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Virgil van Dijk delighted as the Netherlands end their exile from major tournaments by clinching Euro 2020 spot

Modified 21 Dec 2019, 01:04 IST

Northern Ireland v the Netherlands - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier
Northern Ireland v the Netherlands - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has expressed his delight as the Netherlands ended their five-year absence from major international tournaments by securing their spot at the Euro 2020, following their draw against Northern Ireland on Saturday evening.

Netherlands skipper resolved to make up for lost time at the 2020 Euros

The Dutch national team secured a top-two finish in Group C after playing a goalless draw against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park over the weekend, thereby securing qualification for next summer's 24-team Euro 2020.

The Oranje had previously failed to qualify for two consecutive major tournaments. They missed out on the 2016 Euros after finishing fourth in their qualifying group behind the Czech Republic, Iceland, and Turkey. They also failed to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup after their 2-0 win over Sweden in their qualifying game was not enough to leapfrog their opponents to a spot in the tournament.

Northern Ireland v the Netherlands - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier
Northern Ireland v the Netherlands - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier

Van Dijk has now expressed his relief at finally having qualified for a major international tournament, telling reporters via The Guardian,

"I’m delighted that we are back at the Euros, back where we belong I think. We’ll not look too far ahead but we are looking forward to this. It means a lot to the people. I’ve heard we’re going to probably play all our group games in Amsterdam. It will be massive.
"It was a big thing for us to miss those tournaments, it was tough. But we don’t need to look too far back, we need to focus on now and everything is looking good. We still have to make a lot of progress and we’re very happy that we can show the spirit, talents and the quality we have at the Euros. Personally, I think we’re back where we belong.
"We know we can improve, can do a lot better in certain aspects of the game. But you know, we qualified after missing two tournaments, so we have to enjoy it."

The Liverpool centre-back will miss the Netherlands' game against Estonia on Tuesday after he withdrew from the squad due to personal reasons. He will soon get back to Liverpool who will return to Premier League action with a fixture against Crystal Palace on November 23rd.


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Published 18 Nov 2019, 09:22 IST
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