Thursday, July 25, 2024

Van Dijk understands Netherlands criticism at Euro 2024

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Jun 2024

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Netherlands captain Virgil Van Dijk understands the criticism of his side at Euro 2024, despite remaining unbeaten in the tournament following their goalless draw against France last time out.

The Dutch came from behind to win their opening Group D game against Poland, before holding out for a point against a wasteful showing from Les Bleus.

In a game dominated by Didier Deschamps’ side, the Netherlands recorded their lowest possession figure in a Euros game on record (since 1980) with 37%.

Despite this, excluding shootouts, the Oranje have lost just one of their last 18 games at major international tournaments, coming at Euro 2020 against Czechia (W12 D5).

Van Dijk and his team-mates were criticised by pundits and newspaper columnists after the game against France, but the Liverpool captain was unmoved by the comments.

“Everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, that’s fine,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me, it’s part of football. If it irritated me, I would have a very unpleasant life.

“Expectations are high, also among ourselves. We have a good team; I sincerely think so. We want to show it in big matches. After the match against France, we as players clearly said to each other what needs to be improved.

“We can and must do better than we did against France. We can still make progress in this European Championship.”

The Netherlands face Austria in Berlin on Tuesday to conclude their group campaign.

Ronald Koeman’s side knows that should they equal or better France’s result against Poland, they will finish top of Group D ahead of the knockout stages.

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