The Netherlands secured a place in the Euro 2024 finals as Wout Weghorst’s strike earned them a 1-0 home win over the Republic of Ireland.
The Hoffenheim striker moved clear before rifling into the roof of the net after 11 minutes.
The hosts dominated a low-tempo encounter with Republic keeper Gavin Bazunu pushing Tijjani Reijnders’ shot onto the post early in the second half.
The Republic finished the qualifiers with just six points from eight games.
Those points only came courtesy of two wins over Group B minnows Gibraltar, and this was another disappointing display from Stephen Kenny’s side.
This defeat is expected to be Kenny’s penultimate game in charge with his contract due to expire after Tuesday night’s Dublin friendly against New Zealand.
The injury-hit Dutch should have increased their goal tally at the Johan Crujff Arena, but they were wasteful in front of goal, while Bazunu made a string of excellent saves.
In a match which often had the feel of friendly, it was Weghorst’s powerful shot which gave the Netherlands the three points they needed to finish second in the group behind France, who hammered Gibraltar 14-0 on Saturday night.
The Republic were first to threaten as Alan Browne shot straight at Brighton goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen, but it was not a portent of things to come, proving a rare moment of danger from the error-strewn visitors.
Weghorst netted from the Netherlands’ first meaningful attack as he slipped past marker Nathan Collins, who then collided with Ryan Manning to allow the former Burnley and Manchester United forward to sprint clear before smashing high beyond Bazunu.
Brilliant Bazunu keeps score respectable
The outstanding Bazunu first came to his side’s rescue by beating Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo to the ball as the forward attempted to latch on to a deft Weghorst flick.
Gakpo and Reijnders fired wide before the latter saw his angled drive tipped over by Bazunu just before the break.
Adam Idah replaced Callum Robinson at half-time in a bid to to inject life into the Irish attack, but the goalmouth action was provided by the Dutch after the restart.
Denzel Dumfries picked out the onrushing Xavi Simons with a low cross but his close-range effort struck team-mate Gakpo and the Republic cleared.
Buzunu denied Weghorst after he also got on the end of a Dumfries pass, before the Southampton stopper managed to scramble across to divert AC Milan midfielder Reijnders’ low 25-yard shot onto the woodwork on 52 minutes.
Republic forward Evan Ferguson, who was an isolated figure as the side’s spearhead, came off injured moments later and received treatment on a hamstring.
Kenny’s side did find the net as Idah’s deflected effort squirmed under Verbruggen and over the line, but it was correctly ruled out with the Norwich City forward offside.
Reijnders wasted a golden chance in front of goal when a heavy touch allowed Collins to make a challenge, before substitute Donyell Malen forced Buzunu into another fine save.
Malen burst clear in the dying minutes but he also miscontrolled as Buzunu raced out to met him.
It mattered little, though, as the Dutch had done enough to book a spot in Germany next year.
- 6de Vrij
- 4van Dijk
- 21SchoutenSubstituted forde Roonat 90′minutes
- 14ReijndersSubstituted forKoopmeinersat 90′minutes
- 10SimonsSubstituted forMalenat 80′minutes
- 8GakpoSubstituted forVeermanat 69′minutes
- 15de Roon
Republic of Ireland
- 5O’SheaSubstituted forParrottat 90′minutes
- 2DohertySubstituted forJohnstonat 77′minutes
- 7RobinsonSubstituted forIdahat 45′minutes
- 17KnightSubstituted forMolumbyat 78′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 9FergusonSubstituted forMcGrathat 55′minutes
Match ends, Netherlands 1, Republic of Ireland 0.
Second Half ends, Netherlands 1, Republic of Ireland 0.
Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nathan Collins (Republic of Ireland).
Foul by Marten de Roon (Netherlands).
Troy Parrott (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Nathan Collins (Republic of Ireland) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Alan Browne with a cross following a set piece situation.
Foul by Teun Koopmeiners (Netherlands).
Josh Cullen (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Teun Koopmeiners (Netherlands).
Liam Scales (Republic of Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Republic of Ireland. Troy Parrott replaces Dara O’Shea.
Substitution, Netherlands. Teun Koopmeiners replaces Tijjani Reijnders.
Substitution, Netherlands. Marten de Roon replaces Jerdy Schouten.
Jayson Molumby (Republic of Ireland) is shown the yellow card.
Quilindschy Hartman (Netherlands) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Alan Browne (Republic of Ireland).
Attempt saved. Donyell Malen (Netherlands) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jerdy Schouten.
Attempt blocked. Ryan Manning (Republic of Ireland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Mikey Johnston.
Foul by Denzel Dumfries (Netherlands).