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Euro 2024: ‘Dutch need to be perfect to win’ – Koeman

Dutch boss expects a close encounter against old rival Southgate

Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman says his Netherlands side will need to be perfect to beat England in the Euro 2024 semi-final.

The 61-year-old won the European Championship on German soil as a player in 1988 and is aiming to repeat the feat as a manager in Berlin on Sunday evening, where Spain lie in wait in the final.

First-up it’s England in Dortmund – a city which holds fond memories for the Dutch as they beat Brazil there in the 1974 World Cup semi-final.

Koeman expects a tight affair, telling “We know there is not a big difference between the two nations. It is really 50-50 in my opinion.

“We know we need to do the perfect game to win.”

England have shifted formation as the tournament has worn on but Koeman insists Oranje will be ready to deal with a back-four or a back-three depending on what Gareth Southgate decides.

“It’s always good to know in what kind of system they will start,” he said. “We are prepared for both ways to compete against them and we know they have a lot of individual qualities.

“Both teams are really strong and it will be a good fight. There are different ways to win. You can’t always play the football that you like to play. Sometimes you need to work harder and be more aggressive.

“We are both experienced coaches, Gareth has much more years as a national coach, but we know each other well.

“We played several times against each other. We played against each other in the semi-final of the Nations League (which the Dutch won 3-1 in 2019) – let’s hope we get the same result

“It’s good to know we have a big support from our country. Let’s hope we can make them really happy.”

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Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.