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Netherlands v Germany

Van Dijk and Dutch team-mates lament first-half ‘difficulties’ against Germany

23:23 GMT 24/03/2019
Virgil van Dijk Netherlands 2018
Speaking after the game the Liverpool defender criticised the Netherlands’ first-half performance, as did Matthijs de Ligt and Memphis Depay

Virgil van Dijk and his Dutch team-mates claimed they were unlucky to lose against Germany on Sunday night, but only had themselves to blame after a poor first-half performance.

The four-time World champions had led 2-0 in Amsterdam on Sunday, through goals from Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry, but were pegged back in the second period.

Strikes from Matthijs de Ligt and Memphis Depay meant the Netherlands were on level terms within 20 minutes of half-time, only to concede a heart-breaking injury-time winner from Nico Schulz.

While Van Dijk was pleased with the resolve shown by his compatriots to come back to 2-2, the skipper feels it demonstrated the side is still recovering from a lacklustre few years on the international scene.

“We knew we have a long way to go and tonight proved that," Van Dijk told NOS

“We came back so well and then you should grab a point at least. Too bad it didn't work out that way. We had difficulties in the first half.

“They had a lot of movement and we weren't organised well. We improved a lot in the second half when Frenkie de Jong played more from midfield.”

Van Dijk’s defensive partner, De Ligt, echoed his team-mate's sentiments.

“The first half wasn't good,” he said. "We didn't put on the pressure and they had a lot of space. Germany has very skilful players. Maybe we were somehow scared to attack Germany.

“In the second half we showed we're a good team, but that was too late. It's the Dutch mentality to try to score a third goal. You could keep pressing or defend and we did the first thing, but you should remain focussed and we lacked in the end.”

Depay looked to have put Ronald Koeman’s side on their way to a famous night after 63 minutes, but ultimately he was left disappointed at full-time.

“Of course we are disappointed,” the Lyon forward told RTL. “When you play a second half like we did today, you deserve more. We did not do our job in the first half.”

Next up for the Dutch is the Nations League clash with England in June. The winner of that tie will end up facing either Portugal or Switzerland for the right to claim silverware in the competition’s maiden year.