Van Dijk led the Netherlands on their victory against Senegal and the defender has received appraisal from many for his performance in the Dutch World Cup opener.
Dutch defender Virgil Van Dijk to keep the winning momentum going
Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool is still regarded as ‘the greatest defender in the world.’
And Denzel Dumfries of the Netherlands is happy to have the captain of the Oranje back in shape for the World Cup in Qatar.
The three UEFA Nations League games Van Dijk missed in June resulted in five goals. However, Netherlands have not been penetrated even once in the three games since he was reinstated to the starting lineup.
The statistics alone demonstrate how crucial Van Dijk is. Especially to the Netherlands’ ambitions of progressing to the World Cup’s further rounds. The Liverpool colossus had a few nervous moments during Monday’s 2-0 victory over Senegal. However, he was still essential to another clean sheet by blocking an Ismaila Sarr shot before Cody Gakpo scored the game’s first goal.
Impact of the Dutch captain
“Virgil is one of the best, if not the best defender in the world. And then he also brings his enormous presence. Virgil is crucial to this group.”
The 1988 European Champions, as Dumfries himself notes, lack a certain steel without the former Southampton and Celtic behemoth, who stands like a sage old oak in the center of their three-man backline.
If Van Dijk had been available for the terrible last-16 loss to the Czech Republic, for instance, it’s difficult to think that Frank de Boer’s team would have exited Euro 2020 in such a haphazard manner.
Van Dijk’s extensive experience undoubtedly had a significant part in the game. However, two players who are only starting their international careers also made an impact. The Netherlands opened their Group A campaign with a tenacious victory against African champions Senegal.
With a goal in the 84th minute, PSV’s star forward Gakpo increased his total to four goals in just 10 games. Andries Noppert, the goalkeeper for Heerenveen, finished off his Dutch debut. And he did it with a number of stunning reflexes saves on just about the largest platform possible.