Orange rehearsed behind closed doors at ZEST on Tuesday. The media was unable to follow the training session. “But it looks very good,” de Vrij said of de Ligt. “Looks like he’s ready to play.”
De Ligt missed Orange’s first match with Ukraine (3-2) in the European final on Sunday. The Juventus defender suffered from groin complaints last week. National team coach Frank de Boer didn’t want to risk him just yet.
De Boer can bring De Ligt to players. He could take Jurriën Timber out of his starting line-up and another option is to allow Daley Blind to play as a left-back. In this case, Patrick van Anholt begins sitting on the sofa.
“The woods did a great job,” said de Vrij. “He has shown that he can handle this level. Matisse is also a great defender. This is a choice that a national coach should make. I love everything.”
“Ukraine’s victory was the most important thing,” De Vries said of the Orange’s first match (3-2) on Sunday in the European Championship. “I have learned that it is very important to start the tournament with a win. But it is a pity that we conceded two unnecessary goals. This is a shame.”
De Vrij played an excellent match against Ukraine in a system familiar to him with three defenders. He recovers the ball no less than a dozen times. In 2004, during a duel with Germany, Jaap Stam was the last defender of the Netherlands in a European final with many interceptions. “My role is to eliminate the striker,” the Inter Milan defender said. “But it feels good when it works.”
The 29-year-old is now expected to bring down the Netherlands’ defense. Especially now that Virgil van Dijk is still missing and de Ligt is recovering from a minor groin injury. Against Ukraine, the Orange goalkeeper didn’t just look bad with the two goals against them. The opponent’s attackers were also given plenty of space before the end of the first half.
“We showed against Ukraine that we can play very offensively with this system,” says de Vrij. “But when we lose the ball, our organization must be good. I try to communicate a lot with my teammates. He is also improving. I also see progress in training. But we still have to improve this.”
Orange could hardly miss Thursday’s Final Eight with a win over Austria, also because their best four-digit 3 out of six sets continues. De Vrij is delighted that after seven years the Dutch national team will finally reach the final once again. “The whole world is watching,” he says. “It’s great to benchmark yourself against the best players from other countries.”
The defender has fond memories of the 2014 World Cup, the previous major tournament in which the Netherlands were allowed to participate. After a third final classification that no one thought was possible before, he was named the best defender in the World Final Round in Brazil. He secured a move to Lazio, the club he left three years ago for Inter Milan, and won the league title last month.
On a new episode of the European Football Championship podcastorange kick-offFootball chief Valentin Driessen and Ajax follower Mike Ferroy discuss who are the favorites to win the European Championship:
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