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Scotland stun Netherlands to open Euro campaign

Scotland 2

Burke 62', Mallan 78'

Netherlands 0

  • Tuesday, 05 September 2017
  • Paisley 2021 Stadium
  • Under 21´s
  • UEFA European Under 21 Championship - Qualifying

Jamie Braidwood | YFS South East Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

They only needed a moment, and in the second half it arrived. It came from another dangerous set piece. Swung into the box, it wasn’t cleared and then it broke, invitingly, to the captain and star of this Under 21s team. Oliver Burke didn’t need another invitatitation. Instead he smashed the ball high into the net from six yards out. It was the breakthrough the game needed and suddenly Scotland had lift off, a dream start to their Euro qualifying campaign, but in the unlikeliest of circumstances; a comprehensive and well deserved 2-0 win over the highly rated Netherlands.  
“It’s the perfect start”, Burke said afterwards. “The first goal was vital to winning the game. I’m obviously very happy to score it myself but I wouldn’t have done that without the hard work of the team.”
It’s true. The first goal was vital. Before it, Scotland and their opponents were locked in a stalemate, battling against each other in a game of few chances or opportunities. This may have been their first match of their qualifying campaign, but from the offset it was clear that Scotland were determined to win. 
In front of a decent crowd of 2,747 at the Paisley 2021 Stadium, Scotland set out to frustrate the Dutch. Off the ball Scotland were tight and compact, Burke and strike partner Dominic Thomas led from the front and behind them sat two resolute banks of four. 
For a while the Dutch couldn’t get out and resorted to playing the ball long, something that would have delighted Scotland coach Scot Gemmill. When the Dutch did get through, Scotland’s centre backs John Souttar and Scott McKenna were alert to the danger. Only once did the visitors seriously threatened and thankfully for Scotland Steven Bergwijn’s rising first time shot from inside the area smashed against the post. 
Scotland had just as many, if not more, opportunities. They looked especially dangerous from set pieces, with Stephen Mallan and Thomas providing excellent service from corners and free kicks. Souttar should have done much better from an inswinging Thomas corner early in the game, but, unmarked at the back post, he couldn’t keep his volley down.  
On Scotland’s left, St Mirren’s Lewis Morgan was looking comfortable playing at his home ground. He seemed to be Scotland’s biggest danger from open play, and created an opportunity for himself thanks to his pace and dribbling. After taking on his defender on the wing, Morgan turned back on to his left and was unlucky as his shot fired just wide of the far post.  
  • Half Time:
  • Scotland
  • 0-0
  • Netherlands
For all the excitement around Burke, he was having a very quiet game. This was, after all, his debut for Scotland’s Under 21s, after previously having won five caps for the senior team. Burke, following his year in the Bundesliga and now his Premier League move to West Brom, looked an experienced player in a young side, and one that his teammates looked up to. 
Often, the long ball up to Burke was Scotland’s way out, but he wasn’t exactly having the easiest time. The ball wasn’t sticking to him and other players, such as Mallan, Morgan and Thomas, were seeing a lot more of the ball than he was. 
But with Scotland needing a big moment and a big goal, it was Burke that delivered, shooting high into the net following Mallan’s corner from the right. Scotland deserved to lead, so there was relief in the air but also, this was beyond anything that Scotland had expected. Relieved surprise filled the ground. 
Maybe the goal freed Scotland up, because rather than defending their lead, they were the team that looked more likely to grab another. Their best moved followed shortly afterwards. Burke was released down the left and, following a good run, cut back inside. Sensing the overlapping run of full back Greg Taylor, Burke back heeled the ball into his path. Taylor got to the byline and pulled it back to Mallan, whose flicked effort from the near post was saved. 
Indeed minutes later Scotland doubled their advantage. A long ball to Burke was flicked on but a mix up in the Dutch defence allowed Mallan a sight at goal. He made no mistake, tucking his left foot finish into the right corner. It was no less than they deserved. 
“We’re all very positive”, said Burke. “We all want to qualify, but we feel we have every chance, especially after that first win and clean sheet.”
England, who drew 1-1 with the Netherlands in their opening game on Friday 1 September, will be Scotland’s next opponents in October. If Scotland can replicate another performance like this one then they will be confident of causing another upset. 
As Burke said himself, they feel they will have every chance. 
  • Full Time:
  • Scotland
  • 2-0
  • Netherlands


1. Ryan Fulton
2. Anthony Ralston
3. Greg Taylor
4. John Souttar
5. Scott McKenna
6. Iain Wilson
14. Stephen Mallan
10. Lewis Morgan
15. Dominic Thomas
17. Chris Cadden
7. Oliver Burke (C)
8. Michael Johnston
9. Ryan Hardie
18. Scott Wright
12. John Ruddy (GK)
19. Theodore Archiblad
20. Ross McCrorie
23. Oliver McBurnie
1. Joel Drommel (GK)
2. Denzel Dumfries
3. Jeremiah St. Juste (C)
4. Rick van Drongelen
5. Thomas Ouwejan
6. Pablo Rosario
7. Guus Til
8. Frenkie de Jong
9. Steven Bergwijn
10. Bart Ramselaar
11. Gervane Kastaneer
12. Kevin Diks
13. Pelle van Amersfoort
14. Richario Zivkovic
15. Sam Lammers
16. Yannick van Osch (GK)
17. Damien van Bruggen
18. Oussama Idrissi
Star Player
Stephen Mallan. Following his move to Barnsley from St Mirren at the end of last season, this was Mallan's first time back playing at his old home. Maybe the familiarity helped him, because Mallan was excellent all game. Whether it was winning tackles in midfield, making late runs into the box and delivering dangerous crosses from dead ball situations, this was an excellent midfield performance.
Frenkie de Jong was the visitors' stand out performer. He was technically very impressive.
Magic Moment
Oliver Burke's back heel to Greg Taylor opened the Dutch defence right up. It was his stand out moment, aside from the goal of course.
Steven Bergwijn was unlucky to not score from an ambitious near post shot.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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