Ronald Koeman and Virgil van Dijk believe Xavi Simon's disallowed goal should have stood after the Netherlands' goalless draw with France on Friday.

The midfielder thought he had given his side the lead in the 69th minute after latching onto Memphis Depay's saved shot and picking out the bottom corner.

However, a lengthy VAR check saw the goal ruled out as Denzel Dumfries was judged to be blocking Mike Maignan from getting to it.

The Oranje were not happy with the decision at the time, and their ire continued into post-match, with a frustrated Koeman adamant they should have come away with all three points.

"I think the position of Dumfries is offside, that's true, but he isn't disturbing the goalkeeper and when that happens, then it's a legal goal," Koeman said.

"You need five minutes to check it because it's so difficult? I don't understand. He's not disturbing the goalkeeper. I think the goal should have stood.

"I asked the referee, and he said it was offside, but I saw the clip about the offside. And after that, I have my opinion about the legal goal, but that was in the dressing room."

A win would have ensured the Netherlands a place in the last 16 with a game to spare.

Although four points are likely to see them through, it will go down to their final match against Austria on Tuesday to decide where they finish in the table.

While Van Dijk echoed his manager's frustrations over the VAR decision, he remained optimistic about the result.

"In my opinion, Xavi Simons' goal that was disallowed was a valid goal," said Van Dijk. "But one point is a bonus, we have to be that realistic.

"We are playing against France, so I don't think it is strange that you have difficulty in some phase of the match. The fighting spirit we have shown is very positive.

"Now we are on four points, and we continue towards Tuesday against Austria. We tried to remain compact at the back and still hurt France on the counter.

"We almost succeeded a few times, but we didn't play it out well. We don't lose, and we still have everything in our own hands."

Both the Netherlands and France made winning, if not entirely convincing, starts at Euro 2024.

On Friday, they face off in a heavyweight clash that could go some way to deciding who tops Group D.

Ronald Koeman's Oranje had Wout Weghorst to thank as they fought back to beat Poland 2-1 in their opening match, and they will hope the potential absence of Kylian Mbappe gives them the upper hand in Leipzig.

Mbappe's availability is "uncertain" after he suffered a broken nose during Les Bleus' nervy 1-0 victory over Austria, with the forward set to be fitted with a protective mask ahead of a potential return.

How will the tournament favourites cope if Mbappe does miss out? Here, we delve into the Opta data to preview Friday's game.

What's expected?

Despite the question marks over Mbappe's availability, France are favourites to make it two wins from two games.

The Opta supercomputer gives them a 52.3 per cent chance of victory to the Netherlands' 24.4 per cent, with 23.3 per cent of simulations finishing level.

This will be the fourth time the teams have faced off at the Euros. France triumphed on penalties in the 1996 quarter-finals, but the Netherlands have since won two group-stage encounters, 3-2 in 2000 and 4-1 in 2008.

France have, however, won seven of their last eight matches against the Oranje in all competitions, the exception being a 2-0 defeat in the UEFA Nations League in November 2018.

If recent history is anything to go by, we should expect to get a victor. Only four of the previous 30 matches between the teams have ended in a draw, with France posting 15 victories to the Netherlands' 11.

Excluding penalty shoot-outs, the Oranje have only lost one of their last 17 major tournament matches (World Cup/Euros), going down 2-0 to Czechia at Euro 2020 (12 wins, four draws). 

They lost four successive games before this run began – all three group-stage matches at Euro 2012 and the 2010 World Cup final versus Spain.  

France, meanwhile, could win their opening two games at a European Championships for the fourth time. On each of the previous occasions on which they accomplished that feat, they went on to reach the final (1984, 2000 and 2016).

If in doubt, get Wout out

Standing at six-foot-six and still on Burnley's books after loan spells with Besiktas, Manchester United and Hoffenheim, Weghorst may not be the personification of Johan Cruyff's 'total football' ideals.

However, he has a real knack for being in the right place at the right time for his national team.

Weghorst's winner against Poland came with his first touch after coming on as an 81st-minute substitute and was his fourth goal at a major tournament (World Cup/Euros).

Three of those strikes have come as a substitute, the most goals any Oranje player has scored off the bench at tournaments.   

 

He also has seven goals in his last 11 international appearances overall, tying Cody Gakpo and Calvin Stengs as the Netherlands' leading scorers in Euro 2024 qualifying with three. 

