Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Wijnaldum’s ankle-breaking goal is a flashback to Newcastle

Leave a comment

It’s easy to forget — I know I have — that Georginio Wijnaldum at his best is a dynamic offensive force.

[ MORE: Salah injury update ]

That’s not really his job in Liverpool, where Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane are among the many with more free-wheeling roles, but he showed his stuff again for the Netherlands in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat of Germany.

The soon-to-be 28-year-old has nine goals in 51 caps for the Dutch, and nine in 102 appearances with the Reds, but scored 11 in 40 for Newcastle (although four came in one match against Norwich City).

Look at this shimmy to open up the lane — basketball alert — a la Kyrie Irving.

UEFA Nations League: Germany trounced by Netherlands

AP Photo/Peter Dejong
Leave a comment

A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League…

[ MORE: Thierry Henry announced as AS Monaco manager ]

Netherlands 3-0 Germany

Germany’s disastrous 2018 continued on Saturday with a 3-0 defeat in Amsterdam, dropping Joachim Loew’s side to the bottom of League A Group 1 with just one point from its first two games.

Virgil Van Dijk opened the scoring with a header in the 30th minute, and the score remained 1-0 for nearly an hour, until Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum made it 2-0 and 3-0 in the 86th and 92nd minutes, respectively.

Germany’s 2018 record now stands at 3W-2D-5L in all competitions (1W-1D-3L in competitive fixtures). Saturday was the first time Germany lost a game — competitive or otherwise — since Oct. 17, 2007.

Ireland 0-0 Denmark

The home side, Ireland conceded 65 percent of possession to the visiting Danes, were out-shot 15-3 (3-1 on target), and completed barely 70 percent of their passes, but managed to hold on for an invaluable home point — their first in League B Group 4 play. Alas, the Boys in Green sit bottom of the group with their solitary point from two games and appear headed for relegation to League C.

Elsewhere in UEFA Nations League action

League B Group 1

Slovakia 1-2 Czech Republic — MORE

League C Group 3

Norway 1-0 Slovenia
Bulgaria 2-1 Cyprus

League D Group 1

Latvia 1-1 Kazakhstan
Georgia 3-0 Andorra

League D Group 4

Armenia 0-1 Gibraltar
Macedonia 4-1 Lichtenstein

Sunday’s UEFA Nations League schedule (all games start at 2:45 p.m. ET, unless noted)

League A Group 3

Poland vs. Italy

League B Group 2

Russia vs. Turkey — 12 p.m. ET

League C Group 1

Israel vs. Albania

League C Group 4

Romania vs. Serbia — 9 a.m. ET
Lithuania vs. Montenegro

League D Group 3

Azerbaijan vs. Malta — 12 p.m. ET
Faroe Islands vs. Kosovo — 12 p.m. ET

Man City adds center back Sandler from PEC Zwolle

Michael Steele / Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester City has turned to the Netherlands for their latest young defender.

Philippe Sandler, 21, is coming to the Etihad Stadium from PEC Zwolle, where the center back also played some center mid.

[ MORE: Garber “hopeful” Crew will stay in Columbus ]

Sandler was one of Zwolle’s best players, going 2014 minutes in 23 appearances last season. He’s made four appearances with the Netherlands’ U-20 team.

He led the club in clearances per game (4.2) and was second in interceptions (1.9). It’s no surprise that he led Zwolle in several passing categories as well.

Transfer journey over, Kluivert turns his attention to Serie A

Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images
1 Comment

Roma’s 19-year-old Justin Kluivert, son of Dutch legend Patrick, had an interesting time running his way through the transfer rumor mill from Amsterdam to Rome.

Some of it was his doing, too, as Kluivert gave a February interview mentioning Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, and Manchester United.

[ MORE: PST chats with Roma’s De Rossi ]

And here’s where we get an unlikely bit of blunt honesty regarding the gossip mill, often derided by players: Kluivert considered the rumors as compliments.

“You see your name a lot of times passing by, that clubs are looking at you,” Kluivert told ProSoccerTalk. “Sometimes it was true, sometimes it wasn’t. It means that you’re doing good, though.”

Kluivert chose Roma, of course, and he knows the courtship and price tag of $21 million will have eyes trained on his performance. He’s looking to build on a 10-goal, 5-assist season at Ajax, one that ranked the teenager higher than all but eight players on advanced stats site WhoScored.

“I thought a long time about my decision and I think this is the best for me, and I will give 100 percent for the club,” Kluivert said. “Nobody can do more than 100 percent so let’s see what it’ll be like. I want to be there for the team, and I think we can achieve great things and I want to contribute.”

Kluivert says he’s adjusting to life in Rome thanks to a pair of Dutch teammates in Kevin Strootman, who speaks fine Italian, and Rick Karsdorp, who acts as his food guide.

And it helps that his new, historic home has some in common with his previous one.

“I come from Amsterdam, a busy city, great people, and here in Rome the people, the fans give everything for their team and it was the same in Holland at Ajax,” he said. “That’s nice to have that here as well.”

Amsterdam Arena will become Johan Cruyff Arena next season

Werner Baum +++(c) dpa - Report+++
Leave a comment

Amsterdam Arena has a date for its previously announced name change to honor Dutch hero Johan Cruyff.

Ajax announced that its home stadium will be called Johan Cruyff Arena beginning with the 2018-19 season, honoring the footballer who captured the imagination of the world in the 1970s with his creative play.

Cruyff passed away in 2016 at the age of 68.

[ MORE: De Bruyne on UCL comeback bid ]

Ajax says it will unveil the stadium’s new logo on April 25 to celebrate what would have been Cruyff’s 71st birthday. Cruyff scored 368 goals in his career, spent mostly with Ajax and Barcelona but including stops in LA, Washington, Levante, and Feyenoord. He later managed Ajax, Barcelona, and Catalonia.

The club looks set to finish second in the Eredivisie this season, currently seven points back of PSV Eindhoven and five ahead of AZ Alkmaar. Ajax does play both rivals over the season’s final weeks.