Netherlands’ Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring their first goal (REUTERS/Piroschka Van de Wouw)
AMSTERDAM, October 14 (Reuters): Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk hopes their 3-0 win over Germany in Saturday’s Nations League game marks a turning point for the team after barren years.
“Let’s hope that is the case. We haven’t been on this path long but it feels like we are on the right road,” he told reporters after the victory at the Amsterdam Arena, which marked a first success in 16 years over their neighbours.
The Dutch failed to qualify for both the last World Cup and European Championship in a dramatic decline after finishing third in Brazil in 2014.
“No one would have believed you if you had said before the game that we would win by a 3-0 scoreline. We must enjoy the feeling but we are not there yet,” added Van Dijk after the match in which he, Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum scored.
Coach Ronald Koeman took over in February in a bid to get the team back on track after the recent failures and said the victory was a much-needed boost for Dutch football.
“I think everyone needed this win; the players, the staff and all of the Netherlands. You can see it from the reaction of the people. I’m really proud,” he told Dutch television.
“Let’s be clear – we had perilous moments in the game but overall we were really good. It gives so much confidence for the coming months.
“There was a great fighting spirit and we proved we can play good football. We had three debutants and give them three, four years of international football, they will be so much better. That’s when we will have a real future for Dutch football.”
Verification of potential progress can come quickly as the Netherlands play two more Nations League clashes next month when they host world champions France in Rotterdam on Nov. 16 and are away to the Germans in Gelsenkirchen on Nov. 19.