Netherlands

Getty Images

Report: Sergino Dest leaning towards Netherlands if they want him

Leave a comment

According to a report by Roger Gonzalez of CBS Sports, a person close to 18-year-old dual national full-back Sergino Dest says that he is leaning towards committing to the Netherlands over the United States and will choose to represent the Dutch national team if he feels there is room for him in the depth chart.

Dest has not officially announced a decision but Gonzalez reported a few days ago that he is nearing a decision, and reports from the Netherlands indicate that decision could come as soon as today.

Gonzalez’s latest report states that Dest will only choose to represent the United States at the senior level if he does not feel there is a chance he would be called up regularly to the Oranje.

While the Dutch side is absolutely stacked in central defense with the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij, Nathan Ake, and more, they are far more thin at the full-back position. The country’s most recent competitive match – a Euro 2020 qualifier against Belarus – featured a pair of Dest’s Ajax teammates starting with Daley Blind on the left and Joel Veltman on the right, while Crystal Palace full-back Patrick Van Aanholt and PSV breakout star Denzel Dumfries were available on the bench.

Both Veltman and Blind are extremely versatile players who could easily slide elsewhere to make room for Dest. Blind in particular can play center-back and central midfield in addition to his aptitude out wide –  in fact he hasn’t played full-back at the club level once this campaign, mostly deployed in central defense with a few appearances further up the pitch. The two have often partnered in central defense for Ajax this season.

Outside of those four first-choice full-backs, the Netherlands has just Atalanta’s Hans Hateboer and Lyon’s Kenny Tate waiting in the wings at that position. Otherwise, the slots are wide open.

Dest has proficiency on either side, but prefers the right where he has seen action in nine of Ajax’s 11 Eredivisie matches this season and has logged full 90-minute performances in all three of their Champions League group stage matches.

The teen was born in the Netherlands to an American father, leaving him with a choice to make at the national team level. Dest represented the United States at the youth level and made two appearances for the senior squad, but as both matches were friendlies, he was not cap-tied to the nation. Dest recently refused call-ups to both the United States and Netherlands in the last international break, avoiding a competitive appearance for either side wanting more time to make his decision.

Report: Dest will announce international decision this week

Photo by David Lidstrom/Getty Images
1 Comment

Ajax defender Sergino Dest is expected to make a decision on his international future this week, according to a report in Holland.

Dest turns 19 on Nov. 3 and has two caps for the United States men’s national team after a sensational career with the program’s youth club.

[ MORE: Champions League wrap ]

But he’s also eligible to represent his birth nation of the Netherlands, and is the starting right back for its most celebrated club.

The back turned down a call-up from Gregg Berhalter last month as a cap in the CONCACAF Nations League would’ve tied him to the USMNT for the rest of his life.

It’s natural to feel that Dest would be inclined to choose the Netherlands, as Ronald Koeman‘s team is firing on all cylinders and Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT has been mostly miserable against significant competition. Berhalter also played Dest at left back in both of his caps versus Mexico and Uruguay, playing Reggie Cannon at Dest’s preferred right back.

But Dest has more history with the USMNT set-up, and the Yanks could still use him at the Olympics this summer (The Netherlands have not qualified for Tokyo). They have a puncher’s chance, but the timing of the announcement seems to lean toward Koeman.

The Dutch can qualify for EURO 2020 with a draw or better against Northern Ireland, meaning Koeman could blood a number of youngsters against minnows Estonia at Ajax’s home Johan Cruyff Arena four days later.

Not to mention the report is coming out of Holland. You’d feel a whole lot better if an American outlet was reporting it, but maybe that’s just negativity following the USMNT’s recent play. The Dutch set-up has a much better history than the USMNT. There’s a lure there, and we can hope that Dest feels tied into the USMNT.

Early Euro qualifiers: Belgium, Netherlands, Russia all win

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In the early slate of Sunday’s Euro 2020 qualifiers, there were little surprises as Belgium, Russia, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Scotland all found the winner’s column.

Liverpool midfielder Giorginio Wijnaldum bagged a first-half brace, including an absolute rocket, as the Netherlands held on for a 2-1 win over Belarus. BATE Borisov midfielder Stanislav Dragun grabbed one back for Belarus soon after halftime, but the visitors held on in Minsk.

[ WATCH: Wijnaldum scores ripper for Netherlands ]

Virgil Van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt partnered in defense yet again, as they have for 17 of the last 19 Netherlands games, conceding just 17 goals in those 17 matches. Thanks in part to that stellar partnership, Jasper Cillessen had little to do, with Dragun’s headed goal the only shot on target for Belarus in the match, while the Netherlands put seven of their 21 shots on frame.

Michy Batshuayi and Thomas Meunier both found the back of the net as Belgium topped Kazakhstan 2-0 in Astana to remain perfect in qualifying action and keep pace with Russia in Group I. Batshuayi was filling in for an injured Romelu Lukaku, and he latched onto a low back-post cross from Dennis Praet for the opener 21 minutes in. Meunier’s 53rd minute poke came off an absolutely stunning long delivery from Eden Hazard to the far post placed perfectly over the head of the defender. Belgium held 66% possession throughout the match, and while they were only able to put three shots on target, they scored on two of them and held the hosts to just one. Belgium has now scored 30 goals in Euro qualification while conceding just one.

