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Weghorst makes coach eat humble pie with late winner

June 16, 2024 22:59 IST
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IMAGE: Netherlands players celebrate after the match. Photograph: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

Strapping Netherlands striker Wout Weghorst earned praise not only for his winning goal in their European Championship opener against Poland on Sunday but also for his attitude after initially being confined to the bench.

The substitute striker came on in the 81st minute and within 120 seconds had swept the Dutch to victory in their Group D clash at the Volksparkstadion, netting a dramatic winner for a 2-1 triumph with his first touch.

The 31-year-old Weghorst had not been happy not to start, coach Ronald Koeman revealed, but his attitude in trying to prove him wrong pleased the Dutch coach.

Koeman spoke to each squad member individually ahead of the tournament, detailing what he thought their role would be, and said Weghorst was not pleased to be told he would be on the bench.


“I tried to explain to each player the possibility for starting or coming on the field in the second half when we might need a different approach. And he was a little upset. And I think that’s good reaction.

“Wout was upset and then doing all he could to get into the starting lineup. That’s a great mentality from the player.”

With the Netherlands losing some of the crisp play from the first half, and squandering a myriad of chances, Weghorst proved just the tonic when it seemed the wasteful Dutch would not come away with all the points despite their dominance over Poland.

“I had the feeling that he was going to do something. With Wout you know that you have someone with height who is dangerous on the end of crosses,” Koeman added.

“I always think about bringing in Wout because he also has a history of being important and scoring winning goals.”

However, for all the last gasp heroics, Koeman was dissatisfied with the overall showing of his side.

"It should have been 3-1 or 4-1 at halftime and after that you saw that it became difficult. I don't know how many chances we had.

"Germany get two chances and they score two goals," he said of the host nation's 5-1 win over Scotland in Friday's tournament opener.

"We create five and make one. Getting opportunities is one thing, but making them is another.

“There were plenty of moments that were good. But there is plenty to improve. For example, utilising the spaces. There were a lot of opportunities on their left side, but we didn't make the most of them,” Koeman added.

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