The hosts were defeated by a late goal from Nico Schulz, that gave Die Mannschaft all three points.
The Netherlands boss, Ronald Koeman, cut a frustrated figure in the post-match conference after their 3-2 loss at the hands of Germany in their opening Group C qualifier for the Euro 2020. The two heavyweights are the favourites to qualify from their group hence it was crucial to gain a victory and start the qualifying campaign on a positive note.
Germany took a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry the 15th minute and 34th minute respectively, but were pegged back by the hosts who levelled the match with goals from Matthijs De Ligt and Memphis Depay in the 48th and 63rd minute respectively. The contest was settled by a 90th-minute goal from Nico Schulz.
Speaking to the media after the game, the Dutch tactician said, “I felt they were about to score around the 85th minute, we had a discussion on the bench on what to do. Should we bring in [Nathan] Ake and substitute him for an attacking player? Maybe that would be a better idea. That is my mistake.”
The 56-year-old criticised his players for being sloppy in possession which invited more pressure from the opposition. Speaking in that context, he added that, “We kept losing the ball. If you can’t get the pressure high, the play is open in the back,” Koeman said. “They have some fantastic attacking players. We gave them too much space.”
Speaking on the analysis of the game, the gaffer further added that, “The first goal was a bit unlucky with Virgil, who slipped. The second goal was incredible. But don’t forget we got two massive chances [for Babel] when we were only 1-0 behind. That was a good phase and then we played a tremendous second half. We were able to push back a great team like them. Then we were outstanding in ball possession. We took a lot of risk, but we kept the pressure on the ball.”
“We came back and then it was more likely we’d score the 3-2 than that they would score the 2-3, until the last minutes. I got the feeling: ‘Please guys, just go for a point, because we can concede.’ But that happened eventually.”, Koeman told the reporters.
Despite a close contest, fans of the Oranje would be feeling gutted after letting the tie slip against a German side that has had a disappointing spell of late. Joachim Low’s tactics and formation caused problems for the defensive pairing of Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs De Ligt who did not have a recognised striker to mark. This could be a turning point for Die Mannschaft and may turn their bleak fortunes upside down, more so after avenging their UEFA Nations League defeat at the hands of the Netherlands.