"Dutch Football Strategy Evolves to Euro 2024 Semifinal vs. England – Koeman's Team Prioritizes Defense as De Jong Sits Out, Fans Rally for Weghorst"


Like England and France, the Dutch’s passage to the last four has been a triumph of substance over style.

This is a bitter pill to swallow in the home of Total Football but there is also an acceptance this generation is not blessed with abundant creativity and no set of fans at Euro 2024 seem to be having a better time.

The orange ranks jumping from side to side in unison to an old party hit called Links Rechts (‘left right’) by a band called Snollebollekes has created some delightful images across social media.

The Netherlands no longer play total football but can still pose a major threat to England

The Netherlands no longer play total football but can still pose a major threat to England

Ronald Koeman's side are well organised and now have designs on winning the tournament

Ronald Koeman’s side are well organised and now have designs on winning the tournament

No set of fans at Euro 2024 seem to be having a better time than the Dutch supporters

No set of fans at Euro 2024 seem to be having a better time than the Dutch supporters

GOLDEN GAKPO 

They may not be easy on the eye but they have scored nine goals. Only Germany and Spain have scored more in the tournament.

Cody Gakpo has three and was denied a fourth, which would have eased him clear in the race for the Golden Boot, when the winner against Turkey was ruled an own goal by Mert Muldur.

‘It went in, I’m OK with it,’ said Gakpo. ‘Most important is to win. It’s all that matters at the end. You can play good football but if you don’t win, you’re out. Every country can play a little bit better but if you continue winning that’s good.’

Liverpool star Cody Gakpo has three goals at the tournament and was denied a fourth

Liverpool star Cody Gakpo has three goals at the tournament and was denied a fourth

The Netherlands' winner against Turkey went down as an own goal rather than a Gakpo effort

The Netherlands’ winner against Turkey went down as an own goal rather than a Gakpo effort

DEFENSIVE PILLARS 

Ronald Koeman began his second spell in charge in 2023 with a promise to return to the classic 4-3-3 system upon which Cruyffian football philosophies were established.

The defence in front of Brighton goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen is fairly settled. Nathan Ake at left back offsets Denzel Dumfries who has licence to rampage forward on the right, so the team shape shifts into a back three when in possession, as is the fashion.

The chemistry between captain Virgil van Dijk and De Vrij in the heart of defence means there is no place for Manchester United target Matthijs de Ligt or Tottenham favourite Micky van de Ven.

They may lack panache going forward but there’s a wealth of options at the back and their hard-to-beat mentality has drawn praise, as if the Dutch might be breaking free from the chains of expectancy to play a certain brand of football.

There is strong chemistry between Virgil van Dijk and Stefan De Vrij at the heart of the defence

There is strong chemistry between Virgil van Dijk and Stefan De Vrij at the heart of the defence

IRREPLACEABLE FRENKIE

The loss of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong on the eve of the tournament robbed Koeman of his playmaker. Without him, Koeman has been searching for a midfield balance. Again with parallels to England.

He has flipped around various players and settled on Jerdy Schouten and Tijjani Reijnders deep with Xavi Simons further forward against Turkey.

There is a knock-on effect up front. With well-drilled defences sitting deep in the Euros and no De Jong on the ball, directing play and threading passes, Memphis Depay has been less effective as a central striker, scoring just once, in the Dutch’s 3-2 defeat by Austria in their final group game.

They have looked more dangerous from crosses, and the Dumfries to Gakpo connection is strong from their time together at PSV Eindhoven.

Koeman has been searching for balance in midfield in the absence of Frenkie de Jong

Koeman has been searching for balance in midfield in the absence of Frenkie de Jong

WOUT AND ABOUT

There is a lobby for Wout Weghorst to start against England. He came on to score the winner against Poland and turned the quarter-final against Turkey after coming off the bench, providing a focal point for Koeman’s free attacking spirits.

‘He’s a nightmare to play against,’ said Ake. ‘Strong and a nuisance in the box. He fights for everything, runs off everything. For us he’s a great asset. He gave us great presence.

‘You can put more crosses in earlier. You get second balls and a little bit more scrimmage in the box and you create a little bit more chaos and they have to defend more.’

If Weghorst comes in, he will likely be flanked by Depay and Gakpo with Simons in support.

There is a growing clamour for Wout Weghorst to start for the Netherlands against England

There is a growing clamour for Wout Weghorst to start for the Netherlands against England

FEELING FRESH 

The Dutch have not been taken to extra time. They cruised past Romania 3-0 in the last 16 and protected their 2-1 lead against Turkey with last-ditch defending and good saves by Verbruggen.

Reijnders has covered the most distance for the Netherlands with 49.4km in 408 minutes played, 14.5km fewer than Declan Rice who has covered more ground than any player at Euro 2024 in his 510 minutes.

In total, seven England players have covered more ground than Reijnders, with just three days to recover before Wednesday’s semi-final in Dortmund.

Tijjani Reijnders has covered the most distance for the Dutch but seven England players have covered more ground

Tijjani Reijnders has covered the most distance for the Dutch but seven England players have covered more ground



Also Read More: World News | Entertainment News | Celebrity News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Barcelona put Kounde jerseys on sale before confirming his signing

Barcelona have everything ready for the arrival of French centre-back Jules Kounde.…

Sevilla spring a surprise: Isco to sign on a free transfer

Sevilla have sprung a summer transfer window surprise this Sunday by confirming…

Photos: Dutch move to quarter-finals in comfortable win over USA

The Netherlands beat the USA 3-1 and will advance to the World…

LeBron James proud to break NBA All-Star appearance record

LeBron James will become the first player to play in 20 All-Star…