PARIS (Reuters) - Tiny Gibraltar could be in for a backlash when they travel to Rotterdam on Monday to face the Netherlands, who were humiliated in France on Friday at the start of their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.
Coach Ronald Koeman says he is looking for a reaction from his players in their next qualifier after the one-sided 4-0 trashing handed to his team at the Stade de France in their opening Group B match.
The Dutch, missing five players after the squad was ravaged by a viral infection, got off to a woeful start as Les Bleus broke the deadlock after two minutes, and were 3-0 down by 22 minutes in their worst start to a match since 1919.
The Dutch next meet Gibraltar in Rotterdam on Monday where they would be expected to win, but where Koeman now seeks more from his players.
“I now expect a reaction on Monday. The players also know where we went wrong. I think this can only work out positively, that everyone knows where we stand,” he said.
On Friday’s match in Paris, Koeman added: “I expected more from everyone. This was a team effort that was below average and then against a very good opponent.
“The difference between the two sides was too big and I didn't expect it. The virus has left its mark, but I don't want to use that as an excuse. We have failed ourselves. We have to learn from this.”
It was the first game back in charge for Koeman in his second spell as Dutch coach, having replaced Louis van Gaal at the turn of the year.
The Dutch now wait to see whether five players sent away from their squad on Thursday after contracting flu might recover to play against Gibraltar, among them Liverpool striker Cody Gakpo.
Gibraltar have lost their last seven competitive away games, conceding 33 goals in the process. They kicked off their Group B campaign with a 3-0 home loss to Greece on Friday.
Gibraltar were in the same World Cup qualifying group with the Netherlands for the 2022 finals in Qatar, losing 7-0 at home and 6-0 in Rotterdam.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Frances Kerry)