Netherlands move up the gears to reach Euro last eight

The Netherlands could be peaking at just the right time.

The Dutch reached their first European Championship quarter-final in 16 years with a 3-0 win over Romania after their best performance by far at Euro 2024.

Cody Gakpo broke the deadlock in the 20th minute and substitute Donyell Malen scored two late goals to send the Dutch to their first quarter-final in the tournament since 2008.

The Netherlands had missed a plethora of earlier opportunities to add to the lead and captain Virgil van Dijk also hit the woodwork.

It was nevertheless a much-improved display to their disappointing group-stage performance, which ended in a 3-2 loss to Austria.

They will next face Turkey, who upset the fancied Austrians in Tuesday's other last-16 clash.

"We played a good game and showed a great reaction from the last one," Gakpo said.

"We needed a reaction and today was a good step in the right direction. We talked a lot about the aggression, the intensity and defending like a team."

It was Gakpo's third goal of the tournament, making him joint top scorer along with Germany's Jamal Musiala, Georges Mikautadze of Georgia and Ivan Schranz of Slovakia.

Romania had dominated possession until Gakpo's goal, but never really tested Netherlands goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen.

The opener came when Xavi Simons surged forward before finding Gakpo on the left. The Liverpool forward cut inside the blue-haired Andrei Ratiu and fired into the near bottom corner.

Gakpo ran to the team physiotherapist after his goal, and he explained his celebration: "He told me yesterday, 'You're going to score the first goal'. I said, 'If I do that, I'll come to you' - and that's what I did."

Gakpo had a second-half effort chalked off for offside, but turned provider seven minutes from time as he managed to just keep the ball in play, under pressure from Radu Dragusin, and prodded it back from the byline for Malen to poke home.

The Dutch capped a dominant performance in stoppage time when Simons released Malen for a surging run from the halfway line before slotting past Florin Nita.