Dutch supporters lit up Euro 2024 but will go home in darker mood | Paul MacInnes

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The Netherlands person had nan fans of nan tournament. That whitethorn not beryllium overmuch consolation for them aft losing to England truthful precocious successful Dortmund, but it’s true. Yet nan legions of Dutch supporters who turned nan metropolis into a oversea of orangish could not thief their squad complete nan line. Ultimately, it was nan players who came up short.

Was it nan wounded to Memphis Depay that turned nan crippled aft what had begun arsenic a full-throated Dutch assault? Or nan punishment fixed against Denzel Dumfries for apparently inconsequential contact? Or was it what nan critics of Ronald Koeman’s squad had been saying each along: that this squad was conscionable not Dutch enough, not method capable successful nan cardinal areas to guarantee triumph astatine nan second stages of a tournament?

In nan extremity it felt for illustration nan past of these. Depay had flitted successful and retired of nan tourney and erstwhile he went down pinch a hamstring wounded connected nan half-hour it gave Koeman a chance to staunch a batch of bleeding. England had dominated nan first half after going down to a Xavi Simons belter and nan head had to stiffen his side. That he duly did, pinch first Joey Veerman past Wout Weghorst coming into nan play, and nan Netherlands reverted to nan benignant of compact, functional squad that could clasp England astatine bay for agelong periods but not decently enforce themselves. And successful nan end, nan reservoir burst.

So let’s scroll backmost for a infinitesimal and deliberation astir what will beryllium an indelible representation for truthful galore Dutch shot fans. The party had begun astatine astir 9am erstwhile it quickly became clear that immoderate estimates arsenic to nan number of Oranje in Dortmund were measurement under. By 10am location were group dancing connected nan streets to techno coming retired of an orangish pickup truck. By 11am, nan bars were full. By 1pm nan streets were afloat too.

The pre-game peaked, naturally, pinch nan instrumentality march, which moved from nan metropolis centre on nan “green path” to nan stadium much than 4 hours earlier kick-off. Being wrong it felt for illustration a transverse betwixt nan density of group you get astatine Notting Hill carnival and nan sound of nan Kop connected a European night, isolated from pinch group hanging disconnected lamp-posts, bobbing near to correct and wearing each benignant of orangish apparatus; from a integrative coif to a bishop’s mitre and a humble toilet plunger.

A Netherlands protagonist decked retired successful orangish paraphernalia struggles to incorporate his disappointment
A Netherlands protagonist decked retired successful orangish paraphernalia struggles to incorporate his disappointment. Photograph: Hollandse Hoogte/Shutterstock

Inside nan crushed nan promised Orange Wall turned retired to beryllium an Orange Quoin, bending information nan south-west area of nan BVB Stadion. But location was power successful abundance for nan Dutch to provender disconnected and Simons was wolfing it down. His opening extremity happened successful nan blink of an eye; robbing Declan Rice, driving guardant and slamming nan shot beyond Jordan Pickford successful 4 touches. Looking for illustration a subordinate who’d been told he could return a starring domiciled connected specified a large stage, Simons led nan press, linked nan play and was nan emblem of nan team’s bully start.

With Simons successful a No 10 position, however, it was 2 Dutch cardinal midfielders against a miasma of England attackers and midfielders, floating astir nan place, picking up space. As soon arsenic it became clear that England backed themselves to get into nan game, nan Netherlands struggled to clasp connected to what they had won and nan sound from nan fans began to ebb away. The punishment was contentious, and afterwards nan Dutch players seemed consenting to cling to an injustice arsenic consolation, but their head acted to alteration nan style of his squad wholly by half-time to lessen nan English threat.

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The substitutions had nan effect Koeman intended, but nan accommodation was thing he whitethorn person wished to debar each nan same. Gone was nan precocious property and each nan strength disconnected nan ball. Gone was overmuch of nan consciousness of attacking threat. Instead nan Netherlands were playing for illustration Slovakia and Switzerland had earlier them, getting numbers down nan shot and looking to prosper from group plays. This is what his critics person held against him.

With 15 minutes of nan 2nd half gone, whistles began to drift up. But past Jerdy Schouten forced Luke Shaw into conceding a throw-in and nan first cheer for immoderate clip could beryllium heard. From that propulsion a free footwear followed and Veerman floated an master shot to nan backmost station wherever a touch from Virgil van Dijk forced Pickford into a debased save.

That was capable to plaything nan momentum of nan crippled for a spell. It wasn’t beautiful to watch, but arsenic England laboured to unlock nan massed ranks and started to unit their play, nan Netherlands began to spot much of nan ball. With each transverse location was threat successful nan England box. That successful move meant England had to change. With 10 minutes to go, Gareth Southgate did and nan pendulum swung erstwhile more, this clip decisively against nan Netherlands.

Source theguardian