He ranked eighth among all players for touches in the opposition box during qualifying (47), with six of those to beat him having played more than his 517 minutes.

Memphis Depay started up front against Poland and flattered to deceive, failing to hit the target with any of his four shots. While he is likely to keep his place in Koeman's lineup on Friday, expect Weghorst to be introduced earlier if Depay produces a similar display.

Didier Deschamps took some time to settle on Arsenal's William Saliba as the ideal centre-back partner for Dayot Upamecano, and the France duo may need to be prepared for an aerial bombardment. It may not be total football, but it could be effective. 

Mbappe's absence a chance for Giroud?

France, meanwhile, are facing up to the scenario they never wished to contemplate – having to cope without Mbappe.

After colliding with the shoulder of Austria defender Kevin Danso on matchday one, Mbappe is a major doubt for Friday's game. On Wednesday, the president of the France Football Federation, Philippe Diallo, said it was "too soon to know" if he will play again at this tournament.

The Netherlands will certainly be breathing a sigh of relief, having seen Mbappe score six times in five career matches against them, including his first senior international goal in August 2017. Against no other nation has Real Madrid's newest Galactico netted more often.

However, Mbappe did attempt four shots without scoring against Austria, taking his total number of shots without scoring at the Euros to 18, the most of any Frenchman since 1980.

Mbappe started centrally against Austria but often drifted out to the left flank, with Ousmane Dembele stationed wide on the right. Randal Kolo Muani could come in to play a similar role, or Olivier Giroud could provide more of a traditional focal point.

 

Giroud's 57 international goals put him top of Les Bleus' all-time scoring charts, six clear of Thierry Henry. Just eight of those have come at major tournaments (one at the 2014 World Cup, three at Euro 2016, four at the 2022 World Cup), but the former Arsenal and Chelsea man has long been a crucial foil for his more mobile team-mates. 

France have won 71.9 per cent of their games with Giroud in the starting lineup under Deschamps (64/89), compared to 57.3 per cent without him (43/75). 

The 37-year-old, who has 16 headed goals for his country, will also have been licking his lips at the sight of the Netherlands' set-piece defending against Poland, as Adam Buksa took advantage of some lax marking to head home unopposed from a corner.

The last three goals conceded by Koeman's team have now come from corners.

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

Netherlands – Cody Gakpo

Having netted the Netherlands' equaliser in their opening match, Gakpo has scored on all four of his group-stage starts at major tournaments (World Cup/Euros).

In all competitions, the Liverpool forward has six goal involvements in his last eight appearances on the international stage (four goals, two assists). 

Only Nathan Ake, with four, bettered his three chances created against Poland, while he also completed all five of his dribbles and won 15 of his total of 18 duels contested – both team-high figures.

France – Antoine Griezmann

With Mbappe likely to miss out, France need another of their attacking stars to step up. 

Since the start of Euro 2016, Griezmann has more goal involvements at major tournaments (18 – 11 goals and seven assists) than any other European player (World Cup/Euros).

Against Austria, no player on the pitch bettered Griezmann's two chances created, while he also attempted as many crosses (six) as all of his team-mates combined.

In Mbappe's absence, he could get the freedom to roam into more advanced areas. He only managed two touches in the opposition box against Austria, though his two shots were worth a game-high 0.84 expected goals (xG).

Cody Gakpo and Ronald Koeman were in agreement that the Netherlands must be more clinical in their remaining group fixtures if they are to progress to the knockout stages of Euro 2024 following their victory over Poland. 

The Liverpool forward was on target for the Oranje in the first half to cancel out Adam Buksa's opener, with Wout Weghorst then emerging from the bench to net a late winner and give Koeman's side a winning start to their campaign. 

During the encounter in Hamburg, the Dutch registered 21 shots, their most in a game at a major tournament since 2012, but only four of those were on target, while their opponents managed seven from their 12 efforts, with both ending the contest with 1.26 expected goals (xG).

Gakpo was quick to highlight his side's wastefulness in the final third, explaining the players will analyse their performance and look to improve against France in Leipzig next Friday.

"It was a tough game against a tough opponent," Gakpo said. "Obviously, they scored first, so it was more difficult, but I think we created a lot of opportunities and some good chances, but we had to be more clinical.