Russia also continued to surge ahead in Group I play one game back of Belgium with a 5-0 demolition of Cyprus in Nicosia. Denis Cheryshev struck nine minutes in to put Russia ahead as he pilfered the ball off the Cyprus back line. The hosts lost Standard Liege defender Konstantinos Laifis to a straight red card, and the rest was elementary. Magomed Ozdoev, Artem Dzyuba, and Aleksandr Golovin all found the back of the net before Cheryshev finished it off with his second of the game in stoppage time. Russia and Belgium have both qualified for the finals, with Russia sitting in second three points behind the perfect group leaders.

Hungary scored 10 minutes in and hung on for a 1-0 victory at home over Azerbaijan. 30-year-old Mihaly Korhut struck a long-distance ripper from well outside the box that appeared to catch goalkeeper Emil Balayev off guard, and the Hungary defense did the rest. RB Leipzig captain Willi Orban and Sporting Kansas City defender Botond Barath held Azerbaijan to just four total shots, including two on target. Meanwhile, despite splitting the possession nearly halfway, Hungary ripped off 23 shots, putting six on target.

Scotland hammered San Marino at home 6-0 behind a first-half hat-trick from Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn. In the pouring rain in Glasgow, McGinn opened the scoring 12 minutes in for his second international goal on a simple cutback and shot from Ryan Christie which clipped McGinn on its way inside the far post. He hit for a second just before the half-hour mark as he poked home a cross by Scott McTominay that was saved into no-man’s land by a diving San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Junior Simoncini. The third featured the highest degree of difficulty as a set-piece delivery into the box was headed by Stuart Findlay towards the far post and McGinn ripped it home on the doorstep under pressure. Lawrence Shankland, Findlay, and Stuart Armstrong finished off the scoreline in the second half, although Scotland has still long been eliminated from qualification in the top-heavy Group I.

WATCH: Liverpool’s Wijnaldum scores rocket on Netherlands duty

Leave a comment

Georginio Wijnaldum is given a bit more freedom from his club than his country, and loves every minute of it.

Netherlands beat Belarus 2-1 on Sunday at the Dinamo National Olympic Stadium in Minsk, and the Liverpool midfielder supplied both goals including a smashing effort from distance.

[ MORE: Neymar injured again ]

Wijnaldum, who turns 29 next month, gets a short pass and takes a touch to the middle of the park before unleashing this shot about 25 yards from goal.

He’s now scored in three of his last four EURO qualifiers, and has seven goals and three assists in his last 10 caps.

Wijnaldum now has 15 goals in 60 career caps.

The Dutch are three points ahead of Germany and Northern Ireland with 15 points, though the Germans can join them on 15 with a defeat of Estonia this afternoon.

Koeman reveals Netherlands offer to USMNT product Dest

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ronald Koeman has revealed that the Dutch Football Association have spoken to Dutch-American defender Sergino Dest about switching his allegiance to the Dutch national team.

After making his international debut last month for the USMNT, Dest, 18, turned down calls up to both the U.S. men’s national team and the Netherlands for their October games.

Dest would have been cap-tied to either nation had he played in their competitive games during the October international window.

Speaking ahead of the Netherlands EURO 2020 qualifier in Rotterdam against Northern Ireland, Koeman confirmed he and the KNVB technical director met with Dest and tried to woo him but didn’t guarantee him a spot on the national team roster.

“Nico-Jan Hoogma and I have spoken with him,” Koeman said. “We have sketched the picture about his future with the Oranje. I don’t promise anyone, but I told him that I see a future for him at the Dutch national team.”

USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter has previously said that he’s spoken with Dest about his future and that the discussions were positive.

For now, Dest is taking time to decide which nation he wants to play for. And that’s smart.

He’s played for the U.S. men’s national team at youth level and is no doubt going to be a starter for the U.S. for many years to come. A versatile player who is most comfortable at right back, Dest is a regular for Ajax and is the latest gem to develop at their academy. But after playing for the USMNT in friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay last month, was he put off by their style of play and the immense rebuild underway under Berhalter?

With Denzel Dumfries as his main competitor in the right back position, Dest may have to wait for his chance with the Dutch national team. But the Oranje are on their way up under Koeman, having reached the UEFA Nations League final and well on their way to reaching EURO 2020 with Virgil Van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong leading the charge.

This Dutch team could be very good and a force on the global stage for the next 10 years. If you’re Dest, why wouldn’t you want to be part of this?

Can you really say the same about the trajectory of the USMNT under Berhalter? Nope. The USMNT is a program which will be absolutely delighted just to make it to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and their young core is talented, but not on the same level as the Dutch youngsters Koeman has to work with.

Yes, he obviously has strong feelings about the USMNT and his allegiance at youth level has been crystal clear. But he never expected to be in this position this early in his career, as his dramatic rise at Ajax has the U.S. and the Netherlands involved in a tug-of-war for his services.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports