The Netherlands capped their Euro 2024 preparations with a 4-0 win over Iceland at De Kuip on Monday, with Xavi Simons, Virgil van Dijk, Donyell Malen and Wout Weghorst scoring.

Ronald Koeman's side, who thrashed Canada 4-0 in their penultimate warm-up game on Thursday, were comfortable winners again six days out from their opening Group D game against Poland.

They went ahead after 23 minutes as Denzel Dumfries headed Joey Veerman's chipped pass across goal for Simons to convert, then doubled their lead four minutes into the second half.

Nathan Ake's flick-on following a corner found Van Dijk, who beat Iceland goalkeeper Hakon Valdimarsson to head the loose ball home.

Three days on from their memorable win over England at Wembley, Iceland went close to halving the arrears when Stefan Thordarson's 30-yard drive was tipped onto the post by Bart Verbruggen, but they fell further behind when Memphis Depay played Malen in to finish into the bottom-right corner after 73 minutes.

The Netherlands got a fourth in stoppage time as substitute Wout Weghorst tapped home from close range, a VAR review confirming the goal after Malen was initially flagged offside before crossing for the former Manchester United loanee.

Data Debrief: Dumfries Oranje's secret weapon

Lacking a top-class number nine, the Netherlands will likely have to share the goals around if they wish to go deep at the Euros. Fortunately for Koeman, he can call on one of Europe's very best attacking full-backs in Dumfries.

The Inter man has now been involved in 19 goals for the Netherlands overall (six goals, 13 assists), edging ahead of Daley Blind (18) for the most goal contributions by any Oranje defender. 

Inter suffered only their second defeat in Serie A this season as a first-half goal by Armand Lauriente gave relegation-threatened Sassuolo a crucial 1-0 victory.

Sassuolo have a unique hold over Simone Inzaghi's side this season, as the only team to beat Inter in the league, having secured a 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture in September.

The result was a big boost in Sassuolo's battle against relegation, as they sit second from bottom on 29 points, with only three points between them and Cagliari in 14th place.

Lauriente got the only goal of the match after 20 minutes when Josh Doig managed to wrestle the ball back from Denzel Dumfries near the corner flag and pulled it back, with Sassuolo's matchwinner on hand to slot into the net from close range.

Data Debrief: Long time coming

This was the first time Inter have lost a league match against a team in the bottom two of the standings since way back in November 2014. On that occasion, they went down 2-0 to Parma.

Lauriente, meanwhile, has scored four Serie A goals since the beginning of April, a joint-record in the period in the top-flight (level with Hakan Calhanoglu).

Inter Milan boss Simone Inzaghi has warned his side they will need to be at their best if they are to get the victory they need at Red Bull Salzburg to clinch qualification for the Champions League knock-out stages.

Inter travel to the Red Bull Arena on Wednesday second in Group D, behind Real Sociedad on goal difference, and knowing a win would ensure progression with two games to spare.

The Serie A side beat Salzburg 2-1 in the reverse fixture last month, but Inzaghi says the Austrians, who lie third in the pool, are capable of causing last season’s beaten finalists problems.

“We know the importance of tomorrow night’s match,” he said at a press conference.

“We know that we are facing opponents who have demonstrated their worth at the San Siro. Salzburg are a physical team that run a lot, with excellent players.

“We have already played here and we know how strong the enthusiasm of the fans is. We have to play an Inter match because Salzburg are a team that knows how to play these matches.

“Salzburg are a quality team, well-organised. As at the San Siro, tomorrow we will have difficulties and we should overcome them together in the best possible way.

“We will need technique and physicality. We will need the best Inter, we know the importance of the match and we will try to put on an important match.”

Inter will be without France defender Benjamin Pavard, who is facing a spell on the sidelines after dislocating his kneecap against Atalanta on Saturday.

Inzaghi said Denzel Dumfries may not be able to start the game, with Yann Aurel Bisseck an option to start at right-back.

The Inter boss said: “He (Bisseck) is working very well, he is a growing player who is showing great signs in training and in the minutes he has had available.

“Dumfries had not yet recovered fully to be able to train. I spoke about it with the doctors and physiotherapists, he is there, but it is not yet known whether he will start the match.

“I have the option of Bisseck, (Stefan) de Vrij, possibly I can put Carlos Augusto on the right.

“The possibilities are different. We could also use Darmian in that role.”