"We have to analyse the game and see where we could hurt them more, then we have to take that into the next one."

Koeman echoed the thoughts of the Netherlands' number 11, saying: "I felt we should have been three or 4-1 up by then but if you want to win you must score goals, so we knew we needed to change something up front."

Weghorst's late contribution saw him score the fastest goal by a Netherlands substitute at the European Championships, netting the winning goal of the game just two minutes and 18 seconds after coming off the bench.

The Burnley striker, who spent the 2023-24 season on loan with Hoffenheim, highlighted the importance of the triumph, insisting all eyes are now firmly fixed on claiming a second Euros crown. 

"It is so important to get the early win and for me personally, it's a dream scenario," the 31-year-old said. "I saw it coming and I felt the goal coming. Our aim now is to leave with the trophy."

Poland's winless run against the Netherlands continued, last beating the Dutch in 1980, but they started the encounter brightly when Buska headed home early on, becoming the fourth Poland player to score on his debut at the European Championships after Robert Lewandowski (2012), Arkadiusz Milik (2016) and Karol Linetty (2021).

The 27-year-old believes his side could have taken at least a point from the game, saying: "Of course the Netherlands were driving this match. However, we had a good few situations even after conceding the second goal, it's too bad that we are finishing this game with zero points.

"I have mixed feelings. First there was euphoria but now I'm just sad that we lost that match. We definitely played a good match against a really good team... No points in this case. However, we are not putting our guns down."

Joshua Zirkzee is reportedly drawing interest from Milan, Juventus and Manchester United, and will have the chance to further his stock after a late call-up for the Netherlands at Euro 2024.

Oranje boss Ronald Koeman has lost Frenkie de Jong and Teun Koopmeiners, as well as midfielder Marten de Roon, in the build-up to the tournament in Germany.

Koeman criticised former club Barcelona for their handling of the injured De Jong before Koopmeiners' absence was also confirmed this week in another blow for the Netherlands.

Ajax forward Brian Brobbey is another said to be struggling for fitness, forcing the Dutch to act swiftly with reinforcements.

Zirkzee's inclusion was confirmed on Wednesday as the Netherlands added the striker to their international camp ahead of their tournament opener against Poland on Sunday.

The 23-year-old does not have a single senior cap under his belt for the Netherlands, but did score seven goals in 19 caps for the Under-21 side.

Zirkzee found the net 12 times in 37 appearances for Bologna in the 2023-24 campaign as the Serie A side qualified for next season's Champions League.

That form has reportedly drawn interest from Erik ten Hag's Man Utd, Juventus – who appointed Thiago Motta as their new head coach on Wednesday – and Milan.

Ian Maatsen, who reached the Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund this year, is the other man brought in for the Netherlands to fill the void left by De Jong and Koopmeiners.

The Netherlands also face Austria and France in Group D at Euro 2024, where Germany open the tournament against Scotland on Friday.

Ronald Koeman says Frenkie de Jong and Barcelona are equally responsible for the Netherlands midfielder missing out on Euro 2024 through injury.

De Jong was ruled out of the tournament after failing to recover from an ankle injury sustained during Barca's Clasico defeat by Real Madrid on April 21.

The 27-year-old was named in the provisional Dutch squad, but it was confirmed he would play no part following their final warm-up match against Iceland on Monday.

Koeman initially criticised the Blaugrana's handling of De Jong's injury and, on Wednesday, said the issue "also depends on the player himself". 

However, the Netherlands head coach is keen to move forward, with the Oranje opening their Group D campaign against Poland on Sunday.

"There is little point in answering questions about topics that are no longer current," he told reporters in Wolfsburg. "We haven't talked about it since we got here."

"Of course, it also depends on the player himself. I have also spoken to Frenkie about this, but that remains between me and the player. I have a little more inside information, but I'm done with it now."

Borussia Dortmund's Ian Maatsen was called up in De Jong's place, though Koeman opted not to draft in a replacement for Teun Koopmeiners, who was also ruled out of Euro 2024 with a groin injury.

Explaining his reasons, the head coach said: "Ian was already in the pre-selection, he is a multi-functional player who has only been out of action for a week. All other options have been gone for three weeks, I don't know where they all are.

"Within these 25 remaining players, we can go in any direction. We play with three midfielders and we have five. And you can always move someone one spot back, or someone from the back one line forward.

