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.

Disappointment on the face of Republic boss Stephen Kenny after Wout Weghorst's goal
Stephen Kenny is set to leave the Republic job after a very disappointing qualification campaign

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.

Republic keeper Gavin Bazunu beats Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk to the ball in Amsterdam
Republic keeper Gavin Bazunu produced an impressive performance in Amsterdam

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.

Kesh Awefada

Kesh Awefada

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