Domenico Berardi fired a stunning winner as Sassuolo hit back to halt Inter Milan’s 100 per cent start to the Serie A season with a 2-1 win at San Siro.

Italy forward Berardi crashed home a swerving shot from outside the penalty area after Nedim Bajrami’s second-half equaliser had cancelled out Denzel Dumfries’ opener for Inter.

Simone Inzaghi’s side had won all of their opening five league matches to top the table, but Sassuolo produced a second upset in the space of four days after beating Juventus 4-2 at home on Saturday.

Sassuolo made an encouraging start, enjoying an equal share of possession as neither side created a clear scoring chance in the first 30 minutes.

Inter then sparked into life when Nicolo Barella sent Dumfries sprinting down the right, with the latter’s excellent cross headed just over by Marcus Thuram.

Thuram then missed when well placed from another ball in from Dumfries before Jeremy Toljan provided Sassuolo’s best first-half chance as his fierce angled effort was well saved by Inter goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

Sommer was alert again to keep out Bajrami’s low shot before Inter broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage time.

Dumfries cut inside on the right edge of the penalty area and arrowed a low finish into the bottom corner for his second goal of the season.

Martin Erlic headed a golden chance wide for Sassuolo from Berardi’s brilliant cross, but the visitors drew level in the 54th minute.

Berardi was again the provider as his slide-rule pass on the right side of the area was hammered home by Bajrami, with Sommer furious he had allowed the ball to beat him at the near post.

It got worse for Inter soon after. Berardi was allowed to cut inside from the right on to his left foot and he unleashed a brilliant, dipping shot that nestled inside Sommer’s far post.

Inter boss Inzaghi sent on substitutes Carlos Augusto, Stefan de Vrij and Davide Frattesi soon after and the latter forced visiting goalkeeper Andrea Consigli into a low save.

Sassuolo dealt comfortably with Inter’s bid to get back on terms and Armand Lauriente sliced his chance to extend the visitors’ lead wide in the 85th minute.

Lauriente then saw a better effort that would have settled it saved by Sommer before Francesco Acerbi fired straight at Consigli and Lautaro Martinez shot narrowly wide in stoppage time.

Real Madrid have reportedly identified Napoli's Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham and Manchester City's Joao Cancelo as their three primary targets in a €300million plan.

The Spanish giants have been pursuing 19-year-old Bellingham for months, while 22-year-old Kvaratskhelia has emerged as one of world football's breakout prospects during his first Serie A season.

Cancelo's future with City is also up in the air after Pep Guardiola allowed him to be loaned to Bayern Munich, with the German club hesitant to make the move permanent.

They could be three of the biggest names to move in the upcoming transfer window, and Madrid are said to want to bring them all to LaLiga instead of resuming the chase for Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe.

TOP STORY – MADRID PLAN AMBITIOUS MOVE FOR WORLD-CLASS TRIO

According to Fichajes.net, Madrid will try to secure all three of their top targets for a combined fee in the range of €300m.

The report states they are comfortable with the asking price of Kvaratskhelia, which is said to be a minimum of €100m, while they expect Liverpool to rival them in a €150m chase for Bellingham.

Cancelo has a €70m (£61.5m) buy clause in his loan deal, which is said to be more palatable to Madrid than Bayern, as they view him as a long-term solution at right-back.

 

ROUND-UP

– Football Insider is reporting Manchester United remain keen on 26-year-old Inter defender Denzel Dumfries, and that the Italian club's financial situation could tempt them to accept a bid in the region of €50m (£44m).

– According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Inter and Milan are enamoured with 21-year-old Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun, who is among Ligue 1's top scorers this season during a loan stint with Reims.

Manchester United are concerned with the prospect of a drawn-out pursuit of Tottenham striker Harry Kane and will instead prioritise Napoli's Victor Osimhen or Juventus' Dusan Vlahovic, per ESPN.

– Journalist Ekrem Konur is reporting Atletico Madrid plan to offer Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino a two-year deal with an option for a third year.

– According to The Athletic, 31-year-old Neymar wants to finish his career at Paris Saint-Germain and has no interest in leaving.

Bernardo Silva is one step closer to getting his desired move to Barcelona after it was reported that Manchester City have named a price for their wantaway midfielder.

Silva, 28, is in his sixth season with City, but after four Premier League titles and 51 goals for the club, he recently spoke about his wish for a new challenge following multiple transfer windows with heavy interest from Barcelona.

The Portugal international, who scored against Newcastle United on Saturday, has a contract that ties him to the club until 2025, but City might be set grant his wish at the end of the season and allow him to leave – for the right price.

