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11 October 2019 13:51

Wales national football team Ryan Giggs Aberdeen Football Club

Heartbreak for Blackpool's Jordan Thompson as Northern Ireland lose late on against Netherlands

Michael O'Neill had no other word for it after three late goals from Holland turned what would have been a famous night in Rotterdam into a heartbreaking defeat for Northern Ireland: devastated. A win would have had O'Neill's men on course for Euro 2020; a draw would have left them with a strong chance; defeat leaves those hopes hanging by a thread. Memphis Depay scored twice as Holland beat Northern Ireland (Peter Dejong/AP/PA) Josh Magennis, centre, punished two mistakes in the Holland defence to put Northern Ireland ahead (John Walton/PA) For 90 minutes Northern Ireland had executed O'Neill's game plan perfectly. Magennis' goal came from two such mistakes, the first a horrible slice from Juventus' defender Matthijs de Ligt before the experienced Daley Blind failed to deal with the consequences. Memphis took just five minutes to draw Holland level after Northern Ireland took the lead (Peter Dejong/AP/PA) Within five minutes Memphis poked home an equaliser and Holland continued to pour forward as Luuk de Jong put them in front before Memphis scored his sixth goal of the qualifying campaign.

De Jong had come off the bench, as did highly-rated youngsters Donyell Malen and Donny Van de Beek, while O'Neill brought on Magennis, Jordan Thompson and Tom Flanagan. "They bring on players like Malen and De Jong and Van de Beek who has been courted by clubs all over Europe, and we brought on two lads who play in League One," O'Neill said. Defeat all but ends Northern Ireland's hopes of reaching next summer's finals. Though they are level on points with both Holland and Germany in Group C, they have played a game more and must face both sides again next month. Highs and lows: Northern Ireland players show their pain after the heartache which followed Josh Magennis' opener Steven Davis and Josh Magennis celebrate Josh Magennis, off the bench, had acted as the super sub once again, heading in on 75 minutes from a superb Stuart Dallas cross before Memphis Depay equalised with nine minutes to go.

First, sub Luuk de Jong turned the ball home at the back post at the second attempt, much to the disbelief of the Northern Ireland players and Green and White Army behind the goal. Then, with Michael O'Neill's men devastated, Depay scored his second to compound the major disappointment. Northern Ireland knew deep down this was a game they had to least come away with a point from to stay in qualification contention. Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman selected all his key players including Liverpool duo Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum, Juventus' young defender Matthijs de Ligt and Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong and, to put it into context, the collective price for the Dutch starting XI would be £319 million - a staggering 92% more than O'Neill's side. He saw a lot of action up close but with Corry Evans, Paddy McNair, George Saville and skipper Steven Davis helping to break up play, his first real save of note came as the clock struck 45 minutes from a Wijnaldum header, however it was tame effort and easily clutched by the Burnley man.

Northern Ireland may not have possessed the class of the Dutch but they certainly matched their hunger and desire - limiting the Netherlands to Wijnaldum having a shot blocked by Dallas and Bergwijn having a stinging effort deflected for a corner. Northern Ireland maybe didn't trouble Netherlands keeper Jasper Cillessen but they were much the happier side going in at half time 0-0, receiving huge cheers from the travelling fans while a few boos rang out from the home support. Wijnaldum was wasteful again at the start of the second half, striking his shot over the bar after an excellent run down the wing by Bergwijn and then referee Benoit Bastien finally lost patience with Northern Ireland taking their time returning the ball to play and booked Peacock- Farrell. The Netherlands were now playing much more direct football but they were stunned when, just after Peacock-Farrell had showed great awareness to stand up tall and save from Bergwijn at close range following a delightful chip into the box by Depay, Magennis was once again the super sub for Northern Ireland. On a rare attack, De Ligt failed to clear properly allowing Dallas to win his header with Blind, turn the former Manchester United defender inside out and then cross for Magennis, who steered his header past Cillessen.

