Euro 2020 qualifiers: Wijnaldum hat-trick helps Netherlands bounce back

Netherlands recovered from a 0-0 draw with Northern Ireland by beating Estonia 5-0, with Georginio Wijnaldum netting a hat-trick.

Netherlands midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum   -  Getty Images

Georginio Wijnaldum scored a hat-trick as Netherlands bounced back from a disappointing draw with Northern Ireland by beating Estonia 5-0 in Amsterdam.

The goalless draw in Belfast three days earlier allowed Germany to leapfrog Netherlands into top spot in Euro 2020 qualifying group C, and while the win over Estonia did not return Ronald Koeman's side to the summit it did help restore some pride.

Wijnaldum notched either side of an effort from Nathan Ake and completed his treble with a superb solo effort, before Myron Boadu scored his first senior international goal to complete the rout.

With Estonia certain to finish bottom of the group and the host already sure of its place at Euro 2020 this was never going to be a classic, but Koeman made seven changes to his side and still enjoyed a performance full of creative endeavour.

 

Wijnaldum opened the scoring in the sixth minute by sending a header over the static Sergei Lepmets after Quincy Promes picked him out with a floated cross.

The second came from a well-worked short corner and cross from Memphis Depay that teed up Ake to score with a towering header.

Erik Sorga sent a wickedly dipping shot just wide before half-time and Konstantin Vassiljev tried an optimistic 30-yard effort early in the second half, but Estonia's bluster failed to cause the Oranje defence much cause for concern.

The visitor began to tire and defender Karol Mets got caught in possession by debutant Calvin Stengs, who flicked the ball to Wijnaldum for the Liverpool midfielder to coolly finish.

Wijnaldum had more to do when he received the ball from Stengs 12 minutes from time and looked every inch the deadly forward as he jinked inside his man and lashed the ball beyond Lepmets.

The scoring was rounded off when Kevin Strootman played a delightful chipped pass to fellow substitute Boadu, who controlled the ball with his chest and nutmegged Stepmets with a low, side-footed effort to satisfy the appetite for a resounding victory around Johan Cruijff ArenA.

 

What does it mean? Koeman has strength in depth

Estonia is not reflective of the tests Oranje will face at Euro 2020, but the fact Koeman can make so many changes and still deliver a cohesive performance suggests his squad is well equipped for tournament success.

Gini in the bottle

Rarely is Wijnaldum relied upon for goals at Liverpool, given the abundance of attacking talent around him, but he showed his ability to exploit space and his finishing prowess in Amsterdam.

Mets makes it easy

Estonia had to get the basics right to have a chance and Mets, which plays for Swedish club AIK, handed the host the momentum it needed with his mistake before its third goal.

What's next?

Netherlands will start gearing up for the European Championship in March, when Estonia will hope for improved results in friendlies having missed out on the play-offs.

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