Soccer Football - FA Cup Third Round - Liverpool vs Everton - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - January 5, 2018 Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk celebrates at the end of the match Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
AMSTERDAM, March 23 (Reuters) - The Netherlands will not be lulled into a false sense of security when they face a struggling, new-look Germany in their Euro 2020 qualifier in Amsterdam on Sunday, captain Virgil van Dijk has said.
The Dutch beat the Germans 3-0 at home last October and came from behind with two late goals to force a 2-2 draw away in Gelsenkirchen one month later to win a place in the Nations League finals.
The contrast in form continued this week when Van Dijk was among the scorers as the Netherlands beat Belarus 4-0 in Rotterdam on Thursday in their opening Group C qualifier, a day after Germany proved unconvincing in a 1-1 draw at home to Serbia in a warm-up international.
"It does look like the Germans are still in a building phase but don't forget that the Dutch side is also going through the same process," Van Dijk said on the eve of the game at the Amsterdam Arena.
"The Germans still have fantastic players even if they might be talking over there (in Germany) about a crisis. We also had a spell like that, where things did not go for us," added Van Dijk, referring to his team's failure to reach the 2016 European Championship in France and last year's World Cup in Russia.
"That was not a good phase. But we must worry about ourselves and not Germany. I don't think we are favourites but that is up to you members of the media to decide."
The Dutch are, however, in confident mood after Thursday's comfortable victory.
"At times we played really good football but it can, and it must be, a lot better on Sunday," said Van Dijk. "There were times where we did not put enough pressure on them and were sloppy and lost the ball.
"Against Germany we can expect a completely different game and we all realise that. We know what we are capable of."