Saturday, July 13, 2024

´It sucks´ – Van Dijk rues Netherlands´ last-gasp Euro 2024 heartbreak

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Jul 2024

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Virgil van Dijk bluntly said “it sucks” after the Netherlands crashed out of Euro 2024 following their last-gasp defeat by England.

The Oranje were seconds away from extra time in what was their first European Championship semi-final appearance for 20 years, after Harry Kane’s penalty cancelled out Xavi Simons’ earlier effort.

However, there was to be a late twist in Dortmund as substitute Ollie Watkins drilled a 90th-minute winner beyond Bart Verbruggen’s helpless dive to send England through to face Spain in Sunday’s showpiece.

It meant a fifth defeat in six European Championship semi-finals for the Netherlands, whose sole victory came when they lifted the trophy on German soil in 1988.

“I have no words for this,” Van Dijk said. “When you concede so late, it’s terrible. This hurts a lot. You give it your all and if it still turns out like that, it sucks.

“You have more possession, and you want to take advantage of the little moments you get. It felt like we could make it 2-1. But that didn’t happen, and now we’re standing here empty-handed.”

Speaking to beIN SPORTS, Van Dijk also hit out at the decision to award England’s first-half spot-kick after a VAR check, with Denzel Dumfries harshly penalised for clipping Kane.

“I think it says it all that the referee ran in quite quickly after the game, I had no time to shake his hand,” Van Dijk said.

“It is what it is. The game is lost. Certain moments were obvious they should have gone our way, but they didn’t. It’s difficult to accept it.

“It’s been a long year, a tough year. We had a big dream and we felt we could have achieved that.”

Despite the disappointment of narrowly failing to deliver their nation’s fifth major tournament final appearance, Ronald Koeman insists his players can take plenty of pride for their efforts.

“First half, England deserved [to win]. Second half, not; it was more 50-50,” he told ITV Sport. “They created problems in our midfield in the first half, we didn’t control how they played between the lines. We had to change the midfield.

“After that, it was a 50-50 match. My feeling was in the last 25 minutes, our team was more fresh than England, but they scored a great goal in the last minute, and that’s football.

“It’s a great goal. Maybe, we deserved extra time, but we can be proud of the national team, proud of the players, because we had a great tournament.”

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