The Netherlands were sloppy in defence at times against North Macedonia on Monday, but can be confident with the progress made at Euro 2020 as they move into the knockout stages, Dutch coach Frank de Boer said. “We are looking good,” De Boer said after his side secured a perfect record in Group C with a 3-0 win against North Macedonia. “We have made progress on almost all aspects of the game. I am very positive about our state of play and our possibilities in the next match. Defensively, we will have to do better. But I am confident that we will improve in the next match as everybody will give it their all, while concentration might have been a bit less today.”
Monday’s match was basically a dead rubber, as the Dutch had already sealed top spot in the group by their wins against Ukraine and Austria, while North Macedonia were bottom and out after two defeats.
However, instead of resting most of his key players, De Boer opted for only two changes in his first eleven, introducing Ryan Gravenberch in midfield and linking forward Donyell Malen with Memphis Depay in attack.
Malen was a constant threat and set up the third goal with a beautiful pass to Depay.
“At times the combination with Memphis worked really well”, De Boer said. “But it will depend on who we are facing next whether we will do this again. We could also see more need for a real target man, like Wout Weghorst.”
Malen was also praised by his captain Georginio Wijnaldum, who scored twice to take his tournament total to three.
“We all know Donyell’s qualities, he poses a real threat to defenders. It’s always good if you can add another quality player and Donyell is one,” he said.
Despite three consecutive wins, Wijnaldum was cautious about playing up his side’s chances too much. “At times, we took it all too easy today, that will have to improve. We did well in the group, but we still have to prove ourselves against other nations,” he said.