Van Dijk enthused: “It’s a fantastic feeling. We should all be proud of ourselves. I know I am. We worked so hard every game and to get rewards for that is fantastic.”
The Netherlands have now lost just one of their last nine matches under Koeman, a sequence that includes a 3-0 downing of a Cristiano Ronaldo-spearheaded Portugal and the near extinction of a 21-year winless run against Belgium in an admirable draw in Brussels. And the 55-year-old has got his pupils performing at their pomp.
Van Dijk is not only the most expensive defender in the world, but also the best according to a mushrooming posse, including Andy Gray, Eden Hazard, Jamie Redknapp, Mo Salah and Chris Sutton. Matthijs de Ligt, 19, has hinted that the Netherlands could have the best centre-back partnership in the world by the time qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ begins.
Frenkie de Jong, 21, continues to prompt juxtaposition with Xavi. Gini Wijnaldum has been infallible. And Memphis Depay, who makes no secret of his belief he can one day be crowned The Best FIFA Men’s Player, has remarkably recorded 41 goals or assists in 53 appearances for club and country in 2018.
The future’s bright, the future’s orange. So, too, was Museumplein once again on Monday night.