Gakpo’s growing goal threat can propel the Netherlands to glory

Former Dutch player of the year is level in the Golden Boot race and offers his national side a true cutting edge

Andre Ratiu was having a decent tournament until he got to Munich and was made to look a dud by Cody Gakpo. The full-back, with his blue hair and ability on the ball, was sent one way then the other and finally left in limbo as the Netherlands’ No 11 crafted the space to crash a pinpoint shot inside the near post and open the scoring in their last-16 tie with Romania.

The goal set aside some on-field nerves and the Dutch duly went on to put the Romanians to the sword. Well, eventually anyway. They crafted opening after opening and had 23 shots in total, but only six were on target, and it took until the final 10 minutes for the Oranje to seal the deal with a brace from Donyell Malen.

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