VIRGIL VAN DIJK has hit back at criticism from Dutch legend Marco van Basten.
APVirgil van Dijk is skippering his country in Qatar[/caption]
GettyMarco van Basten slammed his nation’s captain[/caption]
A point still leaves Louis van Gaal’s men top of Group A going into matchday three – but Netherlands legend Van Basten, working as a pundit, was still unhappy after the game.
In particular, he took aim at Van Dijk.
The 58-year-old said of the centre-back’s role in Ecuador’s equaliser: “Van Dijk is just waiting and watching him shoot. What is he looking at? He needs to be on top of him!
“He just lets him shoot! He doesn’t take the lead. He takes care of nothing in the team. He makes a sound, but he doesn’t say anything. This is what he does.”
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In his post match press conference Van Dijk, 31, came out swinging – hitting back: “I don’t think he is ever positive, so what am I supposed to do with it?
“It’s easy to talk from the studio. Me failing as a captain? What do you want me to do with that info?
“I am always upfront. I lead the team the best way possible.”
Despite the Netherlands’ underwhelming performances thus far, Van Dijk remains positive.
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He added: “There aren’t many teams who have been perfect so far. It is a tournament, many teams are just trying to grow into it.
“Hopefully before our next match we can find some form and consistency that is needed in a tournament. Every team needs time, and we are no different.”
The Dutch needed two late goals to see off Senegal and after taking a sixth-minute lead against Ecuador they just went flat.
They had only two shots, one on target, compared to Ecuador’s 14 with five of them on target.
We lost every challenge, every duel, every second ball
Louis van Gaal
Van Gaal is not one to pull any punches and his assessment of his team’s performance afterwards was even more damning than the first game when he complained about their ball possession.
He said: “We lost every challenge, every duel, every second ball.
“We were very poor in terms of ball possession and created too few chances.
“We could not pass the ball to our own players.
“If you want to become world champions, that needs to improve a lot, because the quality of the opponents we have yet to face is at a much higher level.”
That next opponent will most likely be one from USA or Iran with England taking on the runners-up from Group A likely to be either Ecuador or Senegal.
However a big win for Ecuador and Holland misfiring in front of goal even against Qatar could switch the top two around.
On the evidence of the game at the Khalifa stadium England would be better off facing the Dutch.
Ecuador impressed, not least striker Enner Valencia who scored again making it three in two games.
He finished the game on the bench with an ice pack on his knee but is expected to be okay for the final group game.
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He celebrated his goal against Holland by pretending to scribble on a note pad in response to media in Ecuador who suggested the 33-year-old, who had spells at West Ham and on loan to Everton, should not be at this World Cup.
Ecuador Coach Gustavo Alfaro said: “I told him he would be successful during this World Cup. He is going through such a good spell.”
APEnner Valencia has been on fire for Ecuador[/caption]