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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.

Ronald Koeman's tactical note
Virgil van Dijk's name has been underlined, presumably to emphasise that he should try really hard to score.

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,

Rafael van der Vaart finds Ronald Koeman's tactical note
Rafael van der Vaart was the happiest man in Gelsenkirchen when he picked up Ronald Koeman's note.

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.

Virgil van Dijk scores volley against Germany
Virgil van Dijk's venomous volley was too good for Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

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.

Netherlands celebrate Van Dijk's goal vs Germany
Netherlands booked their place to play against Portugal, England and Switzerland next summer.

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.


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