"It will never be an excuse in this tournament, no matter what happens, not to have called up a 26th player."

Frenkie de Jong says he is "disappointed" after being ruled out of Euro 2024 with an ankle injury.

Following the Netherlands' 4-0 thrashing of Iceland on Monday, it was confirmed in a social media post that the midfielder would not recover in time to play in the tournament.

De Jong has not played since Barcelona's Clasico defeat to Real Madrid on April 21, though still got a place in Koeman’s final 26-man squad despite his injury.

He has emerged as a fixture in the Netherlands' midfield since making his senior international debut in 2018, earning 54 caps and scoring two goals.

Following his withdrawal, De Jong said on Instagram: "I'm sad and disappointed that I won't make it to the European Championship.

"We've been doing a lot of it the past few weeks, but my ankle needs more time, unfortunately.

"It's a dream and greatest honour to represent our country in a final tournament. Wearing the orange shirt, singing the Wilhelmus and feeling the support of the entire country.

"But now I will, like the entire orange legion, cheer for our team from the sidelines. Let's go, boys."

In his post-match press conference, Koeman hit out at Barcelona for the way they handled De Jong's injury, saying they were "left with nothing" after his former club took a risk with the player.

In a later interview on Dutch television, he admitted he knew about the withdrawal hours before kick-off and informed the rest of the squad before their game against Iceland.

"Tests have shown that he cannot yet do what he should be able to do. He gets a reaction from his ankle every time after training," Koeman said.

"Then you have to conclude that he will not be 100 per cent fit for the next three weeks. I already thought that playing against Poland [in the Group D opener] would be difficult."

The Netherlands also suffered an injury scare during the game as Teun Koopmeiners suffered a thigh injury in the warm-up, forcing him to withdraw from the starting line-up.

They face Poland in their Group D opener in Hamburg on Sunday, before taking on France and Austria in their other group matches.

Frenkie de Jong has been ruled out of Euro 2024 after failing to recover from an ankle injury.

De Jong has emerged as a fixture in the Netherlands' midfield since making his senior international debut in 2018, winning 54 caps and scoring two goals.

However, he has not played since sustaining an ankle injury during Barcelona's Clasico defeat to Real Madrid on April 21.

Oranje boss Ronald Koeman revealed De Jong had taken part in non-contact training on Sunday, but acknowledged he was unlikely to feature against Poland in their Group D opener later this week.

Koeman also said De Jong's place in the squad would be reconsidered if it looked like he would be unable to play during the group stage, and it has now been confirmed that he will miss the tournament.

In a post to X shortly after they routed Iceland 4-0 in their final pre-tournament friendly, the Netherlands said: "Frenkie de Jong won't participate at Euro 2024.

"We are with you, Frenkie."

Speaking in his post-match press conference on Monday, Koeman hit out at his former club for their handling of De Jong's injury.

"He has a history of ankle injuries," Koeman said. "Barcelona took a risk with him and now we are left with nothing."

De Jong made 30 appearances across all competitions as the Blaugrana endured a disappointing 2023-24 campaign, finishing well adrift of Madrid at the top of LaLiga and exiting the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain in the last eight.

He was likely to start in a three-man midfield at the Euros, with his absence potentially meaning Tijjani Reijnders will team up with Jerdy Schouten and Joey Veerman.

The Netherlands also saw Teun Koopmeiners suffer a thigh injury in the warm-up ahead of Monday's match, causing him to withdraw from the starting lineup.

The Oranje go to Hamburg to face Poland in their Group D opener on Sunday before facing France in a heavyweight clash and taking on Ralf Rangnick's in-form Austria team.

Frenkie de Jong has returned to non-contact training with the Netherlands as he steps up his recovery from an ankle injury, but he may not make their Euro 2024 opener against Poland. 

De Jong was included in Ronald Koeman's final 26-man squad for the Euros despite an ankle issue preventing him from featuring for Barcelona since a 3-2 loss to Real Madrid on April 21. 

He made 30 appearances across all competitions as the Blaugrana endured a disappointing 2023-24 campaign, finishing well adrift of Madrid at the top of LaLiga and exiting the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain in the last eight.

He has been a fixture in the Oranje side since making his senior international debut in 2018, and Koeman is hopeful he might play a part in Group D fixtures against France and Austria, even if he is not available for their opening game against Poland next Sunday.

