Dutch football fans back Belgium, Germany and Morocco for the World Cup

Most Dutch football fans will be supporting Belgium at the World Cup in Russia which kicks off today, according to a poll of 18,000 people for broadcaster NOS and regional tv companies. The Netherlands failed to qualify for the championships after a disastrous campaign. Some 30% of people who took part in the poll back Belgium, 18% Germany and 4% Morocco – which has several dual Dutch national players in its ranks. A further 16.5% said they would not be supporting anyone. England and Iceland complete the line up of the five most popular teams. However, there are wide regional differences. In the south of the country, support for Belgium soars to between 70% and 80% among fans of local clubs Willem II, NAC Breda, PSV Eindhoven and MVV Maastricht. FV Emmen, VVV Venlo and Roda JC fans are more likely to back Germany The Moroccan team has most supporters among fans of ADO Den Haag and FC Utrecht – about 14%. Morocco starts its World Cup campaign on Friday afternoon against Iran. Germany will meet Mexico on Sunday and Belgium takes on Panama on Monday.  More >

Koeman: 'Oranje is on the right path'

A frustrated Ronald Koeman said the Dutch national team was 'on the right path' despite going down 2-1 to France in their opening UEFA Nations League match. Ryan Babel's 65th-minute equaliser in the Stade de France briefly gave the Dutch hope and Memphis Depay came close minutes later before Olivier Giroud's volley on 75 minutes claimed all three points for the World Cup winners. Koeman told NOS he was particularly aggrieved by poor defending for the winning goal. 'I'm really angry about that,' he said. 'We lost because of our own mistakes. The most painful was the second goal. We should have covered the striker and blocked the shot.' The coach said his team had shown France too much respect in the first half, when Kylian Mbappe put the hosts ahead. 'But when we decide to play football, we can do it. We saw that in the second half.' He added: 'We're on the right path and at times we showed that today. We've got the colour back in our cheeks. But there are things we need to improve so we can compete at the highest level.' The Netherlands' next Nations League match is at home to Germany on October 13.  More >

Wesley Sneijder bows out of Oranje

Wesley Schneider formally bowed out as an Oranje international with a 2-1 win in a friendly against Peru on Thursday evening. Memphis Depay scored both Dutch goals. Sneijder announced his retirement in March after an international career spanning 15 years and a record 133 caps but was given last night's game to say farewell to fans. The 34-year-old, who currently plays for Al Gharafa in Qatar, took to the pitch wearing the captain's armband and was substituted after 100 minutes. 'It’s over, it’s done. My last match ... in the orange shirt,' Sneijder said after the game. 'Everything comes to an end.' Oranje captain Virgil van Dijk said in a post match press conference that Sneijder will be sorely missed, due to his personality as much as his qualities as a player. Vaarwel, @sneijder101010!#NEDPER #WES134 pic.twitter.com/eAnxLTmNye — OnsOranje (@OnsOranje) September 6, 2018 'He was incredibly important for the atmosphere,' Van Dijk told reporters after the game. 'He pepped people up if they needed it. Now other lads will have to take over... He is a great player with a fantastic career behind him. It is an honour to have played with him. Sneijder made his debut for Oranje in a friendly match against Portugal in April 2003, less than two months after breaking into Ajax’s first team as an 18-year-old. His real breakthrough came in November that year when he masterminded a 6-0 win against Scotland in the second leg of the play-offs for Euro 2004, after the Netherlands had lost the first leg 1-0. Sneijder was the linchpin of the team that reached the 2010 World Cup final, scoring five goals from midfield to become the tournament’s joint top scorer. Four years later he won his 100th international cap as the Dutch shocked world champions Spain in their opening World Cup match, winning 5-1 on their way to the semi-finals. As an Ajax player Sneijder won the league title in his debut season and the KNVB Cup twice before being sold for €27 million to Real Madrid in 2007. Two years later he joined Inter Milan, where he was instrumental in winning the treble of league, cup and Champions League in the 2009-10 season. He later spent five years at Turkish club Galatasaray before buying himself out of his contract in July last year and moving to Qatar.  More >

