The Netherlands stormed into their first European Championship quarter-final since 2008 with a commanding 3-0 victory over Romania in the last 16 on Tuesday. Donyell Malen was the star of the show, scoring twice to secure the win for the Oranje.

The Dutch side got off to a flying start when Cody Gakpo gave them an early lead. Despite their dominance, they struggled to find a crucial second goal, which left the game hanging in the balance. Romania, though gritty and determined, couldn’t capitalize on the Netherlands’ missed opportunities. It wasn’t until the 83rd minute that Liverpool forward Gakpo set up Malen for his first goal, effectively sealing the match in Munich.

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Romania continued to fight, but they were outclassed and lacked the quality needed to punish the Dutch for their earlier profligacy. In stoppage time, Malen struck again on a counter-attack, ensuring the Netherlands’ passage to the quarter-finals with an emphatic finish.

This victory sets up a quarter-final clash for the Netherlands with either Turkey or Austria, the latter of which had previously defeated the Dutch 3-2 in the group stage. Reflecting on the match, Cody Gakpo expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performance. “We played a good game. I’m very pleased. Especially after the last game, we needed a reaction and today was a good step in the right direction,” he said.

Gakpo emphasized the team’s improved aggression, intensity, and cohesive defending. “Sacrifice something for each other and work really hard to be at your best. Good game overall,” he added.

Despite the strong performance, the Dutch will need to sharpen their efficiency in front of goal if they hope to emulate their manager, Ronald Koeman, who was part of the Dutch squad that won the 1988 Euros on German soil. Prior to the match, captain Virgil van Dijk had pointed out that the team lacked energy and the “will to win” in their previous loss to Austria.

The comprehensive win over Romania, however, suggests that the Netherlands have addressed some of those issues as they advance to the quarter-finals, ready to face their next challenge.