EURO 2024 Round of 16 | Romania vs Netherlands

Romania vs The Netherlands (Munich), 18:00

If you revisit our match previews for the group stages, you'll recall our early prediction of Romania as a potential dark horse for this year's tournament. This was a bold call, especially when few others were making it. Initially, we highlighted the team's defensive prowess, but their unexpected attacking flair has genuinely surprised us. It's worth noting that all four teams in their group were formidable, yet Romania scored four goals and conceded only three, securing the top spot.

The Dutch, on the other hand, continue to perplex us. Despite our praise for their defensive options, they conceded three goals against Austria, resulting in a loss in their final group game. They qualified for this round from third place in their group, and it's fair to say that the Dutch fans would have been fearing a much less favourable draw than Romania.




Performance in the Group Stage

Romania came into this game after an exciting group stage. All four teams in Group E of the Euros had the exact same results and points, with the goal difference being the only factor separating the teams. Romania's position at the top of the group was no fluke, as they also finished first in their qualifying group for this competition.

The Dutch had to settle for a third-place finish after Austria’s impressive run of form. Ralf Ragnick’s side impressively defeated the Oranje after a late goal, thanks to Marcel Sabitzer. This goal meant Austria finished the group in first position, while the Netherlands had to settle for a disappointing third-place finish.

Match Analysis

Romania enters the knockout stage with a strong defensive mindset, shown by the team's ability to limit the quality of shots faced. The team's discipline and organised defence allow them to absorb pressure and counterattack quickly. Razvan Marin has been a standout performer, displaying his talent for crucial goals and composure under pressure, particularly from the penalty spot. Romania's attack is also organised, creating scoring opportunities through set pieces and quick transitions rather than sustained pressure.

The Netherlands have an engaged attacking style of play, preferring to dominate possession and create numerous chances through intricate passing and movement. However, their group-stage matches showed some vulnerabilities in maintaining leads and managing defensive setbacks under pressure. Cody Gakpo has been a threat in their attack, showing clinical precision in scoring, while Memphis Depay's efforts to push up the pitch high and provide goals have also been helpful. Their attacking depth and ability to create scoring opportunities will give us an interesting matchup.

Key Players to Watch

When highlighting key players, we had to highlight the areas of the pitch where these two teams excel. Although both teams have been impressive going forward, their household names play a key role in defence.

- Radu Dragusin: The young defender moved to Tottenham Hotspur last January and has made a significant impact for his country at this tournament. He looks like an old-school defender. Big, strong and doesn't do much in the way of nonsense. Romania will be looking towards him to produce one of the performances of his short career.

- Virgil Van Dijk: We had no choice but to include this man. If he is at his very best, the Romanians will have a monumental task on their hands. The Dutch will rely heavily on this man if they plan to go deep into this tournament.

- Cody Gapko: There will be a lot of defensive talent on display during this match. Therefore, asking who will break down this resilient defence is only right. The Liverpool forward has looked very impressive this tournament. We're still waiting to see his very best for the Reds, but for his country, he is seemingly given more freedom to pick the ball up from midfield and run with it, which he has been using to good effect this tournament.

Match Prediction

The easy money is on the Dutch. They have more recognised players and if they are playing their very best football, they will triumph over this Romanian side. However, they have been leaky and there is no guarantee they will create enough chances. We are backing the Dutch to get over the line here, but we would also not be surprised if there was a shock on the cards.