Sunday, 14 July, 2024, Reg No- 06
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Dutch eyeing top spot in Euro 2024 group ahead of France

Published : Tuesday, 25 June, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 88

BERLIN, JUNE 24: The Netherlands are hoping to pinch top spot in Group D at Euro 2024 ahead of France but on Tuesday face a confident Austria side who may need a positive result to reach the last 16.

Dutch coach Ronald Koeman said his side "weren up to scratch" in a goalless draw with France last time out which all but secured a place in the knockout phase.

A victory against Austria would wrap up top spot in the group, though, provided France do not win by a bigger margin in their simultaneous final game against Poland.

"If we think about the whole game there were times we weren up to scratch," Koeman said on Sunday.

"We lost possession when we shouldn have and our pressing wasn great either, there was too much space in between the lines.

"France had better chances than we did."

The Netherlands have finished first in their groups at each of the past two major tournaments, although they were still dumped out by the Czech Republic in the last 16 at Euro 2020.

Despite a promising start to this campaign, there has been debate back home about the make-up of the team.

Memphis Depay, who released a song before the tournament called "Thanks for your opinion" in a thinly-veiled response to critics, struggled up front against France.

There have been calls for Wout Weghorst to be given a start, after he came off the bench to score the winner in the Netherlands opening game against Poland.

"When a ball came to me, there was little support. Then you have to hold the ball and unfortunately that didn work a number of times. That has to be improved," Depay admitted after the France stalemate.

Matthijs de Ligt, who impressed in the second half of last season for Bayern Munich, has been left on the bench with Inter Milans Stefan de Vrij partnering Virgil van Dijk in central defence.    —AFP

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