Home » Dutch media: Oranje defeat “desecrated” anniversary of Euro 88 – DutchNews.nl

Dutch media: Oranje defeat “desecrated” anniversary of Euro 88 – DutchNews.nl

Dutch media: Oranje defeat “desecrated” anniversary of Euro 88 – DutchNews.nl

“Travesty. Disgrace. Debacle. Laid bare.” The Dutch media were unsparing in their analysis of the Dutch football team after they slumped to a 3-2 defeat to Austria in their final Euro 2024 group match in Berlin.

“Oranje arrived in Berlin by train brimming with self-confidence, but against Austria they were completely derailed,” was the verdict of popular newspaper De Telegraaf.

The Dutch spent most of the match chasing shadows and playing catch-up as their opponents harried them off the ball and found acres of spaces behind a plodding defence. “Oranje were a miserable sight,” was the Telegraaf’s succinct verdict.

Algemeen Dagblad’s commentator Sjoerd Mossou said the first half was especially painful viewing. “The Netherlands were overwhelmed in every department by the Austrian pressing machine, devoid of inspiration and sluggish, not especially helped by a handful of players in hopeless form.

“Even Nathan Aké, usually almost always the best player, looked as if he was constantly a step behind.”


Midfielder Joey Veerman, who was substituted after just 35 minutes after 16 of his 29 touches ended up at the feet of an opposition player, came in for the heaviest criticism. But the brickbats also flew in the direction of his fellow midfielder Jerdy Schouten, stand-in defender Lutsharel Geertruida and even captain Virgil van Dijk.

“Instead of offering cover in the heart of defence, he gestured towards his midfielders,” AD wrote of Van Dijk. “It was a moment that symbolised the match as a melodrama for Oranje and for its captain individually.”

The Volkskrant’s veteran football writer Willem Vissers said the match had “desecrated the status of June 25 as a golden date in history”, referring to Oranje’s triumph exactly 36 years ago in the European Championship final in Munich.

“Everything that made the Netherlands a great footballing nation was absent,” he wrote. “An own goal  – really two – stray passes, shocking deficiencies, ragged defending, a lack of basic skills and initiative, of creativity, of running.

“No desire to play it forward quickly. Two goals conceded straight after two equalisers. A totally overrun, overwhelmed midfield.”

“Dismal performance”

Manager Ronald Koeman did not try to hide his disappointment after the game. “If your defence isn’t holding up, you’re not marking tightly, you’re not aggressive, you don’t cover the space and you keep conceding possession to your opponent, then yes, it’s a dismal performance,” he said.

Midfielder Jerdy Schouten was equally direct. “I think we were all really bad in the first half, man for man,” he said. “The coach could have substituted all 11 of us.”

“It was just bad. We were a pace behind all over the pitch. We know that. We’re not stupid. We talked about this game a lot beforehand, but we made a lot of tactical errors. They [Austria] played differently from their last match at these Euros.”

Forward Memphis Depay, one of the few players to emerge with any credit after his well-taken second goal, said the players were “not surprised” by the quality of the Austrian team.

“We’d seen what they did in the other matches. It doesn’t matter who they’re playing, they just get on with it. I think we just weren’t good enough at particular moments. It’s a real shame.”

England looming

As one of the third-placed teams, Oranje have to wait until the end of the group stage to see who they play in the last 16, but results elsewhere mean that they will not meet in-form Spain, who beat Italy and Croatia on their way to the knock-our rounds.

The Dutch have avoided the trickier half of the draw containing Portugal and host nation Germany as well as Spain. They are most likely to face England on Sunday evening, or possibly the winner of Belgium’s group, which also contains Ukraine and Romania, next Tuesday.

The Telegraaf’s chief football writer Valentijn Driessen said defeat would surely spell the end of Koeman’s second spell as national team coach, in his first major summer tournament.

“If Oranje are knocked out by England or the winner of Belgium’s group in the last 16, it will inevitably signal a day of reckoning,” Driessen said. “As club manager he needed Houdini acts to survive at Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord. If he wants to take Oranje to the World Cup, he has to survive the next round of the Euros.”