Young Orange is ‘basically better’

Young Orange is ‘basically better’

NOS Soccer

Hartman doesn’t underestimate Georgia, but: ‘We’re basically better’

Although the European Under-21 Championships are still in the group stage, the Dutch youngsters will actually play their first knockout match tomorrow. National coach Erwin van de Looi’s team must win the final group game against host nation Georgia to stay in the tournament.

A day before the all-or-nothing match, defender Quilindschy Hartman and national coach Erwin van de Looi look forward to the duel in Tbilisi, where, unlike the first group matches, the stadium will be full of Georgians.

Fortunately, Van de Looi thinks so. “We have played two nice matches against top countries, but in front of very few spectators. Tomorrow I think it will be sold out. The match deserves that too, which is nice.”

Van de Looi puts emphasis on communication in stadium full of Georgians: ‘A thingy though’

After the draws against Belgium (0-0) and Portugal (1-1), the Netherlands still has reaching the quarter-finals in its own hands. So there is quite a lot at stake tomorrow from 6 p.m. in Tibilisi.

“We know that, you know,” the national coach said. “After the equalizer against Portugal, we didn’t push ‘all or nothing’ to necessarily win that match. That wouldn’t have made that much difference to the starting position either. But if we are equal now, we are going to pull out all the scenarios.”

Communication becomes ‘a thingy’

Van de Looi cannot have captain Quinten Timber at his disposal against Georgia. He is suspended after he received his second yellow in the match against Portugal.

For the national coach, this makes communication on the field extra important. Also because of the many Georgians in the stands. “In the previous stadium, which was empty, you could coach quite easily from the sidelines and I could reach everyone across the field well. That won’t work here with 40,000 spectators, of course. We will have to talk and coach more among ourselves to get things done. That will be a thing.”

‘Don’t underestimate Georgia’

Georgia tops the Netherlands’ group after the first two duels. The host country won 2-0 over Portugal and played a 2-2 draw against Belgium.

“I know they play with a lot of energy and have had good results so far. They are ranked first. Even with the crowd behind them, I think they can be a nasty team,” Hartman said.

Van de Looi: “They have some good quality players. And besides that, I think they have a good idea, they want to play soccer when they can and are also not too bad to play opportunistically and look for the big striker. We definitely shouldn’t underestimate them.”

Hartman also agrees, but, “We are in principle better. On the other hand, I also think: whether we play here in the sun or at the North Pole, it doesn’t matter. We always have to win against them. And if we don’t win, we haven’t earned it. Then we should just go home,” concluded the Feyenoord defender confidently.

Kayleigh Williams