Memphis is a very important player for us- Ronald Koeman
Written by: Anjishnu Roy
The Oranjes ran riot against Belarus in their first EURO Cup 2020 Qualifiers.
The former Manchester United forward enjoyed a successful night in the opening fixture of the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign. He found the back of the net twice, once from the penalty spot and also managed to set his teammates up for the remaining two goals and was voted as man of the match following his five-star performance.
The Netherlands took to the pitch in Rotterdam in stunning fashion and went ahead on the scoreboard inside the very first minute when Depay made the best of a defensive error from Igor Shitov. He then assisted Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum for the second.
Memphis then converted a spot kick from 12 yards that had been won by Wijnaldum and Depay’s final ball across the face of the goal was turned in by Wijnaldum’s Liverpool teammate and the Dutch skipper Virgil van Dijk.
With his recent brace, Memphis Depay took his international tally to 10 goals in the last 14 international games and is at the heart of the forward line under the Ronald Koeman who’s bringing about a revolution with the Oranje.
The Netherlands boss, who also celebrated his birthday yesterday wasn’t entirely happy about the performance however and accused his side of being ‘careless’ on certain occasions.
"We were careless," Koeman told NOS. "I thought it was nonchalant. I saw more backheels than I have seen here in years. But in the final phase of the first half and in the second half it went well again.
"But after going 1-0 up, you have to play disciplined. We apparently do not control that yet. We even blocked some shots in our own area."
"Going 1-0 up early was the ideal scenario, but then you have to play like we did in the second half.
"You should not think: 'It's 2-0, we will easily win this.' That also has to do with the development of this team."
Ronald Koeman was quick to praise Depay’s performance and form in front of goal though. Despite a rather underwhelming spell with Lyon, this season Depay’s performances in the national colours have been earning him plaudits with his national manager being the latest in the long line of many who have lauded Memphis’ efforts.
"I say it every time, he is a great player," Koeman said. "He may be going through a lesser phase at his club, but if he feels free and has confidence, he can do a lot.
"Memphis is a very important player for us, he has proven that in this competition."
The Netherlands will be playing host to the champions of 2014, Germany in their next qualifier and will be another important opportunity for Koeman and his side to reassert their dominance on the elite level of world football.
Published: Fri Mar 22, 2019 01:19 PM IST