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regular-article-logo Friday, 23 February 2024

Koeman hopes injury-depleted Netherlands can upset France in Euro Championship qualifier

The Dutch had lost influential midfielder Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and strikers Cody Gakpo and Memphis Depay before naming their squad last Friday. Since then goalkeeper Mark Flekken, Steven Berghuis and Teun Koopmeiners have also pulled out injured

Our Bureau And Agencies Amsterdam Published 11.10.23, 11:18 AM
The Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman

The Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman Sourced by the Telegraph

The Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman hopes his side can pull off victory over France in Friday’s European Championship qualifier even if they have been hard hit by injuries.

“I see crazy results every week,” he told a press conference on Monday. “We hope to have such a plan on Friday that we can make it very difficult for France and also get a result.”

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“Of course, we realise that we do not have the strongest team. But that means nothing in football, I see matches and results every week where you think: how did that happen?”

The Dutch had lost influential midfielder Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and strikers Cody Gakpo and Memphis Depay before naming their squad last Friday. Since then goalkeeper Mark Flekken, Steven Berghuis and Teun Koopmeiners have also pulled out injured.

“What’s the reason for all those withdrawals? That purely has to do with the calendar. They are sometimes real football injuries, but I also see a lot of muscle injuries. France also suddenly has three dropouts,” Koeman said.

“But it seems that nothing can be done about the calendar, which is impossibly full.

“I try to discuss it every year at Uefa, but it only seems to get crazier. Just look at the 2030 World Cup, with matches in three continents,” he added referring to the tournament which will be hosted in South America, Africa and Europe.

With Flekken withdrawing, the Dutch coach believes Bart Verbruggen from Brighton & Hove Albion is a goalkeeper for the future.

France head Group B standings with a 100 per cent record after five matches. The Netherlands are tied in second place.

Optimistic Sylvinho

Sylvinho has taken Albania by storm since becoming the manager in January and the former Arsenal and Barcelona defender will be aiming to guide them closer to a place at Euro 2024 when they host Czech Republic on Thursday.

The Eagles lead Group E with 10 points from five games, ahead of the Czechs who have eight from four.

“We have three finals ahead of us and we need to face each one with the same attitude we had so far,” Sylvinho said.

Reuters

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