Dutch women lose to Norway in key game

The Dutch women's football team has failed to qualify outright for the next women's World Cup after losing their final group match 2-1 to Norway. A draw would have been enough for victory in Group 3. Norway scored two goals in the opening seven minutes, with Vivianne Miedema scoring for the Netherlands just before half time. The European title holders will now join Switzerland, Belgium and Denmark in the playoffs for a place at the tournament in France next year. Only one of the four teams will qualify. 'I'm speechless, this was so bad,' Lieke Martens told reporters after the game. 'We failed today as a collective, because that should not have happened. We knew Norway would pile on the pressure but we did not get them under control.'   More >

Ziyech signs new terms to stay at Ajax

Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech has capped an impressive start to the season by signing a new contract with the club. The 25-year-old Dutch-born Morocco international has agreed improved terms including a substantial pay rise, according to a club spokesman, after a deal to join AS Roma in the summer fell through. The contract term has not been extended beyond the previous date of 2021. Ziyech scored the opening goal in Saturday's 4-0 away win at Vitesse Arnhem and has four goals in all competitions this season. Coach Erik ten Hag has admitted that he expected the midfielder to leave after he said back in April that he wanted to move on in his career. 'He's a jewel for Dutch football. We didn't think he'd still be here. I'm happy about it and so is he,' he told NOS Studio Voetbal. Veteran Danish midfielder Lasse Schöne said at the weekend that the current team was among the best Ajax teams he had ever played with. The 32-year-old, who has been with the club since 2012, said: 'In my first years at the club we had a great team. We were champions and capable of big things in the Champions League. But this team comes very close.' Ajax are currently second in the Eredivisie with 10 points from four league games, behind champions PSV. Ajax last won the Eredivisie title in the 2013/14 season.  More >

Dutch clubs draw tricky CL teams

PSV Eindhoven has been drawn in one of the toughest groups in this year's champions league competition, football pundits said on Thursday evening. The Dutch league champions face Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspure and Internazionale in group B. 'It is a very tough draw but they will be fantastic matches for the fans,' said NOS football commentator Arno Vermeulen. Ajax has drawn Bayern Munich, Benfica and AEK Athene in group E. Bayern's current line-up includes former Ajax player Arjen Robben. 'Bayern has a really strong team and the fact that Robben will be playing again in the Johan Cruijff arena is great,' Ajax trainer Erik ten Hag said after the draw. 'Our target is to stay in the competition over the winter,' Ten Hag said. The last time Ajax were in the top three of their Champions League group was in 2006. 'It is clear that Bayern Munich is the favourite,' said club director Edwin van der Sar. 'We are fighting for second place alongside Benfica and AEK Athene.' The match schedule  More >

PSV qualifies for Champions League

PSV Eindhoven qualified for the group stage of this year's Champions League with a 3-0 home win against BATE Borisov of Belarus, having won the away leg 3-2. On Tuesday night, Ajax sealed its place in the group stage with a goalless draw away against Dynamo Kyiv. It is the first time since 2010 that two Dutch clubs will take part in the prestige competition. The draw takes place later on Thursday.   More >

Ajax take one step into Champions League

Amsterdam football club Ajax beat Ukraine side Dynamo Kyiv 3-1 in front of a packed stadium on Wednesday night, in the next stage of their campaign to take part in this year's Champions League competition. Ajax, runner-up in last season's Eredivisie, will take on the Ukranian side away next week to qualify for the Champions League group stage. Ajax has not qualified for the prestige competition since 2010. Danny van de Beek opened the scoring for Ajax just two minutes into the match. After Dynamo equalised, Hakim Ziyech put Ajax ahead again in the 35th and Dusan Tadic made it 3-1 with just two minutes of the first half to go. Watch the highlights on the Ajax website.   More >