 

TOP STORY – CITY SET ASKING PRICE FOR BARCELONA-BOUND BERNARDO

According to Sport, City have told Silva that they will accept any incoming bid that reaches their demand of £57.5million (€65m).

Barcelona are well aware of the latest development, and are said to be doing all they can in the coming months to ensure the financial rules allow them to make the move. However, Silva's contract demands could be a stumbling block for the Spanish giants.

Reports suggest City previously rejected Barcelona's £62m (€70m) approach during the January window.

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato is reporting Inter will seek a €40m fee for defender Denzel Dumfries.

– According to The Mirror, Manchester United and Liverpool are among the Premier League teams preparing to make a run at New England Revolution goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic.

City will pursue RB Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol if they sell Paris Saint-Germain target Aymeric Laporte, per the Daily Star.

– Football Insider is reporting Arsenal, City, United and Liverpool are all showing interest in Brighton and Hove Albion's World Cup-winning midfielder Alexis Mac Allister , who the Seagulls are expected to price at £70m.

– According to Calciomercato, Milan are targeting £22m-rated (€25m) Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Liverpool midfielder Stefan Bajcetic has reportedly caught the attention of LaLiga powerhouses Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Bajcetic, 18, scored his first Premier League goal in a short substitute appearance against Aston Villa on Boxing Day, and after impressing in a pair of January FA Cup starts, he forced his way into the first team.

He has started their past four Premier League fixtures as well as Tuesday's Champions League Final rematch against Madrid, indicating a rapid rise in the eyes of Jurgen Klopp.

The Spaniard left Celta Vigo in 2020 to head to the Premier League, but his home country could soon come calling to bring him back.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL TEEN CAPTURES IMAGINATION OF EUROPE'S ELITE

According to Fichajes, both Barcelona and Madrid "have been closely following his evolution", and they believe Bajcetic possesses the qualities necessary to perform at the highest level.

Barcelona reportedly view him as "an ideal piece to form a future midfield with Pedri and Gavi", while Madrid would like him to be the successor to ageing veterans Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

His contract ties him to Anfield until 2027, but the Spanish giants could try to test his transfer value as soon as this off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Daily Mail is reporting Aston Villa will listen to offers for 30-year-old goalkeeper and World Cup hero Emiliano Martinez after the season with the hope that a significant transfer fee could fund a mini-rebuild.

– Leicester City will look to sell James Maddison at the end of the season if they can not convince him to sign a new contract, with Manchester City, Newcastle United and Tottenham named as interested parties, per Football Insider.

– According to The Telegraph, 31-year-old midfielder N'Golo Kante will sign a new contract to remain at Chelsea.

– Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting Inter will look to move on from wing-backs Denzel Dumfries and Robin Gosens at the end of the season, with Dumfries a potential piece in a swap deal for Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku.

– According to the Evening Standard, Saudi Arabian clubs – including Cristiano Ronaldo's Al Nassr – are circling 30-year-old Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha with the belief he would be open to a Middle East move for the right price.

Angel Di Maria's time in Europe may be winding down, with his Juventus contract expiring at the end of this season.

The winger, who turned 35 last week, is yet to agree an extension with the Bianconeri, sparking talk he may opt to return to his homeland.

However, the 2022 World Cup winner recently said he was "happy" in Turin, and in Europe, without committing to any direction beyond this season.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PLOT BID FOR FREE AGENT DI MARIA

Barcelona are weighing up a shock bid to land Angel Di Maria as a free agent at the end of this season, claims Tuttomercatoweb.

Di Maria has previously expressed his desire to one day join hometown club Rosario Central but, at 35, may be tempted by another stint at the top level.

Atletico Madrid are also believed to be interested in the former Real Madrid, Manchester United and Paris-Saint-Germain winger.

 

ROUND-UP

Bayern Munich will provide opposition to Paris Saint-Germain and attempt to sign Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech, claims Fichajes.

PSG are keen to bring in Manchester United starlet Alejandro Garnacho, according to Mundo Deportivo. United are trying to extend the 18-year-old Argentinian's contract, which expires in 2024.

Real Madrid are interested in Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, but Napoli will not sell him for a price lower than €100m, claims Diario AS.

Newcastle United are monitoring the status of Arsenal's Kiernan Tierney, who has fallen behind Oleksandr Zinchenko as their preferred left-back, according to Football Insider.

