Rotterdam, March 22 (IANS) Memphis Depay was the star for The Netherlands as they beat Belarus 4-0 here to kick off their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a win.
The Lyon forward scored twice on Thursday and assisted another two goals as the Dutch continued their improved recent form, having missed out on the last two major international tournaments, reports Efe news.
The Nations League finalists, led by Ronald Koeman, showed they are likely to be among the leading contenders for the European championships next year with a convincing performance.
They opened the scoring inside the first minute when Memphis pounced on a sloppy backpass to round the goalkeeper and finish from a tight angle.
In the 21st minute he turned provider, setting up Georginio Wijnaldum with a deft flick inside the six-yard box for the Liverpool midfielder, who had only the goalkeeper to beat.
Wijnaldum then won a penalty after he was brought down by a clumsy challenge from Mikhail Sivakov, with Depay converting the spot kick with a driven shot into the corner.
The former Manchester United winger then set up his team’s fourth and final goal when he crossed for Liverpool central defender Virgil Van Dijk to head in with less than five minutes left.
“It was an ideal start, scoring in the first minute”, Koeman said, who added that his players became too complacent afterwards.
“I think the players thought they had already won, because our play became too nonchalant. That’s not what I want to see. The second half was much better. We had more control”, he said.
Koeman’s charges face fierce rivals and neighbours Germany in a highly anticipated Group C match on Sunday.