The 3500 Northern Ireland fans behind the Dutch goal, including former defender Gareth McAuley, went ballistic. Koeman's side, fearing an embarrassing defeat, increased the tempo and, after Northern Ireland did well to clear their lines, it took a toe-poke from Depay through the legs of Jonny Evans to bring the Dutch back to level terms. In an effort to give great protection to his defence, O'Neill brought on Jordan Thompson for Saville on 83 minutes and Tom Flanagan for Corry Evans. The play-offs now appear to be Northern Ireland's only realistic path through to the Euro finals next year. NETHERLANDS: Cillessen, Dumfries (L de Jong, 78 mins), de Ligt, van Dijk, Blind, Wijnaldum, de Roon (van de Beek, 66 mins), F de Jong, Bergwijn, Depay, Babel (Malen, 66 mins).

free battle

NORTHERN IRELAND: Peacock-Farrell, Smith, Cathcart, J Evans, Dallas, McNair, Davis, Saville (Thompson, 83 mins), C Evans (Flanagan, 87 mins), Lafferty (Magennis, 66 mins), Ferguson. Ronald Koeman took a swipe at Northern Ireland's playing style after guiding a fast-finishing Netherlands to a come-from-behind 3-1 win in Euro 2020 qualifying in Rotterdam on Thursday. Memphis Depay scored either side of an effort from Luuk de Jong in a chaotic final 10 minutes to overturn Josh Magennis' shock 75th-minute opener, the substitute nodding the visitor ahead with its sole attempt on target. The hard-earned victory took Netherlands top of Group C and left third-placed Northern Ireland, which was limited to 23 per cent of possession, with a tough task going into its final two games. "They bring on players like [Donyell] Malen and [Donny] van de Beek, who has been courted by clubs all over Europe, and we brought on two lads who play in League One," he said. The away side gained a foothold in the contest by preventing midfield fulcrum Frenkie de Jong from dictating play high up the pitch, though he set up Depay's second in stoppage time. Netherlands and Northern Ireland meet again at Windsor Park in November, before the latter travels to Germany for its final qualifying fixture. It was heartbreak for Jordan Thompson and his Northern Ireland teammates as they squandered a one-goal lead to lose their vital Euro 2020 qualifier against the Netherlands in stoppage time. In the space of 15 minutes Northern Ireland saw dreams of a historic victory, given to them by Josh Magennis' 75th-minute header, become hopes of a vital point and then turn to dust in a 3-1 loss. A win would have had Michael O'Neill's men on course for Euro 2020; a draw would have left them with a strong chance; defeat leaves those hopes hanging by a thread. Memphis Depay did the damage as he inspired a dramatic turnaround, equalising with 10 minutes to go before getting the second of two stoppage-time goals. Thompson earned his fourth cap for his country by coming off the bench with eight minutes to go, to play against the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Matthijs De Ligt and Frenkie De Jong. "They bring on players like Malen and De Jong and Van de Beek who have been courted by clubs all over Europe, and we brought on two lads who play in League One. The result now leaves Northern Ireland in third place in Group C, behind both the Netherlands and Germany who have played a game less. ROTTERDAM: Luuk de Jong and Memphis Depay inspired the Netherlands' thrilling fightback as they scored three times in the last 10 minutes to seal a dramatic 3-1 win over Northern Ireland in Thursday's Euro 2020 qualifier. Memphis Depay sparked the dramatic finale with his 80th minute equaliser and De Jong bagged the crucial second in stoppage-time. They are ahead of second placed Germany and third placed Northern Ireland, with all three teams having 12 points. Significantly, the Netherlands and Germany have played one game less than Northern Ireland. Koeman's men will visit Windsor Park to face Northern Ireland again in November. However, it was Northern Ireland who snatched the shock lead against the run of play in the 75th minute. It was a heart-breaking moment for Northern Ireland and Depay finished them off when he rolled in his second goal off the post.