Frenkie de Jong believes Netherlands’ run to the Nations League final means the Oranje are a force to be reckoned with once again on the international stage.
After finishing third at the 2014 World Cup, Netherlands failed to reach each of the next two major tournaments and few would have fancied them to progress from A Nations League group starring Germany and France.
But under the guidance of Ronald Koeman, a rejuvenated side finished top of the pool, before defeating England 3-1 after extra time in Thursday’s semi-final.
There was to be no silverware, though, as Goncalo Guedes’ solitary strike ensured the inaugural crown went the way of hosts Portugal at the Estadio do Dragao on Sunday.
— UEFA Nations League (@UEFAEURO) June 9, 2019
“We have shown that everyone must now take us seriously,” said De Jong, who was named young player of the tournament and will be joining Barcelona from Ajax ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.
“We have gained more experience from these Finals. We still have to qualify for the European Championship final round, but we will certainly benefit from these experiences.
“As a team if you’re so close to a trophy you want to win it. We didn’t play our best match, but this is an experience we can take on board for next year’s Euros, where we hope to do better.
“We did not do enough in the build-up. I myself did not. We found too few solutions between the lines. The game against England was tough, but that should not be an excuse.
“I’d rather win the tournament with the team, but it’s always an honour to win the individual trophy so I feel honoured to have been given it.”
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