Koeman praises players after Dutch have ‘great evening’ in Germany
Holland head coach Ronald Koeman hailed a “great evening” after the Dutch recorded their first win in Germany for almost 17 years.
Late goals from debutant Donyell Malen and Georginio Wijnaldum sealed a 4-2 victory in Hamburg which puts Koeman’s side right back in contention in Group C qualifying for next year’s European Championship.
Not since November 2002 had Holland beaten their neighbours in their own back yard. That day, they enjoyed a 3-1 success thanks to goals from Patrick Kluivert, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
The win moved the Dutch to within three points of second-placed Germany with a game in hand.
“It is a great evening and we have won very well,” Koeman told onsoranje.nl.
“The difference was that we did more to get the win and it makes the world of difference in the group.
“It is very nice that you know how to win here. We still have to play five games, so we are not there yet. But it makes the road a bit easier.”
Serge Gnabry’s early goal saw Germany lead at half-time but Frenkie De Jong’s strike and a Jonathan Tah own goal turned the game on its head just before the midway point of the second half.
A controversial penalty scored by Toni Kroos levelled things up before Malen quickly restored Holland’s lead with 11 minutes remaining and Wijnaldum made sure of victory in injury time.
Koeman was pleased with the resilience his team showed to come back from a goal down.
“I found Germany very expectant. They have one weapon and that is speed and it can become 2-0 at 1-0,” he said.
“The Germans were just tired in the second half. They didn’t look as good as in the first half, but they had good chances.
“There is faith in this team and that was the message at half time. We said stay in the game, don’t open things up, because there is always a chance of a goal.”
The defeat leaves Germany three points behind group leaders Northern Ireland, who they play next on Monday in Belfast.
Head coach Joachim Low felt Holland deserved to win on the night.
He told www.dfb.de: “I’m disappointed with the result. Netherlands were the better team over the course of 90 minutes. We deserve to lose.
“Unfortunately, I never felt like we had the game under control. We lost too many balls going forward and we never got into the dangerous areas.
“In the second half, the Netherlands applied a lot more pressure, we couldn’t play out way out. Manuel Neuer received a lot of passes and that’s not the game understanding we want to have.”