Defeat and ‘panic’ among players Orange: ‘Harsh words have fallen’
Mentality. That’s what was lacking, according to the players of the Dutch national team and national coach Ronald Koeman. The Dutch lost 3-2 to Italy in Enschede in the consolation final of the Nations League. Especially the first half was underwhelming. “I am ashamed of that,” said captain Virgil van Dijk.
The defender said Orange’s players should “look very carefully” in the mirror. “It was just bad. You play for honor, too.”
According to Van Dijk, there has been a lot of talk at Orange among themselves this week. “Then this shouldn’t happen. We were often too late with pressure.” According to the captain, today’s performance gives reason to panic. “A little bit, yes.”
‘In September good for the day’
Frenkie de Jong does not want to speak of panic. The Barcelona midfielder clings to the second half, which showed more commitment. In addition, he believes that the Netherlands has “a lot of quality” in the team.
“Also, there is nothing playing in the team that makes the atmosphere or commitment less. I think we can be in good shape in September,” he continued.
And we will have to, as the Orange host Greece in the European Championship qualifier on Sept. 7. An away game against Ireland follows three days later. They are the Netherlands’ main challengers for second place behind leader France.
De Jong does not think the Netherlands needs to fall back on a more conservative system, as under previous national coach Louis van Gaal. “For the most part, it’s about the quality of the players. We have to make sure we are good in September. Maybe we adjust some small things, but you have to ask the coach. I’m not in favor of that.”
It looks like national coach Ronald Koeman still has to continue to wrap his head around defense. Since taking office, the Netherlands has received 11 goals against in four games. Only against soccer dwarf Gibraltar was the zero kept.
Justin Bijlow, who was under the crossbar today and Wednesday against Croatia (4-2 loss), also thinks the Netherlands gets “way too many” goals against.
For Denzel Dumfries, Cody Gakpo and Wout Weghorst, the problems lie deeper. According to them, the will to win was lacking and the mentality has to change. Gakpo felt the Netherlands did not provide enough energy in the first half.
Dumfries said there were harsh words in the dressing room after the first half. “We didn’t fulfill certain agreements. We can blame ourselves for that.”
Weghorst came up with the most concrete tips for the future. He thinks players should demand more of each other and of themselves. “That you want to get the maximum out at all costs. For that you will have to go to the limit.”
“We have to start realizing well how you get results in today’s soccer. It doesn’t have to be pretty and frivolous. Sure, the Netherlands is a country that wants to play neat soccer, but you have to take a good look at what is demanded in contemporary soccer,” Weghorst continued his tirade.
And that dovetailed with the words of captain Van Dijk. “Everyone has to take responsibility in this.”