Netherlands fell to their first defeat in over 400 days after the Dutch Lions were beaten in the Johan Cruyff Arena 1-0 by Italy. Captain Virgil van Dijk felt his side were punished for a poor performance in the second match of the Nations League. A header from Internazionale midfielder Nicolo Barella in the first half secured victory for the Italians and sent them top of Group A1.
“It was a poor game for us,” the Liverpool defender told NOS. “We couldn’t really put them under pressure, we were sloppy in possession. The pitch didn’t help, either, but that shouldn’t be an excuse. We should be better – that’s the conclusion tonight. The first half wasn’t good. After the break, we tried to turn that around, and you saw it did go better at times, but, generally, it wasn’t a good match.”
“You try to put on all your pressure and, at a certain point, the players also get tired. It’s then difficult to keep that up and, when we have the ball, to keep making runs. But I’m not going to make excuses. The first half, in particular, was average to poor.” After they beat Poland 1-0 last Friday, Netherlands now sit in second place in Group A1, one point behind Italy.