‘It does remain the finalist of last World Cup’
Koeman on France: ‘It does remain the finalist of last World Cup’
National coach Ronald Koeman knows the strength of upcoming opponent France and foresees a tough night tomorrow in Paris. “It does remain the finalist of the last World Cup,” he said.
“An eleven with great, individual qualities. We played against them in the Nations League and showed both times that we can beat them,” he was referring to the 2018 duels.
Orange kicks off its European Championship qualification on Friday, with thus immediately a cracker of note. “We know where the French’s strength lies. They play compact and are very dangerous on the counter, with very good players on the ball.”
One of them, of course, is Kylian Mbappé, who was named captain this week. “He’s great and can single-handedly decide a game,” he said.
How will Koeman make sure his team puts Mbappé on restriction? “The beauty of soccer is that you don’t always get that done. It will be, on the one hand, very important that you dare to play soccer and, what every coach will say, that the residual defense is good.”
In that, Virgil van Dijk plays an important role. The captain is looking forward to the confrontation with France. “If you can believe the reports about what team they are going to play with, it will be a tough match. But I’m honestly looking forward to it. Hopefully it will be a start of something beautiful.”
Despite the laundry list of absentees, Van Dijk is keeping his spirits up. “It will be difficult, but we have to have faith in each other and go full steam ahead. And be ready to suffer some pain as well, although hopefully we will return to the Netherlands with a result.”