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Netherlands 'showed a reaction' in Euros win over Romania: Gakpo

<a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/players/1432691/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Cody Gakpo;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Cody Gakpo</a> celebrates scoring the opening goal for the Netherlands in their last-16 victory over Romania at Euro 2024 (Fabrice COFFRINI)

Netherlands forward Cody Gakpo said his under-fire side had "showed a reaction" in the 3-0 win over Romania on Tuesday that sent them into the Euro 2024 quarter-finals.

The Dutch were heavily criticised after finishing third in the group stage, behind table-topping Austria and second-placed France.

Even Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk slammed his team, saying they were missing the "will to win" in the 3-2 loss to Austria.

But Gakpo was named man of the match in the last 16 tie after scoring the opener against Romania in Munich and then setting up Donyell Malen to net the second goal with seven minutes remaining.

The Liverpool forward told Germany's ARD network: "We played a good game -- we showed a good reaction from the last match and I'm very pleased. We took a step in the right direction today.

"It's all about aggression and intensity and defending like a team and I think it was a good step and an important one."

The Dutch are through to the last eight at the Euros for the first time since 2008, giving Gakpo a burst of nostalgia after he watched successful Oranje sides as a youngster.

"I have lots of great memories, but now with this squad we are trying to make new memories of our own," he said.

The scoreline did not tell the true story of the game, with the Dutch vulnerable with a 1-0 lead up until the 83rd minute against the lively Romanians.

Netherlands defender Denzel Dumfries said his side were "not nervous" despite failing to break through with a number of chances.

"No we were not nervous we know our quality, we know we can score. I'm proud how focused we stayed right until the last minute," Dumfries said.

Malen, who came on at half-time, scored his second goal in the third minute of stoppage-time to cap the victory.

The Borussia Dortmund forward broke through and dribbled around the defence, alongside a pair of sneakers that had been thrown onto the pitch from the Romanian end, before scoring.

"I'm glad I could help the team, I'm glad we won," said Malen.

With a clash with Turkey or a re-match with Austria on the horizon in the quarter-finals, Malen said his team would celebrate to wash away the disappointment of the group stage.

"In the dressing room there's a bit of music, maybe we'll have a drink," he said.

"You have to think about it from both sides, when you lose you feel bad, so it's nice to win."

dwi/smg