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Holland Reach Nations League Semi-Finals

Virgil van Dijk

Holland scored twice in the last five minutes to recover from two goals down and earn a 2-2 draw against relegated Germany in the Nations League, thereby securing a spot in next year’s finals ahead of world champions France.

Virgil van Dijk struck a close-range volley in stoppage time to equalise for the visitors after Quincy Promes had cut the deficit in the 85th minute, with the Germans having led through early goals from Timo Werner and Leroy Sane.

Switzerland, England and hosts Portugal had already qualified for the four-team finals in June.

The Dutch top League A Group 1 despite finishing level on seven points with France due to a better head-to-head record.

Germany, who suffered a shock first-round exit at the World Cup in June and lost a German-record six times this year, finished in last place with just two points and are relegated to League B.

The Dutch rallied after Quincy Promes pulled a goal back with five minutes remaining and set up a nervous finale for Germany, who had dominated throughout and looked good value for their 2-0 lead, a result which would have sent France through as group winners. Ronald Koeman’s side will join Portugal, Switzerland and England (the highest ranked of the four by Fifa) in the finals. The draw will be made in Dublin on 3 December.

The Netherlands, who defeated Germany 3-0 in Amsterdam last month, made a cautious start but they fell behind after nine minutes when Timo Werner fired a low drive past Jasper Cillessen from 25 yards. Leroy Sané added a second 11 minutes later when his left-foot shot from 18 yards went in with the aid of a deflection off Tete.

Germany knocked the ball around with total confidence in the second half and should have been out of sight but Promes’ fine goal changed the mood. Van Dijk stayed up the pitch on the assistant manager’s orders and got the reward after a cross into the box was headed on. It also ensured Germany finished without a win in group A.

“There is still much to improve, we have seen that again today, but this team has shown that it has a bright future ahead,” Koeman said.