"He was part of training but we kept him away from any contact," Koeman said at a press conference ahead of Monday's final warm-up game against Iceland.

"It is possible that Frenkie will not make it to the first match, but we can wait until the second or third game. That's a possibility. 

"Even if he can't play the first two games, we'll stick with him. But if it looks as if he will miss the entire group stage, I might have to rethink his selection."

In De Jong's absence, PSV's Jerdy Schouten started in midfield alongside Georginio Wijnaldum and Ryan Gravenbech as the Netherlands beat Canada 4-0 in a friendly on Thursday.

Asked about the general condition of his squad, Koeman added: "A number of the players had some rest towards the end of the season and came in fresh.

"There were also players who were not yet ready for a full 90 minutes, but we were able to train well. It is up to us to loosen the reins in time, to start the first match super fit."

Euro 2024 will be the 11th edition of the tournament to feature the Netherlands, who won their only major international trophy when the competition was last held exclusively in Germany in 1988.

Only Germany (six times) have reached at least the semi-finals of the Euros more often than the Oranje (four times) since 1988. However, they have not made the final four since 2004. 

Jesse Marsch's first game in charge of Canada ended in disappointment as the clinical Netherlands scored four second-half goals to win 4-0 on Thursday.

Both sides had good chances in a fairly even first half - Georginio Wijnaldum saw an effort cleared off the line, while Cyle Larin squandered a brilliant chance, sending it wide.

The Netherlands came out of the blocks quickly in the second half though, with Memphis Depay poking in five minutes after the restart before Jeremie Frimpong doubled their lead with a lovely curling effort.

Wout Weghorst made an instant impact off the bench as he latched onto Dayne St. Clair's spill, and fellow substitute Virgil van Dijk headed in late on to ensure an emphatic victory for the hosts.

The Netherlands' final friendly before Euro 2024 is against Iceland on Monday, while Canada travel to France for another warm-up before the start of the Copa America. 

Data Debrief: Netherlands too strong in Rotterdam

Just five players have reached 25 goal involvements under a single manager for the Netherlands since 1978, with Depay's goal today moving him to 25 under Ronald Koeman.

In the first half, Oranje managed an xG of just 0.83 from their nine shots but improved on that after the break. Canada had no answers as the Netherlands hit four, creating an xG of 2.08 from their 11 efforts, eight of which were on target.

Ronald Koeman confirmed Bart Verbruggen will be the Netherlands' first-choice goalkeeper at Euro 2024.

There had been question marks over who would keep goal for the Oranje during the forthcoming European Championship, with Verbruggen facing competition from Mark Flekken and Justin Bijlow.

But the Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper, who made 27 appearances across all competitions during his debut season with the Seagulls, has been given the nod for the Netherlands' tournament opener against Poland on June 16.

The Dutch, who will also play France and Austria in Group D, continue their preparations with a friendly against Canada on Thursday, before playing Iceland in their final warm-up match four days later.

"It had been clear to me for several weeks that Bart would become the first-choice goalkeeper," Koeman told reporters ahead of the match against the Canucks. "Mark Flekken did well in March [the last international window], but the choice was clear to me."

Verbruggen, who won the first of his five caps to date against France last October, admitted he could not contain his excitement when told the good news.

"I didn't do a little dance, but I did have a grin from ear to ear," he said. "I don’t feel any pressure, but maybe it will come later because I have never been to a major tournament. But I feel I have the confidence of my team-mates."

Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay have been included in the Netherlands' final Euro 2024 squad despite fitness concerns, with Borussia Dortmund's Ian Maatsen among those cut.

Earlier this month, coach Ronald Koeman named a 30-man preliminary squad for the Oranje's Euro 2024 campaign, which begins against Poland on June 16.

De Jong was included despite not playing for Barcelona since April 21 due to an ankle issue, while Atletico Madrid's Depay only recently returned to action following a six-week spell on the sidelines.

Both players have avoided being cut from Koeman's initial selection, with Atalanta's Marten De Roon already confirmed as missing out due to a muscle injury.

Joining De Roon in missing the tournament are Feyenoord's Quinten Timber and Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper Nick Olij.

Perhaps more surprisingly, Dortmund's Chelsea loanee Maatsen – who will face Real Madrid in the Champions League final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday – has been cut.

