Sunday, April 21, 2019

Netherlands´ focus still on Euros – Van Dijk

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Nov 2018

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Virgil van Dijk is proud of Netherlands’ incredible Nations League efforts, but he says their focus is on qualifying for Euro 2020.

The Oranje captain struck a late equaliser at Germany on Monday to see Ronald Koeman’s men top their group in League A, reaching next year’s Finals in Portugal ahead of world champions France.

But after the Netherlands’ failure to reach Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018, Van Dijk’s main concern is getting to the next major international tournament, looking beyond the conclusion of the Nations League.

“It’s a fantastic feeling. We should all be proud of ourselves. I know I am,” Van Dijk said, according to UEFA.com. “It’s just a great feeling for all of us.

“We worked so hard every game and to get rewards for that is fantastic.

“Hopefully [the future] holds a lot, but we don’t like to look too far ahead. We want to qualify for Euro 2020, that’s the main target.

“If we can win the Nations League, fantastic, but we all want to make sure we’re at the European Championships and do very well there to make our country proud.”

Frenkie de Jong has emerged as a star over the course of the campaign, yet he admits he doubted Netherlands’ chances of progression when they trailed Germany 2-0 in the closing stages.

“Of course we kept believing in a result, but I have to be honest: the first half wasn’t good,” he said. “We didn’t have an answer to the way they played.

“We changed things around a bit and we got more control in the second half, although that’s not to say that we were better.

“We brought Luuk [de Jong] on and started taking more risks. It’s fair to say that we were a little lucky to pull two goals back, but that’s football.

“It’s a fantastic result to top the group, considering we were drawn together with France and Germany. We can be proud of what we have achieved.”

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