Arsenal are front-runners in the pursuit to sign Inter defender Denzel Dumfries, reports Tuttosport. The Gunners have moved ahead of both Chelsea and Manchester United in the race for the Dutchman's signature.

– Fichajes reports that Zinedine Zidane, Mauricio Pochettino, Diego Simeone and Luis Enrique are all on Chelsea's shortlist to replace under-pressure manager Graham Potter, although The Mirror claims owner Todd Boehly has no intention of sacking him yet.

Neymar is contracted with Paris Saint-Germain until 2025 but the French champions have reportedly transfer listed him.

The Brazilian forward is on a hefty wage, believed to be around €36 million per year.

Neymar has netted 12 goals in 19 Ligue 1 games this season, adding another five goals in nine appearances in other competitions.


TOP STORY – MEETING HELD AS CHELSEA'S NEYMAR INTEREST DEVELOPS

Le Parisien reports Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has met with PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi about a transfer for Neymar.

The report claims the meeting was held in Paris, discussing the conditions around a potential transfer in the next transfer window.

It is claimed that a fee of around €60 million (£53m) has been discussed, although Neymar's significant wages may be a stumbling block to overcome.

 

ROUND-UP

– Inter defender Denzel Dumfries is set to be the subject of off-season bids from both Arsenal and Manchester United, claims Fichajes. The Premier League duo both see an opportunity to sign the Dutchman below market value.

– Fabrizio Romano reports Barcelona have agreed to sign Mexican right-back Julian Araujo from MLS club LA Galaxy. The deal is worth €4 million, with a contract to be signed up until 2026.

– Sport Bild claims Bayern Munich are monitoring the status of Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, with consideration being put to a bid prior to the next transfer window. Arsenal are also keep tabs on Rashford's situation, according to Football Insider.

– Bild also reports Bayern are still keen on Tottenham forward Harry Kane but will not be drawn into a bidding war for his services, with Manchester United in the hunt too.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta wants the club to sign Real Sociedad's 24-year-old midfielder Martin Zubimendi, reports Sport.

Liverpool have held preliminary talks for Torino defender Perr Schuurs, claims Tuttosport.

Arsenal are reportedly weighing up a potential £75million bid for young Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Moises Caicedo.

Caicedo, 21, has been one of the breakout stars of the Premier League season, starting 18 of Brighton's 19 league fixtures to help his side up to sixth.

The talented central midfielder has already earned 28 caps for Ecuador and collected valuable experience at the Qatar World Cup, where he scored against Senegal in the group stage.

Brighton have rejected some serious bids already this month, and while they have reportedly set Caicedo's price at nine figures, Arsenal are prepared to test how much money they are willing to turn down.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL PREPARE BUMPER BID FOR BRIGHTON TALENT

According to Fichajes, Arsenal are determined to add reinforcements before the end of January, and they will see if £75m is enough to pry Caicedo away from Brighton.

Metro had previously reported Brighton would hold out for a fee in the range of £100m, having already batted away a £50m approach from Chelsea.

Fichajes believes Arsenal are willing to outspend Chelsea in the pursuit of Caicedo, which has them in the driver's seat if Brighton are willing to budge before the transfer window closes.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to the Daily Telegraph, Chelsea and Liverpool will both pursue 24-year-old Wolves midfielder Matheus Nunes, who is expected to cost £55m.

– 90min is reporting Tottenham are confident they will complete their move for 23-year-old Sporting right-back Pedro Porro in the coming days after negotiations over his release clause.

– 90min adds Sporting will target 22-year-old Brighton full-back Tariq Lamptey as Porro's replacement, although Lyon are also interested in the Seagulls defender.

– Everton have lowered their asking price for Anthony Gordon to £40m plus add-ons after their initial £60m valuation put off Newcastle United, per the Telegraph.

– Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting Inter will demand £35m (€40m) for 26-year-old right-back Denzel Dumfries, who is a target of Chelsea, Newcastle and Manchester United.

Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham will all reportedly attempt to sign Inter defender Denzel Dumfries after his stellar World Cup performances for the Netherlands.

Dumfries, 26, played in all five of his country's World Cup fixtures, highlighted by a stunning display against the United States in the last 16 where he scored one and assisted two in a 3-1 win.

The marauding right-back has played in all 15 of Inter's Serie A outings this season, making 13 starts, although he has only produced a full 90 minutes on four occasions.

