The Netherlands underwhelmed in the Euro 2024 group stage but looked close to their best in knocking Romania out here. Check out the best facts, stats and analyse the Opta data with our Romania vs Netherlands stats page.

Just when it has started to matter most, the Netherlands produced their best performance of the summer to storm past Romania and into the European Championship quarter-finals for the first time since 2008.

Euro 2024 had been anything but plain sailing for Ronald Koeman’s side in the group stage, but this was about as comfortable a win as they come against a Romania side who had largely impressed to this point, but offered little against stronger opponents in the last 16.

These two sides meeting in Munich meant that one would end their wait for a win in a knockout game at the Euros. The Netherlands, winners of the tournament back in 1988, hadn’t won a knockout match since 2004, while Romania had never won one, and their only win in a World Cup knockout game came at USA 94.

It was Romania who started the more positive of the two sides, though, pressing from the front and committing players forward when many would have expected them to be happier to sit back. The Netherlands had come into the game against a backdrop of criticism after an underwhelming group-stage campaign, and the players initially looked nervous that they might fail to produce a performance yet again.

Bart Verbruggen was put under pressure in the Netherlands goal, and there were one or two misplaced passes from Dutch defenders in areas that could have proved costly. Dennis Man fired a couple of early warning shots at Verbruggen’s goal, and both Nathan Aké and Denzel Dumfries had to make last-ditch interventions to prevent Romanian forwards having a free run at goal.

Romania caused a huge surprise by topping Group E, and even though the Netherlands had only qualified as one of the best third-placed teams, it still felt like a surprise that Romania were so dominant for those early stages. They started the game like they were the favourites here.

But any Dutch nerves were settled on 20 minutes when, against the run of play, Cody Gakpo opened the scoring.

Jerdy Schouten pierced the Romanian midfield with a pass into Xavi Simons between the lines, and the playmaker, who had returned to the starting lineup for this game in place of Joey Veerman after the defeat to Austria, spread play out to Gakpo on the left wing. The Liverpool forward cut in and slammed his shot inside Florin Nita’s near post. As well as putting the Netherlands in front, that goal moved Gakpo level at the top of the Euro 2024 goalscoring charts on three goals.

In doing so, he became the third player to score 3+ goals at two different major tournaments for the Netherlands, along with Johnny Rep (1974 and 1978 World Cups) and Dennis Bergkamp (Euro 92, and the 1994 and 1998 World Cups).

romania 0-3 netherlands momentum

It was at that point that the momentum of the game shifted. Schouten and the sublime Tijjani Reijnders started controlling things in midfield, and chances started flowing for the Dutch. Reijnders would end the game having completed 69 of his 72 passes – more than anyone else on the pitch.

Although the goal had come from Netherlands’ left, throughout the first half, they focused much of their play down the right, where Romania’s first-choice left-back, Nicusor Bancu, was missing due to suspension. It didn’t help their cause that their back-up, Vasile Mogos, was forced off after a collision with Steven Bergwijn.

Netherlands looked particularly threatening down that flank, with Dumfries getting forward from right-back and Memphis Depay moving out there from his position at centre-forward. Reijnders played a couple of passes inside Ianis Hagi, who had dropped into a left-back position to help out, but each time the Dutch failed to take advantage.

Simons wasted the best chance of the half from close range, while Radu Dragusin made a few crucial interceptions that prevented the Netherlands getting a shot off from promising positions. The Dutch’s total of seven shots to Romania’s four at half-time did not give a true reflection of their dominance.

Romania came out after the break hoping to start the second half in the same way they had begun the first, but the Netherlands had control of the game to such an extent that Romania struggled terribly to get out of their own half. Dutch chances continued to flow, and there were a host of near misses.

Virgil van Dijk clipped the outside of the post with a header; Gakpo was denied a second by an offside flag; Depay had an effort blocked from close range, and then hit a smart free-kick under Romania’s wall but just past the post; Veerman, who had also come off the bench, put a good chance wide of the far post when he only had Nita to beat; Bogdan Racovitan’s clearance ricocheted off Simons and flew just past the post. In the first 35 minutes of the second half, the Netherlands had 14 shots, having managed half that number in the first 45.

The Dutch were missing so many chances that it was easy to start wondering if luck just wasn’t going to be on their side. While there was just one goal in it, Romania will always have felt like they might have a had a chance.

But then came the killer blow.

Dragusin thought he had shepherded the ball safely out of play for a goal kick, only for Gakpo to steal in, get away from the Tottenham centre-back and cut the ball back for Malen for the easiest of tap-ins. Gakpo became the first Dutch player to score and assist in a European Championship knockout game since Frank Rijkaard in the Euro 92 semi-final.

It was to get worse for Romania late on as they chased a consolation goal. Deep into injury time, they threw yellow shirts forward at a corner, but it was cleared easily and the Netherlands broke at pace.

Malen led the charge down the left and, ignoring the options to his right, danced past a couple of Romanian challenges and slammed his effort into the net.

It felt harsh to see a Romanian side who had produced so many memorable moments against the odds in the group stage dumped out in this fashion, but the expected goals numbers (Romania’s 0.28 to the Netherlands’ 2.75) suggested the result perfectly reflected the game.

romania 0-3 netherlands xg race

Romania head home as heroes but ultimately their knockout opponents were far too strong for them. The Netherlands, meanwhile, will go into the last eight buoyed and full of confidence that they can fulfil the vast potential this group of players has.

Quite how far that means they can go remains to be seen, but this performance showed they can be far better than they were in the group stage.

Our Opta match centre delivers you all the Romania vs Netherlands stats from their Euro 2024 last-16 clash in Munich, Germany.

The match centre below includes team and player stats, expected goals data, passing networks, an Opta chalkboard and more. It gives you everything you need to do your own match analysis.

Underneath the match centre you can find the official Opta stats on the game as well. 

Romania vs Netherlands: Post-Match Facts

  • Netherlands have progressed from a Euro knockout match for the first time since the 2004 quarter-final vs Sweden (0-0, won on pens), while excluding penalties it’s their first win in a knockout game since beating Yugoslavia 6-1 in 2000.
  • Romania have now won just two out of 20 matches at the UEFA European Championship (D6 L12), with their 10% win ratio the lowest of any nation to play 10+ games in the competition.
  • Cody Gakpo – who scored three goals at the 2022 World Cup and three so far at EURO 2024 – became just the third Dutch player to score 3+ goals at two different major tournaments, along with Johnny Rep (1974 & 1978 World Cups) and Dennis Bergkamp (Euro 1992, World Cups in 1994 & 1998).
  • Across the last two major international tournaments (2022 World Cup + EURO 2024), the only European player with more goals than the Netherlands’ Cody Gakpo (6 in 9 games) is France’s Kylian Mbappé (9 in 10 games).
  • The Netherlands have now qualified for the quarter-finals in consecutive major tournaments for the first time since doing so at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.
  • Assisting against Austria last Tuesday and also providing the assist for the Netherlands’ opening goal today, Xavi Simons became the youngest player (21 years, 72 days) to assist in consecutive UEFA Euro appearances since Switzerland’s Eren Derdiyok at Euro 2008 (20 years, 3 days).
  • Donyell Malen became the first player to score two goals in a game at Euro 2024. He was the first substitute to score a brace at the Euros since Savo Milosevic at Euro 2000 for Yugoslavia vs Slovenia.
  • Xavi Simons (21y 72d) became the third-youngest player to start a knockout stage game at the UEFA European Championship for the Netherlands after Patrick Kluivert (19y 357d at Euro 1996) and Arjen Robben (20y 155d at Euro 2004).

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