Soccer-Dutch enjoy morale-boosting 3-0 win over Georgia


Soccer Football - International Friendly - Netherlands v Georgia - De Grolsch Veste, Enschede, Netherlands - June 6, 2021 Netherlands' Wout Weghorst celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

ENSCHEDE, Netherlands (Reuters) - Netherlands beat Georgia 3-0 thanks to goals from Memphis Depay, Wout Weghorst and teenager Ryan Gravenberch on Sunday in a morale-boosting victory ahead of the European Championship.

Depay tucked away a 10th-minute penalty but Georgia finished the first half stronger as they had more shots on goal and pushed their hosts repeatedly onto the back foot.

The home team resumed command of the game after the break, spurred on by 7,500 spectators, with Weghorst scoring his first international goal as they doubled the lead in the 55th minute.

Gravenberch, who only turned 19 last month, reacted quickest to head home a rebound in the 76th for the third goal.

The victory will come as a relief for Netherlands coach Frank de Boer after a disappointing 2-2 draw with Scotland in their first warm-up game last week that saw the Dutch tactics criticised by media and pundits.

"Are we ready for the European Championship? Yes, I just asked the boys and they are looking forward to it,” De Boer told reporters.

Denzil Dumfries was brought down early to present Depay with the chance to open the scoring from the penalty spot. Depay was denied a second goal just five minutes later as keeper Giorgi Loria made a full-stretch, scrambling save on the goalline.

But after that Georgia threatened on several occasions in the first half with Saba Lobzhanidze having the best opportunity to get his side back in the game.

The Netherlands wrestled back control in the second half with Weghorst finishing at full sprint after being played in on goal by Depay.

After a strong season in the Bundesliga, Vfl Wolfsburg forward Weghorst made a case for inclusion in the starting attack when the Dutch open their Group C campaign against Ukraine in Amsterdam on Sunday.

The third goal came after Depay had another shot saved by Sania but the ball rebounded into the air and Gravenberch finished it off.

With six minutes left, Georgia substitute Jaba Jighauri struck the woodwork with a powerful shot as he almost beat the 38-year-old Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)

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