After taking on Poland in Hamburg, the Oranje face France in a heavyweight clash in Leipzig then round off their Group D campaign against Ralf Rangnick's Austria.

Final 26-man Netherlands squad: Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord), Mark Fleken (Brentford), Bart Verbruggen (Brighton and Hove Albion), Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Daley Blind (Girona), Stefan de Vrij (Inter), Lutsharel Geertruida (Feyenoord), Denzel Dumfries (Inter), Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich), Jeremy Frimpong (Bayer Leverkusen), Micky van de Ven (Tottenham), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Ryan Gravenberch (Liverpool), Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta), Tijjani Reijnders (Milan), Jerdy Schouten (PSV), Xavi Simons (RB Leipzig), Joey Veerman (PSV), Georginio Wijnaldum (Al-Ettifaq), Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), Brian Brobbey (Ajax), Memphis Depay (Atletico Madrid), Cody Gakpo (Liverpool), Donyell Malen (Borussia Dortmund), Wout Weghorst (Hoffenheim).

Niclas Fullkrug snatched a scrappy winner as Germany defeated the Netherlands 2-1 to complete a promising international break for Julian Nagelsmann’s side.

Having seen off France 2-0 on Saturday, the Euro 2024 hosts added another notch on their belt in Frankfurt.

They had to come from behind to take out Ronald Koeman’s men, who took a fourth-minute lead through Joey Veerman. Maximilian Mittelstadt responded with a sweetly-struck effort from a corner routine and both teams had chances to take the lead before Germany snatched the win five minutes from time.

It was far from a clean finish, substitute Fullkrug steering the ball towards the far post and marginally over the line as Bart Verbruggen scrambled to make a save rendered moot by VAR.

The visitors grabbed the lead with their first meaningful break into opposition territory, Memphis Depay spotting the chance to open the door.

He spotted Veerman’s run and picked his pass, with the PSV Eindhoven collecting the ball and slotting home carefully for his first international goal.

The early setback could have knocked the home side off course but instead they got themselves back on level terms in quick time. Mittelstadt, fresh from an encouraging debut against Les Bleus, showed no trace of reticence as he collected a short corner from Toni Kroos and bent an ambitious strike handsomely into the top corner.

Having restored parity, Germany soon looked the sharper side but when Ilkay Gundogan and Robert Andrich took the chance to pull the trigger their efforts failed to worry Verbruggen.

Netherlands’ Wout Weghorst, left, celebrates with his team-mate Joey (Peter Dejong/AP)

The Dutch absorbed plenty of pressure before going close at the other end, Mathias de Ligt glancing Daley Blind’s ball across goal as Donyell Malen failed to apply the finishing touch.

Germany had controlled most of the first half but looked vulnerable again five minutes into the second, Malen this time getting a solid connection but still unable to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Koeman’s side continued to grow, winning a handy free-kick that Blind squandered and then working Tijani Reijinders into a good position which came to nothing as he cleared the crossbar.

The game was open enough for either side to make a decisive move but chances continued to come and go. With an hour gone Depay missed from close range after a smart recovery from Malen and Mittelstadt’s hopes of adding a second were ended by Verbruggen’s near-post stop.

As the substitutes began to flow, Chris Fuhrich stood out from the crowd with a dashing run through the visiting defence and a through-ball that just escaped Kai Havertz.

Jamal Musiala and Thomas Muller kept the Netherlands pinned back with efforts on goal and Verbruggen’s resistance was finally ended when they Germans won it in scrappy fashion.

With five minutes remaining Fullkrug rose to meet Kroos’ corner, bundling the cross goalwards from 10 yards and just squeezing the ball over the line despite the goalkeeper clawing it back on the dive.

Ronald Koeman was sacked as Everton manager on this day six years ago after a poor start to the season.

The Toffees were third from bottom in the Premier League having won just two of their opening nine league games and the Dutchman paid the price.

Koeman had led the club to a seventh-placed finish the previous season in his only full campaign at Goodison Park, but a 5-2 defeat against Arsenal proved to be his final match in charge.

 

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A post shared by Ronald Koeman (@ronaldkoeman)

 

At the time of the decision, Everton had conceded 18 goals in nine games, with only Crystal Palace having a worse goal difference and with the team having collected just eight points.

