Dutch press and ex-internationals hard for Orange after failed international week: “Van Dijk feels better than the rest”

The Dutch won 3-0 on Monday evening, but against a football dwarf like Gibraltar that is anything but an impressive achievement. That left back Nathan Aké scored two of the three goals says a lot. And that Gibraltar played with a man less from minute 51 says even more. Football International gave five players a five out of ten for their performance (in the Netherlands, a five is an unsatisfactory). In The Telegraph four players failed.

Nathan Aké was a bright spot for the Orange. He scored twice. — © AFP

The Orange watchers of VI in The Telegraph after the disappointing game against Gibraltar, expressed harsh criticism of just about everything and everyone in the Dutch national team. “They may have had a shot or 50, but what matters is what you do with it,” said Simon Zwartkruis of Football International. “In summary: it just wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t in France and it wasn’t against Gibraltar either. No one enjoyed this.”

“I have not actually seen anyone from the Dutch national team laugh,” said Valentijn Driessen van The Telegraph on. “Not last week and not this week. This team radiates so little. If you look at the score now you see three points, four goals against and three goals for. And then you have already had Gibraltar, in your own home. No, none of that bodes well. I think Koeman is quite concerned about how to proceed.”

Ronald Koeman looked concerned at his team. — © REUTERS

Indeed, the national coach drew the same conclusions as the analysts. “Too little, not good, sloppy, inaccurate, laborious…”, Koeman started his post-match press conference. The intention was to develop a high tempo and to go for a big score, but the execution was insufficient. And it is always difficult to pinpoint why. When I analyze the two games, I am disappointed, yes. This is not the right place to talk about players individually, but it is clear that a lot of players need to improve.”

“Virgil van Dijk makes noise, but he doesn’t say anything”

Marco Van Basten, former international and analyst

Van Basten and Gullit do not spare Van Dijk

In the match analysis on television, former internationals Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit were hard on captain Virgil van Dijk. “He makes noise, but he doesn’t say anything,” said Van Basten, who sees a lack of leadership from the Liverpool defender. “He does not provide clarity and that creates misunderstandings. That’s what you have to avoid as a captain. In the dressing room he is good, football tactically and technically not.”

Van Basten was supported by Gullit, who went the extra mile. “In England they have also criticized him. He was selected for the world team of the year. He (Van Dijk, ed.) considers himself better than the rest. We see things… Then I think: you are the captain, you have to solve this.”

Virgil van Dijk was heavily criticized for his performance. — © EPA-EFE

Harsh words for Van Dijk, but he did not just walk over him. “This is of no use to me,” the central defender added after the game Ziggo Sport. “Football players have high peaks and deep valleys, they know that (Gullit and Van Basten, ed.) like no other. It’s quite normal that you can’t always play constantly. It’s normal for people to make mistakes, that’s part of football. Regardless of who gets a platform and is allowed to say what. We are not robots, let’s not forget that.”

“The only bright spot is that the players themselves are damn well aware of it,” said Zwartkruis van Football International still in his commentary. That’s right, because in addition to Van Dijk, striker Wout Weghorst was also dead honest after the game. “This is just k*t”, said the Manchester United striker. “You do search and do everything you can, but is it bad luck? It’s also just quality. It has to go up. In the final phase, in the completion. With myself too. It’s been a tough week. You should not close your eyes, the quality was below average.”

Wout Weghorst spilled the chances. — © AP

Too little quality in width

Analysts and ex-internationals view the near future of the Dutch national team as gloomy. They mainly see a lack of quality in breadth. “You have to have the players to raise the level,” says Driessen van The Telegraph. “If you replace them with mediocre players, that is not a solution either. Then you will also have a hard time against countries such as Greece or Ireland. And certainly in the Nations League against Croatia.” The national coach sees that himself. “We know: if we want to make a difference, we have to be complete,” says Koeman. “And then the level still has to be raised.”

The next match of the Orange will be a solid test: the semi-final of the Nations League against Croatia on June 14. And with a win, the final against Spain or Italy follows. It would be a great boost for our northern neighbors if they win the Nations League, but at the moment they don’t seem to have a chance.


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