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The Netherlands comes from behind to reach Euro 2024 semifinal with victory over Turkey

The Netherlands came from behind to book its spot in the semifinals of Euro 2024 with a 2-1 victory over Turkey on Saturday.

Turkey defender Samet Akaydin had given his side the lead 10 minutes before halftime with a powerful header from a sumptuous Arda Güler cross.

After consistent pressure on the Turkey goal, the Netherlands eventually equalized through a thumping header from defender Stefan de Vrij.

The Netherlands then took the lead six minutes later when Mert Müldür touched the ball into his own net under pressure from Cody Gakpo to score an unfortunate own goal.

The Netherlands will play England in the semifinals on Wednesday, July 10 in Dortmund.

Turkey was playing without its match-winner in the round of 16, Merih Demiral, after he was suspended for two games following a controversial hand gesture made by the defender in the previous round.

Demiral scored twice in Turkey’s 2-1 win against Austria and celebrated by making a gesture known as the “wolf salute,” which is associated with the Turkish right-wing extremist group “Grey Wolves.”

“Does anyone say that the Germans have an eagle on their jerseys? Does anyone say that the French have a rooster on their jerseys?” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was at the game in Berlin, told Turkish broadcaster TRT on Friday.

The atmosphere inside Berlin’s Olympic Stadium in Berlin was electric, with the combination of Netherlands fans dressed all in orange and the vocal backing of Turkey fans – Germany has a large Turkish diaspora – for their team providing a dramatic backdrop to the game.

The action on the pitch didn’t quite live up to the energy in the stands in the early proceedings though, with both teams struggling to find any cutting edge. Dutch striker Memphis Depay was heavily involved but lacked the cutting edge required to find the back of the net.

Demiral had scored with two powerful headers in the win against Austria and Akaydin replicated his absent teammate’s aerial threat by rising highest at the back post to head past Dutch goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen after 19-year-old sensation Güler had delivered a bewitching cross as Turkey took the lead.

Akaydin (No. 4) scores for Turkey against the Netherlands. - Fabian Bimmer/Reuters
Akaydin (No. 4) scores for Turkey against the Netherlands. - Fabian Bimmer/Reuters

After the halftime break, the introduction of Wout Weghorst almost paid immediate dividends for the Netherlands, with his knockdown falling inches away from Depay to tap home.

Meanwhile, Güler remained in the thick of the action with his freekick from distance bending and crashing against the Netherlands’ post as the Real Madrid star continued to impress.

Although the Netherlands continued to push, it was Turkey who continued to look the most dangerous team, with Verbruggen having to deny Kenan Yıldız midway through the second half.

The Netherlands’s equalizer also came from a header with Depay putting in an inviting ball for De Vrij to power past the helpless Mert Günok in goal.

Stefan de Vrij (right) celebrates with his teammate Xavi Simons after scoring the Netherlands' first goal against Turkey. - Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images

Minutes later, the Dutch took the lead when an inviting cross from Denzel Dumfries caused panic Turkish box and a combination of Gakpo and Mert Müldür ended with the ball of the back of the net.

Turkey ramped up the pressure in search of an equalizrer with Micky van de Ven and Jerdy Schouten having to make a vital blocks to deny shots on goal.

Agonizingly for Turkey the ball then hit Semih Kılıçsoy’s knee at the back post and looked to be heading towards the Dutch goal only for Verbruggen to somehow turn it away and let out a cheer of celebration afterwards.

As Turkey frantically pushed for a second goal, every small challenge was contested hotly and Bertuğ Yıldırım was shown a red card on the bench for his protestations.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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