Despite the Italian side rejecting all bids for Dumfries in the previous transfer window, he is said to no longer be viewed as indispensable, and could be pried away for a fee of €60million.

 

TOP STORY – PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS CIRCLE DUTCH STANDOUT DUMFRIES

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Inter are willing to accept a €60m (£53m) fee, although it remains to be seen if the amount of interest drives that price up even further.

Chelsea reportedly view Dumfries as the answer to their depth issues at right-back while Reece James battles injuries, as well as being able to play as part of a back-three.

United believe he can replace Diogo Dalot, and Tottenham feel he is a superior option to Sporting's Pedro Porro, who they had been reportedly close to securing on a €35m (£31m) deal, per the Daily Star.

 

ROUND-UP

– Spanish newspaper Nacional is reporting Man Utd have made an offer for 24-year-old RB Leipzig winger Dani Olmo, who could cost as much as €66m (£58m).

– The Evening Standard is reporting Arsenal, Chelsea and United are not willing to pay the €11m (£10m) loan fee and €283,000 (£250,000)-per-week wages being demanded by Atletico Madrid for forward Joao Felix.

– According to 90min, Manchester City will sign 19-year-old Velez Sarsfield midfielder Maximo Perrone.

– Nottingham Forest will allow 25-year-old striker Emmanuel Dennis to leave the club for a fee of £10m just five months after his arrival, per The Athletic.

– The Telegraph is reporting Liverpool will investigate a potential £44m move for 24-year-old Wolves midfielder Matheus Nunes at the end of the season.

Uncertainty about Jordan Pickford's future with Everton has piqued the interest of fellow Premier League sides including Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea.

Pickford, 28, is in his sixth season as Everton's shot stopper, having risen through the international ranks to become England's number one in the process.

He started all five of England's World Cup games to reach 50 international caps, keeping clean sheets against Senegal, Wales and the United States.

While he is reportedly happy to stay at Everton long-term, the club are reportedly continuing to drag their feet with regard to his contract extension, sending up a signal that he could be available for the right price.


TOP STORY – ELITE CLUBS CIRCLE ENGLAND'S TOP GOALKEEPER

According to the Daily Mail, Pickford agreed to a five-year contract extension before heading to Qatar for the World Cup, but the club are yet to sign off on it, with the delay coming at boardroom level.

The report states it is still more likely that the deal is finalised than not, but their hesitance has caught the eye of some top English sides who are seeking a long-term solution between the sticks.

United are looking to move on from David de Gea, as are Tottenham with Hugo Lloris, while Chelsea are also in the market following Edouard Mendy's rejection of a six-year contract, calling the proposed financials "disrespectful", per an earlier Daily Mail report.

Pickford's current contract has 18 months remaining, so if Everton do not or cannot extend him, the time to sell will be rapidly approaching.


ROUND-UP

– The Evening Standard is reporting Arsenal will return with another bid for 21-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhailo Mudryk after their £55million offer was rejected.

– According to AS, Real Madrid are planning a 2024 move for Bayern Munich left-back Alphonso Davies.

Newcastle United are interested in bringing in 31-year-old Chelsea midfielder Jorginho on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season, per the Daily Mail.

– Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting Inter will look to Bayern Munich right-back Noussair Mazraoui as the replacement for Denzel Dumfries should the Netherlands international leave the club in the near future.

Inter are also pursuing Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram, who has interest from Premier League sides Arsenal, Aston Villa and Tottenham, per 90min.

Denzel Dumfries' agent hopes the Inter defender's price tag has not increased too much as a result of his impressive performances for the Netherlands at the World Cup.

The full-back has been a key figure for Louis van Gaal's side in Qatar where the Dutch have a quarter-final tie with Argentina to look forward to on Friday.

Dumfries contributed two assists and a goal as the Netherlands defeated the United States 3-1 in the last 16, a performance that saw his stock rise even further.

Premier League heavyweights Manchester United and Chelsea have been credited with an interest in the 26-year-old, though Inter are reportedly reluctant to see him leave.

However, a report in Calciomercato stated any offer in excess of €50million may be enough to convince Inter to cash in.

Dumfries' representative, Rafaela Pimenta, was asked about the possibility of his value rising due to his efforts in Qatar by Sky Sport Italia.

She replied: "Let's hope not otherwise it will be more difficult to transfer him!"

Inter headed into Serie A's break for the World Cup fifth in the table and 11 points adrift of leaders Napoli.

Their first domestic game back is against the league leaders at San Siro on January 4.

