Hat-trick hero Wijnaldum 'so happy', says Netherlands boss Koeman

By Sports Desk November 19, 2019

Ronald Koeman said Georginio Wijnaldum feels "so happy with this Dutch team" after his Netherlands side beat Estonia 5-0 without any signs of the racism that blighted a league game in the country two days earlier.

Excelsior winger Ahmad Mendes Moreira was subjected to alleged racist chanting during last week's 3-3 draw against Den Bosch in Eerste Divisie, prompting Wijnaldum to speak out about the problem of racism in football ahead of the final Netherlands Euro 2020 qualifying match at Johan Cruijff ArenA.

Wijnaldum went on to be the game's star player, netting the opening goal and going on to score two more, while Nathan Ake and Myron Boadu also got on the score sheet in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

Netherlands head coach Koeman revealed Wijnaldum was in high spirits after the match, and not just because of his goals.

"Gini just said something about it in the dressing room during our closing words with each other," Koeman told Dutch broadcaster NOS.

"He said he feels so happy with this Dutch team, where this problem does not occur.

"It is one team. It's nice to see that again."

Koeman made seven changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Northern Ireland three days earlier but still saw his players deliver a cohesive, confident performance.

While the likes of Ake, Wijnaldum, Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt were outstanding against Estonia, Koeman said he will utilise friendly matches in March to finalise his squad selections for Euro 2020.

"It would be very strange if everything was clear against Estonia in one evening," said Koeman. "We still have six months.

"We have a lot of young players who will be half a year later. It will be a fight. strong possible selection.

"You use March for points of discussion within the selection. I will therefore let many players play.

"We then play two international matches and have consciously opted for Thursday and Sunday. We will not play with the same team twice."

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