Van Dijk consoles grieving ref with 'tears in his eyes'

Van Dijk consoles grieving ref with 'tears in his eyes'

Having salvaged a draw for the Netherlands with a last-minute equaliser against Germany on Monday evening - ensuring his side's progression to the semi-finals of the Uefa Nations League in the process - Virgil van Dijk was already the man of the moment for the Oranje.

The dramatic draw meant that the Netherlands bagged top spot in Group A1, at the expense of world champions France, as they joined Portugal, England, and Switzerland in the inaugural Nations League finals, which takes place in Portugal next summer.

The final whistle prompted enthusiastic celebrations for the Netherlands players but Van Dijk instead sought out referee Ovidiu Hategan - the Romanian official who was in tears following the recent passing of his mother.

Virgil van Dijk provided the decisive goal, but only after the Liverpool defender was sent up front by Dutch coach Ronald Koeman in a desperate attempt to snatch parity from the jaws of defeat.

They looked to have blown their chance after goals from Timo Werner and Leroy Sane put the hosts two-nil up.

Van Dijk told Voetbal International: "The man broke down with tears in his eyes because he had just lost his mother".

"I told him to stay strong and that he had refereed well".

'When we were 2-0 down they asked me if we should change things around and I said yes.

"I got a note from Dwight Lodeweges and Kees van Wonderen", Koeman said. So I gave it to Kenny [Tete].

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