De Jong and Depay spare Netherlands' blushes

0:53                                            Michael O’Neill says Memphis Depay is one of a number of attacking threats to Northern Ireland when they face Netherl

0:53 Michael O’Neill says Memphis Depay is one of a number of attacking threats to Northern Ireland when they face Netherl

Josh Magennis's header had Northern Ireland dreaming of a victory that would have ranked among their greatest results but it all fell apart late on.

Memphis Depay equalised for the Netherlands just five minutes later, but their hearts were broken when Luuk de Jong scrambled home in injury time to give the hosts the lead, before Depay scored his second to seal the three points.

"When the draw was made in Dublin, we knew we were in the toughest group", O'Neill said. "Given the nature of how we lost here it may well well be effective to beat them in Belfast".

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. But he added that although the top-ranked side had achieved their main goal, they would not be taking it easy as their next aim was "to go for 30 (points) from 30 in the group". "We knew the significance of a point here, we knew the significance of three points but to come away with nothing, we have to look to the final two games".

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O'Neill's aspect had finished his game realizing wisely on the night, aware about their technical deficiencies when when in contrast with the Dutch, but ready to uncover up for it with dogged pressing, harassing Holland into errors and knocking them off their dash.

O'Neill spoke before the match of sowing doubt in the minds of a young Dutch team looking to avoid the ignominy of failing to reach a third successive major tournament, and for 80 minutes it appeared to be working.

Ronald Koeman had described Magennis's goal as like an "axe in the neck" for Holland but was proud of the way they picked themselves up. "We had a lot of possession but we were not able to do much and we got sloppy".

"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". It was a fantastic performance but ultimately one that was disappointing in the end.

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