Soccer-Dutch to stay largely unchanged in push to improve

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Netherlands Training - KNVB Campus, Zeist, Netherlands - June 20, 2021 Netherlands' Wout Weghorst during training REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Netherlands coach Frank de Boer will make only two changes to his starting lineup for Monday's last Euro 2020 group game against North Macedonia in an effort to improve performance even though his side is guaranteed top spot.

As the Dutch won their first two and North Macedonia are already out, the game is a dead rubber so there was speculation De Boer may rest regulars and give fringe players a run out.

On the eve of the Group C match at the Johan Cruyff Arena, he confirmed there would be a double change but did not say who, telling a news conference the priority was improvement.

His team let a two-goal lead slip against Ukraine before sneaking victory and also looked lethargic at times in the win over Austria.

"Everything can be better. We could have done better in possession against Austria. In the front, the tuning can also be sharper. Those kind of things we can work on (against North Macedonia)," he said.


De Boer confirmed he would stay with the new 5-3-2 tactics, having successfully employed three centre backs and two wing backs to good effect in their opening two encounters.

"The system remains the same, because we've had good passages of play, but we can still improve," he said.

"We have enough time to rest after the match before our last 16 match (next Sunday) to be at full strength. Otherwise, the rest period will be very long," he said.

De Boer expressed relief that lead attacker Memphis Depay has settled his future by signing with Barcelona on Saturday.

"I think it's a relief for him too. Now it's behind us. It can sit subconsciously in your head and, who knows, this could just be the extra push he needs to excel," he said.

"We need Memphis to be achieving if we want to go far in this tournament. We have a lot of confidence in him and he in himself. He doesn't get too flustered and that's why he's such a special player for us."

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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