The Netherlands showed grit to fight back from two goals down but Memphis Depay’s missed penalty proved costly in the 2-2 draw.

The Netherlands threw away the opportunity to complete a famous comeback as Memphis Depay missed a stoppage-time penalty in their UEFA Nations League group stage match-up with Poland.

The Oranje went into the clash having won both of their opening games and were up against a Polish side that was hammered 6-1 by Belgium last time out. Louis van Gaal’s side started out well and dominated proceedings, only to be sucker-punched by Matty Cash scoring in the 18th minute from Poland’s first shot on target.

The Netherlands, to their credit, continued to dominate and push forward. It was Poland who found the net, this time through Piotr Zielinski in the 49th minute. The home side were understandably shell-shocked but refused to throw in the towel.

What followed was a frantic three-minute spell where Davy Klaassen kicked off the proceedings by pulling one back for the home side in the 51st minute. Denzel Dumfries drew the Oranje level in the 54th minute with a well-taken goal.

This shifted the momentum back in the Netherlands’ favour, and they pushed forward for a winner. They were handed a golden opportunity in stoppage time after Cash handled the ball to concede a penalty. The usually reliable Memphis Depay failed to keep his calm and saw his strike bounce off the post.

The Netherlands hold onto the top spot in the group but have now given up on their perfect start to the campaign. Poland, to their credit, can take heart from their response after the brutal hammering against Belgium.ย The Hard Tackle looks at how the Dutch players fared on the night.

Mark Flekken: 5/10

The SC Freiburg man looked shaky in goal and should have done better to keep Poland’s opener out. Thankfully for Flekken, the Netherlands were on the front foot for most of the game and did not give their opponents an opportunity to pepper his goal. Given his indecisiveness on the night, that could have proven costly.

Jurrien Timber: 6/10

The youngster was largely solid in his return to the starting XI. There were a few nervy moments in the second half, but thankfully for him, Poland failed to capitalise. Timber was taken off in the 65th minute for Jordan Teze.

Stefan de Vrij: 6/10

The veteran was dependable and organised his backline well. However, the difference in the gulf between him and Virgil van Dijk was quite apparent. De Vrij can at times switch off, and this could prove costly against top-class opposition.

Nathan Ake: 6/10

The Manchester City man should have been alert in the lead-up to Poland’s goal and could have done better. He was otherwise dependable and went about his business with minimal fuss. He remained calm when under pressure and showed off his experience well.

Denzel Dumfries: 7/10

The Inter Milan defender excelled on the right and was a lively presence in both attack and defence. He took his goal well to draw the Netherlands level and was a constant menace bombing forward.

Steven Berghuis: 5/10

Berghuis played a key role in the build-up to Poland’s second and looked out of sorts throughout. The game largely passed Berghuis by, and he struggled to impact proceedings at either end of the pitch. It came as no surprise that he was taken off in the 65th minute for Teun Koopmeiners.

Frenkie de Jong: 5/10

The Barcelona man was shackled by Poland in the first half and was unable to dictate the pace of the game. While he did find more space after the break, it was nowhere close to being able to pull the strings. The Polish deserve credit for silencing the Oranje orchestrator in chief and that did harm the Dutch side’s ability to dictate the tempo.

Davy Klaassen: 6/10

Another player who enjoyed a hot and cold performance on the night. Klaassen scored his side’s first goal of the night, kick-starting their comeback but failed to do much otherwise. He did make some good runs and got into good positions. Once there, a lack of application saw him squander opportunities. He was taken off for Cody Gakpo in the second half as the Dutch sought a winner.

Daley Blind: 5/10

The veteran was caught out for Poland’s opener and enjoyed a difficult night against Cash. His lack of pace was often a hindrance as Cash often had him on the ropes. All in all, a poor outing for one of the Dutch side’s most experienced stars.

Steven Bergwijn: 6/10

The Tottenham Hotspur star did cause some problems for the Polish defence but struggled to find space to run into. This largely negated his pace and adversely impacted his ability to make a difference. He was taken off for Wout Weghorst in the 77th minute.

Memphis Depay: 5/10

It was a poor outing for the skipper who was invisible in the first half. While Depay did improve after the break and also provided an assist, it was nowhere close to his expected levels. Depay had the chance to be a hero but saw his penalty and a diving header fail to find the back of the net. The 28-year-old has every reason to be frustrated with his performance.

SUBSTITUTES

Jordan Teze: 5/10

He replaced Timber in the 65th minute but never really stood out or offered anything new.

Teun Koopmeiners: 5/10

He was brought on to replace the ineffective Berghuis but failed to provide the spark in midfield.

Cody Gakpo: 6/10

He was Netherlands’ best player off the bench and made a number of direct runs to impact proceedings. However, while he showed promise, the lack of application in the final pass proved decisive.

Wout Weghorst: NA

Did little on the pitch to warrant a rating.

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