‘French are home even later’
Koeman: ‘Taking this game very seriously, commitment to fans’
Frenkie de Jong is not the only one who doubts the usefulness of the consolation final. The European Football Association UEFA is even thinking of abolishing the duel for third and fourth place in the Nations League, UEFA president Alexander Ceferin said in conversation with NOS.
The reality is Sunday after all: the Dutch will play for the bronze against Italy in Enschede.
National coach Ronald Koeman disagrees with De Jong and pointed out to the midfielder that all countries in the EC qualification also have to play two games. For example, the French still have to face Greece at the Stade de France on Monday. “They will be home even later than you,” Koeman told Frenkie de Jong.
Koeman continues on the same footing: ‘Improvements continue’
“If we hadn’t had a Nations League, we would have just played two European Championship qualifiers,” Koeman stated. “People forget that sometimes. We take this match very seriously. There will be a lot of supporters. That alone creates an obligation to do everything we can. And we can also use a result.”
Koeman was satisfied with the state of his squad after the deception at De Kuip. “The disappointment was of course big, but what I saw at training was very good and fresh. Everyone is ready. We trained as well as we did against Croatia. I am confident that the energy will also be there on Sunday.”
Koeman is therefore certainly not going to rest players and has an almost fit squad. “Only Jurriën Timber has slight complaints. About him we will decide tomorrow morning. Other than that, everyone has been able to train.”
‘If anyone is self-critical, it’s Virgil van Dijk’
In addition to securing a victory and thus third place in the Nations League, the national coach also sees the meeting with the Azzurri as a good test for September’s European Championship qualifiers against Greece and Ireland.
“A lot went well on Wednesday as well and we want to continue that,” Koeman said. “You can only do that if you work at it. We want to do things the same and improve things.”
In addition to the two penalty goals, the Orange gave up goals to Mario Pasalic (the 1-2) and Bruno Petkovic (the 2-3) against the Croats. Studying the footage confirmed for the national coach that those goals could have been prevented with better defensive work and that captain Virgil van Dijk did not get off scot-free either.
Koeman: ‘If anyone is self-critical, it’s Virgil van Dijk’
“There was not good defense there and then I express it nicely,” Koeman said. “At the second goal it’s one striker against three of us. Then you have to be on his lip. It’s not one player, but clearly Virgil is a part of that. But if anyone is self-critical, it’s Virgil.”
One of the other players who could look back on an unfortunate match was goalkeeper Justin Bijlow. Whether the Feyenoord player will be under the crossbar again Sunday against Italy, the national coach would not say. Andries Noppert and Mark Flekken are the other options.
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