The Netherlands beating Belarus 4-1 on Friday evening was as expected as it was needed. The country’s national team has been on something of a downer having failed to qualify for Euro 2016.
Anything other than a victory against Belarus would have seen further doubt surround manager Danny Blind, and further anger from fans and the media.
However, a much tougher test awaits on Monday evening, as the Dutch welcome France to the Amsterdam Arena. France are a huge step up from Belarus, despite only managing to draw against them away from home, and a good result could see a corner turned for the Netherlands, and pile pressure on France.
Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk is ready for the step-up in class, and has been speaking to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf ahead of the France match.
The Southampton star told De Telegraaf “against France we have to be even sharper,” given the jump in class.
Perhaps the biggest test for the Netherlands tonight is Antoine Griezmann, and Van Dijk said: “I always want to play against the best. Griezmann is an excellent footballer. I look forward to it. We are ready for it, I feel it.”
Griezmann is in brilliant form for France and has been their standout player for a while, if Van Dijk can keep him quiet then it would surely fill the defender with confidence to take back to Southampton.