Wijnaldum rues trophy that got away as Netherlands miss out on Nations League title
The Liverpool midfielder won the Champions League with his club but was left despondent after seeing his country downed by Portugal
Georginio Wijnaldum rued a missed opportunity to land another major trophy after Netherlands fell to defeat in the Nations League final.
The midfielder celebrated Champions League success with Liverpool at the start of June and was chasing a stunning double.
But a 1-0 defeat to Portugal in Porto on Sunday scuppered that hope, and the only consolation was that the future for the Oranje looks bright after years in the doldrums.
They failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and last year’s World Cup but look to be developing into a force again, with Ronald Koeman in charge.
Wijnaldum said: “I’m very disappointed of course. But I’m still proud we came back after so many difficult years. But that doesn’t make me less disappointed.
“We should have created more chances. We should be more effective in creating chances. We didn’t do that. We only had one shot on target, and that was basically the problem.”
The former Newcastle man was joined in the Dutch engine room by a fellow 28-year-old in Atalanta’s Marten de Roon.
De Roon said: “I’d happily lose this final, instead of next year during the Euros.
“It always sucks when you lose. Especially after the things we had shown over the last months. So we’re very disappointed we couldn’t show the same things as we did in the last games.”
De Roon helped his club side reach the Coppa Italia final and earn a Champions League place through a third-place finish in Serie A, and he is relieved to be finally getting a summer break.
“This season has been brilliant,” he added. “But that’s something I will look back on later, because now I’m disappointed after this lost final. We wanted to win it so badly.
“The Dutch team has shown we are developing as a young team. We’re a decent squad with much quality. If we’re in good shape, we can compete with the best countries in the world.”
That is a view shared by Barcelona-bound Frenkie de Jong, with the 22-year-old considering the Dutch to be a side that must now be taken “seriously”.
He said: “We have shown that everyone must now take us seriously.
“We have gained more experience from these finals. We still have to qualify for the European Championship final round, but we will certainly benefit from these experiences.
“As a team if you’re so close to a trophy you want to win it. We didn’t play our best match, but this is an experience we can take on board for next year’s Euros, where we hope to do better.
“We did not do enough in the build-up. I myself did not. We found too few solutions between the lines. The game against England was tough, but that should not be an excuse.
“I’d rather win the tournament with the team, but it’s always an honour to win the individual trophy so I feel honoured to have been given it.”
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