‘I’m sorry…’ – Van Basten didn’t hold back with his verdict on Virgil van Dijk in Dutch defeat

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Marco van Basten delivered a scathing assessment of Virgil van Dijk’s performance during Netherlands’ defeat to Austria at Euro 2024 on Tuesday.

The Oranje dropped to third in Group D after losing 3-2 to Ralf Rangnick’s side, although their four-point tally from three games is still sufficient to take them into the round of 16.

Nonetheless, the hero of his nation’s 1988 European triumph pointed the finger of blame at the Liverpool captain, who also wears the armband for his country.

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Launching into a tirade against Van Dijk on Studio Fussball (via Voetbal Primeur), Van Basten fumed: “He’s got to lead and he’s the one we’re going to hold accountable in the end. He has to organise things and he is responsible. He is the great leader of the team and you have to organise these kinds of things better.”

Alluding to his previous critiques of the 32-year-old, the ex-AC Milan legend continued: “Unfortunately, the criticism has not led to improvement, because it is actually the same points that are not going well. In that respect, it’s a bit disappointing. I’m sorry I have to say it again, but I can also keep my mouth shut…”

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Somewhat like Trent Alexander-Arnold among sections of the English media, Van Dijk appears to be a favourite scapegoat of numerous Dutch pundits, with the Liverpool captain regularly acting as a lightning rod for public ire when Netherlands fail to perform at their best.

However, even we’d have to concede that the 32-year-old fell short of his sky-high standards during the Austria game, most notably when he played Marcel Sabitzer onside for the winning goal.

As per Sofascore, the centre-back also lost three of his duels as he struggled to assert his usual aerial dominance, although it wasn’t all bad from him as he completed 93% of his passes and lost possession fewer than any other outfield starter for Ronald Koeman’s side.

We know that Van Dijk doesn’t get dismayed by criticism from his homeland, and he’ll back himself to put things right when Netherlands play in the round of 16, potentially coming up against England depending on results from this evening’s concluding group games.

While we always like to see Liverpool players performing well on international duty, we’re simply hoping that we witness him at his world-class best when the Reds commence their 2024/25 season in August.

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