Inter and Netherlands defender Denzel Dumfries will reportedly be available in the January transfer window for €50million, with Chelsea and Manchester United named as interested parties.

Dumfries, 26, enjoyed a breakout performance in the Netherlands' first knockout game in Qatar, contributing a goal and two assists in the 3-1 win against the United States.

It continues his strong form for his country, also boasting two goals and an assist in five UEFA Nations League fixtures this calendar year, while adding three assists from his 15 Serie A clashes this campaign.

Inter sit fifth in Serie A and the club would like to retain the services of a regular starter in his prime, but a report from Calciomercato claims any bid exceeding €50m would be an offer they cannot refuse.

 

TOP STORY - PREMIER LEAGUE TARGET DUMFRIES AVAILABLE IN JANUARY

According to Calciomercato's report, Simone Inzaghi views Dumfries as invaluable to his plans this season, but the financial aspect of a potential €50m deal would take the decision out of his hands.

Dumfries even addressed the rumours of Chelsea's interest after his man of the match performance against the Americans, saying "of course it’s a big compliment to be linked with Chelsea".

United are the other club mentioned in the report, with Erik ten Hag's search for a new right-back being well-documented since his arrival, including Dumfries' Dutch team-mate Jeremie Frimpong of Bayer Leverkusen.

 

ROUND-UP

Tottenham's interest in 22-year-old out-of-favour Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie has been reignited after starting all four of the United States' World Cup outings, per Calciomercato.

– Fichajes is reporting United's top target at goalkeeper is 29-year-old Atletico Madrid standout Jan Oblak.

– Fichajes also believes Real Madrid could make a move for 33-year-old Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta in January.

– Sky Sports Germany's Florian Plettenberg is reporting Chelsea, United, Real Madrid and Barcelona are the sides interested in 20-year-old RB Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol, who has been impressive for Croatia at the World Cup.

– Marca is reporting Barcelona believe 25-year-old Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans has already made a commitment to another club, as he is unwilling to hold any discussions about Barcelona's interest.

Netherlands players shrugged off criticism about their style of play from supporters after seeing off the United States 3-1 to reach the World Cup quarter-finals.

The Oranje have attracted flak from fans and media due to the brand of football and system used by Louis van Gaal, with their classic 'Total Football' approach and 4-3-3 formation discarded.

Van Gaal prefers to deploy a back three and puts an emphasis on making the Netherlands difficult to break down, aiming to hit teams on the counter-attack.

His system was reasonably effective against the USA at the Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday, with the Netherlands soaking up pressure and catching Gregg Berhalter's men on the break.

The Netherlands were 2-0 up at half-time, and although they came under more threatening pressure in the second half with the USA pulling one back, Denzel Dumfries – who set up the first two – capped off a strong individual performance to finish the Americans off.

Fans and media alike will still probably find reasons to criticise Van Gaal's men, but for Dumfries their performance vindicated the system.

"There's a lot of criticism because we are used to it [a certain style of play], we are good on the ball," he said. "Normally we play 4-3-3, but we play a different system [now].

"But the goals today… this is everything. I gave an assist for the other full-back, Daley Blind, and he gave an assist to me, so today we showed the quality of the system.

"In the Netherlands we are used to having the ball, playing with possession. This is a different way of playing and I also understand the criticism because we can play much better with the ball, create more chances.

"But you see when we get the ball, we have qualities on the counter, very fast strikers, and it's also a strength of ours. We have to focus now to continue to make the system work perfectly."

Nathan Ake sympathised somewhat with the Netherlands' critics, even agreeing with assessments about the Oranje perhaps failing to impress despite topping Group A.

But like Dumfries, the Manchester City defender believes the defeat of the USA showed how effective Van Gaal's system can be.

It was put to him that winning is all that matters, to which he replied: "It is, it is, but sometimes I think playing well helps getting the result.

"In the first few games we were a little lucky sometimes with how we got the goals or how we played, we could've conceded, but today I think we were much more solid defensively but also attacking wise, we created so many more chances.

"I think the first few games [the critics] were right. We didn't play our best football, but we knew from inside the camp that we got the points; played bad but got the points and qualified first.

"We knew we had to play better. I think today we showed much more [of] what we can do, play through spaces.

"Sometimes we had to defend a bit more, but we know we are very dangerous on the counter-attack and we haven't shown that in the last games. Today, we showed that."

The Netherlands will play either Argentina or Australia at Lusail on Friday in their quarter-final.

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