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DUTCH HUNGARY FOR EVEN MORE; Budapest next for De Boer's rampaging team of all talents.

Byline: N MACEDONIA 0 HOLLAND 3 Depay 24, Wijnaldum 51, 58 BY MIKE WALTERS

DON'T shout it from the rooftops, but the Dutch class of 2021 could turn out to be real clever clogs.

As two-goal skipper Georginio Wijnaldum suppressed North Macedonia's spirited resistance, Frank de Boer's men completed a 100 per cent record in Group C and headed for knockout business in Budapest with a spring in their step.

They still don't look watertight at the back and for 45 minutes they rode their luck in the Johan Cruyff Arena. But when they break at speed, De Boer's darling clementines are easy on the eye and eight goals in three games can't be bad. But the jury is still out on the Oranje, who could be playing England next.

The early evidence, against the group wooden spoonists, in Amsterdam was unconvincing. Ivan Trichkovski slotted Goran Pandev's pass beyond Maarten Stekelenburg, but the Netherlands were reprieved by a fractional offside call.

And when Pandev, given a guard of honour after winning his 122nd and final cap at the age of 38, called the tune like a jukebox again, Aleksandar Trajkovski's low shot cannoned off the inside of a post to safety.

If North Macedonia had the sinking feeling their luck was out, their suspicions were not misplaced. Just seconds after Pandev had been wiped out by Daley Blind's studs-up challenge just outside the Dutch box, the home side broke upfield and Memphis Depay swept home Arsenal academy graduate Donyell Malen's cut-back.

Inexplicably, the VAR check saw no undue force in Blind's challenge and Holland's lead, against the run of play, was allowed to stand. Take nothing away from the lightning speed of the counter-attack, nor Barcelona-bound striker Depay's 28th goal in 67 appearances, but the hometown decisions stacking up in the Netherlands' favour rivalled Olympic boxing scorecards for favouritism.

But when Depay broke clear again and picked out Wijnaldum to make it 2-0 from four yards out six minutes after the break, the Dutch had breathing space.

When Holland are on top, Depay draws defenders to the ball like bees to honey, Wijnaldum gets into the box and the engine purrs.

Seven minutes later Depay, sent clear by Malen's clever flick, was denied by Macedonia keeper Stole Dimitrievski, but Wijnaldum devoured the rebound - and the floodgates could have opened. But then Holland settled for a comfortable victory instead of a rout.

against the run of play, was BY MIKE WALTERS EURO RATINGS N MACEDONIA HOLLAND Dimitrievski............ 6 S Ristovski.............. 6 Velkovski ................ 5 Musliu..................... 5 Alioski..................... 6 Bardhi..................... 5 Ademi ..................... 6 Trichkovski ............. 7 Elmas...................... 6 Trajkovski ............... 7 Pandev ................... 8 SUBS: Churlinov (Trichkovski 57) 5, Hasani (Trajkovski 68) 5, Kostadinov (Pandev 68) 6, Nikolov (Ademi 78) 6, Stojanovski (Bardhi 78) 6 f l Stekelenburg.......... 6 Dumfries ................ 6 De Vrij..................... 6 De Ligt.................... 7 Blind ....................... 6 Van Aanholt............ 6 F de Jong................ 8 Wijnaldum............... 8 Gravenberch .......... 6 Depay ..................... 7 Malen...................... 7 SUBS: Timber (De Vrij 46) 6, Berghuis (Dumfries 46) 7, Promes (Malen 66) 6, Weghorst (Depay 66) 6, Gakpo (F de Jong 79) 6 the GROUP TABLE C P WD L F APts Holland(Q) 330082 9 Austria(Q) 320143 6 Ukraine 310245 3 N Macedonia 3 0 0 3 28 0 Stojanovski N MACEDOINA HOLLAND 41% POSSESSION 59% 1 SHOTS ON TARGET 7 7 SHOTS OFF TARGET 7 5 CORNERS 7 3 OFFSIDE 28 FOULS 13 0 4 CARDS 0 0 Referee: Istvan Kovacs (Romania)

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MADE TO PAY Holland's Memphis Depay punishes North Macedonia
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:N MACEDONIA 0 HOLLAND 3 Depay 24, Wijnaldum 51, 58 BY MIKE WALTERS
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUNE
Date:Jun 22, 2021
Words:582
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