A brief statement from the club read: “Chairman Bill Kenwright, the board of directors and major shareholder Farhad Moshiri would all like to express their gratitude to Ronald for the service he has given to the club over the past 16 months and for guiding the club to seventh place in last season’s Premier League campaign.”

Koeman took to social media following the announcement, saying: “I would like to place on record my thanks to the players and staff for all their work and commitment during my 16 months as Everton manager.

“I would like to thank (chairman) Bill Kenwright, (major shareholder) Farhad Moshiri and the Everton board for the opportunity to have managed a great club, and to the fans as well for their passionate support for the club.

“Naturally I am disappointed at this moment but I wish the team good luck in
the future.”

Under-23s boss David Unsworth was placed in temporary charge before Sam
Allardyce took over until the end of the season.

Koeman was appointed boss of the Netherlands in 2018 and then again earlier this year after a spell with Barcelona.

Everton appointed Ronald Koeman as manager on this day in 2016.

The former Southampton boss was installed in place of Roberto Martinez who was removed in the final week of the previous season.

The Toffees had finished a disappointing 11th after Martinez lost eight of his last 15 Premier League matches in charge.

Southampton received a reported £5million in compensation to bring the former Barcelona player, then 53, to Goodison Park from Saints, who had finished sixth and qualified for the Europa League.

Chairman Bill Kenwright said of Koeman after the parties had agreed a three-year deal: “We are really pleased to have secured the man who was our number one target from the moment we set out to appoint a new manager.”

Everton had briefly looked like breaking into the top four during Martinez’s early tenure, finishing fifth in 2013-14 and missing out on the Champions League only after falling away in the final weeks.

They failed to build on that progress during his second and third seasons, and Kenwright turned to Koeman to try and revive the team’s European ambitions.

“Everton’s history is a big one and we will try to reach what they did in the past,” said Koeman. “That is difficult but everything is possible.”

It was to prove an underwhelming appointment, however, with Koeman lasting just 16 months before being sacked with Everton 18th nine games into the 2017-18 campaign.

There has been something of a revolving door at the club since with Sam Allardyce, Marco Silva, Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez and Frank Lampard having all come and gone before Sean Dyche took over in January.

Koeman was not out of work long, landing the job as Netherlands national team manager the following February after they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. He left in 2020 to take over at Barcelona but lasted just a year at the Nou Camp.

He returned to the national team job after Louis van Gaal stood down following the 2022 World Cup.

UEFA's new star-studded football board has called for a rethink on the refereeing of handball offences in an intervention that could lead to fewer penalties and red cards.

A panel featuring Fabio Capello, Jurgen Klinsmann, Ronald Koeman, Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane made a range of recommendations after its inaugural meeting in Nyon, Switzerland.

The group also called for referees to get tougher with diving players by being "more decisive" in dealing with those who attempt to gain free-kicks or penalties through con tricks.

UEFA, which is European football's governing body, said discussions were "engaging and constructive" as the elite board considered the Laws of the Game, which are set by the International Football Association Board (IFAB).

Also attending were the likes of Rafael Benitez, Petr Cech, Philipp Lahm, Michael Laudrup, Javier Zanetti, Patrick Vieira, Gareth Southgate and Rudi Voller.

UEFA was urged by the board to clarify that handball should not be called if the ball deflects off a player's body and onto their arm or hand, especially when the ball does not go towards goal.

It was also recommended that handball following a shot at goal should not automatically be punished by a caution.

The newly formed board met at UEFA's headquarters and said the European confederation should make the case to IFAB that its rules are too clear-cut regarding red cards for handballs that prevent a goal.

In a statement, UEFA said that when it comes to such a situation, the board "feels players should be sent off only if they deliberately and intentionally touch the ball with their hand/arm" and in other circumstances a yellow card should suffice.

UEFA chief of football Zvonimir Boban said: "Having such beautiful football minds around the same table proved to be not just desirable but necessary.

"It was a true honour to be part of such an open and genuine discussion, and I am confident that we have found reasonable solutions to overcome a few stumbling blocks that negatively impact what happens on the field of play.

"It might sound like a banality, but mistakes happen, and we should not stigmatise them, influenced by the shirt we wear. The handball rule, for example, will always be disputed, but we can make it more consistent and aligned with the game's true nature."

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