool man found Trippier free out wide, who disappointed with a cross straight into the hands of Zoet.
Netherlands had another brilliant opportunity to open the scoring as Bas Dost got on the end of a fizzling Memphis Dephay cross, only for the striker to sky the ball above the goal. Pickford had a scare around the 40th minute after being closed down by the Netherlands striker Dost.
In stoppage-time, Rose put in a dangerous cross, but Lingard failed to get on the end of it before Memphis Depay managed to test Pickford at the other end. The two teams went into the break level-pegging.
Marcus Rashford seemed to have been brought down in the box by Matthijs de Ligt, but the referee refused to award England a penalty, much to the dismay of the Three Lions. Rashford then, went close with a long-ranged effort, but the shot failed to hit the target.
Around the hour mark though, the deadlock was finally broken as Lingard latched onto a rebound at the edge of the box before putting the ball past Zoet and into the back of the net. Dost had an opportunity a few minutes later, but his deft touch in the box was no problem for Pickford.
Depay’s freekick was hit straight at Pickford and the goalkeeper held the ball well. England could have doubled their lead towards the end of the game as Trippier let a swirling effort rip but the shot was well saved by Zoet. Has Hateboer found himself with some space in England’s box, but his shot was well blocked before it made his way towards Pickford.
Depay found De Ligt free inside England’s box, only for the Barcelona target to be flagged offside. Netherlands tried a few crosses into the box in an attempt to find a Dutch head but the English defence prevailed to bag a narrow 1-0 win.