Netherlands through to UEFA Nations League semis

Heather Diaz
November 20, 2018

Virgil van DIjk not only warmed the hearts of Liverpool fans following his performance for the Netherlands, but also the mascot.

The Dutch trailed against their biggest rivals for the vast majority of the match following an early goal from Timo Lerner just before the 10-minute mark, before Leroy Sane doubled the Germans' lead.

The Liverpool defender's goal came five minutes after Quincy Promes had halved the Dutch deficit.

Netherlands pipped France for top spot in Group 1 on head-to-head record after both finished on seven points while the Germans, two points, were relegated from League A.

As well as scoring a vital stoppage-time equaliser, Virgil van Dijk proved his captain credentials for the Netherlands with a touching little act of kindness after the final whistle.

Holland join Switzerland, England and hosts Portugal in the inaugural four-team finals next June. I wished him strength and said that he had officiated the game well.

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"That's the price you pay for having a young side, we have to learn to close a game down", said Low, who started only three 2014 World Cup winners in Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos and Manuel Neuer.

The trio of Serge Gnabry, Sane and Werner, so effective in Thursday's 3-0 friendly win over Russian Federation, again caused the Dutch defence no end of problems in the opening 45 minutes.

Netherlands' qualification for the final four of the Nations League continues their resurgence under Ronald Koeman, although they were second best for long periods against a Germany team struggling for form.

Fellow goal-scorer Werner, who ended his eight-game goal drought, agreed.

Despite finishing the year with a 3-0 win over Russian Federation last Thursday and a draw with the Dutch, 2018 has been a nightmare year for the Germans.

The UEFA Nations League match between Germany and Netherlands will be broadcast live on ESPN.

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