What is the secret behind Gakpo’s brilliance with the Netherlands and his poor level with Liverpool?

Cody Gakpo shines and leads his country Holland To beat Romania 3-0 and qualify for the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 to await the winner between Türkiye and Austria.

Romania topped Group 5, while the Netherlands finished third in Group 4, but in reality the performance revealed a big technical difference between the two teams in favour of the Dutch team, which began to gradually enter the tournament atmosphere with continuous improvement.

The best form of defense is offense.

This was the Netherlands’ best performance of the tournament so far, and the match should have ended with a big score, perhaps even double the score that it did.

Holland proved that the best way to defend is to attack, the first goal gave them confidence and they started attacking their opponents whenever possible, instead of settling for a single goal. It is good to see a team like Holland who does not have a strong attacking lineup; but refuse to rely on defense.

While the Oranje deserved a lot of credit for continuing to press to double the score, they need to improve their finishing and finishing off the chances they come across, as the final decision in front of goal was the only negative in the Netherlands.

Holland’s Cross

Netherlands midfielder Tiani Reynders was outstanding, he was intelligent and played deeper in midfield today, but he controlled the game just like Toni Kroos and he is very similar to him.

What was special about this player was that he would raise the pace of the match whenever he wanted, and when he took control and slowed the pace of the match, he did so and was excellent at moving from one area to another.

Cody Gakpo is better with Holland for this reason

Cody Gakpo was the best player on the pitch despite Malen’s brace, and his goals carried the Netherlands through the group stage and he has continued to shine.

It must be emphasized that in the last two major international tournaments (World Cup 2022 + Euro 2024), the only European player to score more goals than Cody Gakpo (6 in 9 games) was France’s Kylian Mbappé (9 in 10 games).

Heat map of Cody Gakpo vs Romania in the round of 16 of Euro 2024

Cody Gakpo plays on the left side in a 4-2-3-1 formation and that is the system that suits him and that is the position that suits him, he is not a midfielder and he is not a striker as Jurgen Klopp wants to use him a lot at Liverpool.

The player’s strength comes from the side in this way, with the presence of a playmaker who supports him and forms a partnership with him that gives him comfort in support and movement, which is what he did. Xavi Simons, on the contrary, at Liverpool when he plays as a winger in a 4-3-3 or as a midfielder he does not find this thing.

Malin the golden alternative

Donyell Malen became the first player to score twice in a UEFA Euro 2024 match, and was the first substitute to score a brace at a European Championship since Savo Milošević in UEFA Euro 2000 for Yugoslavia against Slovenia.

Malen also became the fourth Dutch player to score more than one goal in a knockout match at the European Championship, and the first since Patrick Kluivert (3) and Marc Overmars (2) who scored in the 6-1 win over Yugoslavia at Euro 2000.

Romania prepares for defeat

Romania did well to top their group, which was wide open, but they collapsed after the first goal. The team was so passive from the start that they completed just 79 passes in the first half, the fewest in the first 45 minutes of a team at Euro 2024.

The result of the match between the Netherlands and Romania today in the round of 16 of the European Nations Cup Euro 2024

You didn’t win. Romania Only one match in the knockout stages of a major tournament, and that was against Argentina in the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

After finishing top of their group and facing a disappointing Dutch side, many felt Romania had a real chance of emulating the legendary results of three decades ago.

For 20 minutes, it looked as if Romania were heading to the quarter-finals, yet they conceded and collapsed immediately, as if it was a blow from which they simply could not recover. In truth, it never became clear that they were looking for an equaliser.

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