Ronald Koeman acknowledged that “the Dutch level has to rise” after their meager 3-0 victory over Gibraltar in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.
Nathan Ake scored twice while Memphis Depay was also in De Kuip’s net as Koeman took the first win of his second spell in charge, which started with a humiliating 4–0 defeat against France three days earlier.
Three of the Oranges’ goals came despite recording 50 shots and 101 touches in the opposition’s box, more than they have managed in any other game since Opta began collecting this data in August 2013.
They also recorded a wonderful expected goals of 5.04 (xG) and Koeman was frustrated by his team’s general lack of clinical advantage.
“I didn’t score enough goals today,” he told NOS. “The enemy obviously did not cooperate, but at times we were too careless.
“From the beginning we were inaccurate and we didn’t have the form to create big and good moments. Okay, there were a lot of blocks, but with more sharpness, we score a lot more often.
“The game and the result against France were not good. Now we’re winning, but it makes sense. But in general, this was too little.
“Aspects like positional play, ball circulation, choosing the right position – as a winger or as a defender – really needs to be improved. Football and the level must rise.”
50 – @OnsOranje recorded 50 shots and 101 touches in the box against Gibraltar tonight, more than any other match as Opta collects this data in full (Augustus 2013). Ineffective. pic.twitter.com/dxPbpOlwDk
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) March 27, 2023
Ake’s brace was a definite highlight for the hosts, with a defender recording more shots than any other player (nine shots, seven chances created), and only Depay has scored more in a single game in the Netherlands since Opta began collecting data.
And the Manchester City player has benefited from the fact that he and his teammates have been able to take advantage of as many opportunities as they have.
“Of course, the main goal was to win the match, in addition, we wanted to score as many goals as possible. Obviously it didn’t work,” Ake added.
“The fact that we created so many chances was good, but perhaps we should have been more relaxed in the way we tried to convert them.
“It doesn’t happen often that I score twice in the same game. But it was very crowded where our attackers were, so maybe that created a little more space for the rest of us. At some point, I even considered the possibility of a hat-trick, but it didn’t happen.”