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Netherlands in the European Championship semi-finals: Oranje “plague” Weghorst wants to become England’s nightmare

Netherlands in the European Championship semi-finals: Oranje “plague” Weghorst wants to become England’s nightmare
Netherlands in the European Championship semi-finals: Oranje “plague” Weghorst wants to become England’s nightmare

Substitute Weghorst leads the Netherlands to victory against Turkey. England, with football star Harry Kane, is now waiting in the European Championship semi-finals. The feeling of the title is getting “bigger and bigger”.

When the Dutch fans started singing their European Championship catchy tune, Wout Weghorst became a party animal. First he hopped to the left in front of the packed Oranje curve, then to the right – and then, spurred on by locker room DJ Denzel Dumfries and the hit “Viva Hollandia”, Weghorst also hopped around the locker room.

When the joker, whose substitution had contributed significantly to the hard-fought 2-1 quarter-final victory against Turkey, stomped through the catacombs of Berlin’s Olympic Stadium after midnight, he just grinned mischievously.

“We had a great time. These are moments for life, it’s madness and pure joy,” enthused the Dutch national football player, reviewing the impressive scenes once again. Weghorst praised the passionate performance of the Elftal, the fighting spirit of the entire team and looked ahead to the upcoming semi-final against England on Wednesday. “I’m ready,” he said as a challenge to Harry Kane and co.

Noble joker and improver

It was around 12:30 a.m. when the Oranje players, freshly showered, left the changing room and answered questions from journalists. One name was omnipresent: Wout Weghorst. The striker, who was loaned to TSG Hoffenheim last season, has been substituted by national coach Ronald Koeman in all five European Championship matches so far. In the opening match against Poland, he scored the immensely important 2-1 winning goal with his first touch of the ball. His introduction provided the decisive impetus against the Turks.

Whether as a sweeper in his own penalty area, as a ball-winner in midfield or as a provider of assists in attack – the trained striker was everywhere. “It’s a nightmare when you play against him. He’s strong, he’s a nuisance in the penalty area and he fights for everything, he runs after everything. He’s a great asset for us,” praised teammate Nathan Aké, trying to scare the English.

Weghorst was something of a make-gooder in the Berlin cauldron filled with around 40,000 Turkish fans. After the Turks deservedly took the lead through Samet Akaydin (35th minute), he encouraged his teammates and took responsibility. The reward: first the equalizer by Stefan de Vrij (70th minute) and later the forced own goal by Mert Müldür (76th minute), who deprived opponent Cody Gakpo of the record of sole top scorer at this European Championship with the tip of his foot.

The boy from the bank

But even Gakpo didn’t want to talk about his near goal. “He’s tall, he’s good in the air, he fights for every ball that flies into the penalty area. I’m very happy that Wout was able to be Wout today,” Gakpo said, praising his teammate. For TV expert Lothar Matthäus, Weghorst was also the “game changer.”

No one from the Netherlands spoke about the political debates that had overshadowed the game. And certainly not about the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who wanted to support his team in the midst of the wolf salute scandal. The praise of Weghorst was simply much more fun. “With the guys on the bench we can really get something out of it,” said Aké, referring to the “substitute factor.”

Really getting something out of it – that will be necessary when the Elftal plays against the English on Wednesday, who have so far been lackluster but still unpleasant. The dream of a second European title after 1988 is still alive. “It’s really possible. The feeling has always been there and it’s growing, it’s getting bigger and bigger,” reported Weghorst.

Koeman: Happy to play against Spain in the final

Oranje coach Ronald Koeman described reaching the semi-finals as a success for the whole country. “I think this is something special for the whole nation. We are a small nation and we are now playing in the semi-finals with England, Spain and France. You just have to be proud of this team,” said the national coach and added: “Sometimes we are criticised because we supposedly play with too little heart compared to other nations. But the players showed today that they have a big heart.”

The big heart should lead the Dutch back to the Olympic Stadium. Because that’s where the final will take place on Sunday. The belief is big – so big that Koeman has even spoken about a favorite opponent in the final. “If we play the final, then I would like to play against Spain, because we already had France in the group.”

Source: Stern

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