Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dutch give Koeman first win by cruising past Portugal




Dutch give Koeman first win by cruising past Portugal

The Netherlands cruised to a comfortable 3-0 friendly victory over Portugal in Geneva on Monday night. AFP
The Netherlands cruised to a comfortable 3-0 friendly victory over Portugal in Geneva on Monday night. AFP

Dutch give Koeman first win by cruising past Portugal

Ronald Koeman claimed his first win in charge of the Netherlands national team as the Dutch cruised to a comfortable 3-0 friendly victory over an uninspired Portugal in Geneva on Monday.

The three-time World Cup runners-up have failed to qualify for this year’s finals in Russia, but Koeman’s second game at the helm saw goals from Memphis Depay, Ryan Babel and Virgil van Dijk seal an impressive win.

It was a disappointing evening for European champions Portugal ahead of the World Cup, as talisman Cristiano Ronaldo cut an isolated figure just three days after his late brace had seen off Egypt 2-1.

“They had four chances and scored three times – they deserved their victory,” said Portugal coach Fernando Santos.

“Two years ago, before the Euros, we lost at home against Bulgaria. I don’t think we have lost confidence, I still believe in these players for the future.”

The Netherlands, who lost 1-0 to England in Amsterdam on Friday, opened the scoring in the 11th minute as Depay grabbed the first goal of the Koeman era by turning home from inside the box.

That strike came against the run of play as Portugal had dominated the early stages against an unusual 5-3-2 formation deployed by the Dutch.

“We decided to play with a system totally different from the one that the team has been using for a number of years,” said former Everton boss Koeman.

“The difference between tonight and last Friday [against England] is that we were more comfortable and scored quickly. The team had confidence.

“It felt good with the new system, and results like tonight make things easier.”

Ronaldo was left incensed after his appeals for a penalty were waved away, despite replays appearing to show him kick the ground when attempting to shoot.

Kluivert debut

But the Netherlands doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark as Ryan Babel headed in Matthijs de Ligt’s driven cross from close range.

The goal continued the Besiktas winger’s return to form, having only been recalled to the Dutch squad last year after a six-year absence.

Things went from bad to worse for Portugal on the stroke of half-time, as De Ligt nodded down for Liverpool centre-back Van Dijk to volley into the far corner to score his first international goal.

Portugal continued to monopolise possession early in the second period, but struggled to break down their stubborn opponents.

Any hopes of a comeback were ended when Joao Cancelo was shown a second yellow card and sent off for a foul on Tonny Vilhena.

That was the cue for several fans to invade the pitch attempting to take a photo with Real Madrid star Ronaldo, who was duly substituted with 22 minutes to play after failing to score for the first time in 10 matches for club and country.

Ajax teenager Justin Kluivert, the son of former Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert, made his international debut after replacing Depay in the closing stages.

After a low-key affair that was a far cry from the two teams’ infamous “Battle of Nuremberg” at the 2006 World Cup, the Dutch claimed a win they will hope can spur them on to better things having missed out on back-to-back major tournaments.

Portuguese fans will be expecting better when their side take on Spain in their World Cup opener on June 15 in Sochi, before further Group B games against Morocco and Iran.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there