Virgil van Dijk deployed as STRIKER: Netherlands tactics vs. Germany revealed
It took a stoppage time goal but Netherlands salvaged an important draw against Germany in the UEFA Nations League on Monday evening to book themselves a berth in the final tournament next June.
Virgil van Dijk provided the decisive goal, but only after the Liverpool defender was sent up front by Dutch coach Ronald Koeman in a desperate attempt to snatch parity from the jaws of defeat.
A closer look at Koeman's tactical note reveals his ploy to send Van Dijk up front, with the centre-back's name written next to that of (actual) forward Luuk de Jong.
The note was found lying discarded on the touchline at the Veltins Arena, retrieved by none other than a positively overjoyed Rafael van der Vaart,
Sure enough, with the Netherlands trailing 2-1 and chasing the game, it was Van Dijk who volleyed home a 90th-minute equaliser to propel his side into the final four of the Nations League.
That goal sparked scenes of delirious celebration not seen since... well, since the day before at Wembley when England beat Croatia in stoppage time. But for the Dutch to beat their neighbours and biggest adversaries in their own back yard, and keep their hopes of a first trophy since 1988 alive, really was something special.
So it's hats off to Van Dijk for converting his golden chance and hats off to Koeman for having the wherewithal to push his commanding centre-back up into the attack to mix things up a bit in his hour (or minute) of need.
A fine night's work for all involved.