Virgil van Dijk makes it 2 goals in 2 as Ryan Gravenberch gets bittersweet Euros boost

Virgil van Dijk scored his second goal in as many games to warm up for Euro 2024, while Ryan Gravenberch‘s chances for the Netherlands took a bittersweet boost.

The Netherlands are not considered among the favourites to win the Euros this summer, but head into the tournament with hopes of pulling an upset.

It is perhaps a surprise that Ronald Koeman’s side are seen as behind Italy, Spain, Portugal, hosts Germany and joint-favourites England and France in the running.

Koeman’s squad is littered with top-level talent and their two warmup friendlies this month could hardly have gone better.

First came a 4-0 victory over Canada on Thursday night, with Van Dijk coming off the bench to nod home the fourth of the game in the closing stages.

Then, on Monday night, the Netherlands celebrated another 4-0 win – this time at home to Iceland.

Both Van Dijk and Cody Gakpo started the final friendly before their Group D opener against Poland, with Gravenberch relegated to the bench after starting against Canada.

They blitzed Iceland throughout, in a game that saw them dominate in terms of shots – with 22 to their visitors’ three – and, of course, goals.

Xavi Simons opened the scoring midway through the first half, before another opportunistic header from Van Dijk made it 2-0 shortly after half-time.

Netherlands' Cody Gakpo gestures. Credit: Tom Weller/dpa/Alamy Live News Credit: dpa picture alliance/Alamy Live News

Donyell Malen and Wout Weghorst sealed the victory late on, with Van Dijk playing the full 90 minutes while Gakpo, who started in his natural role on the left wing, brought off for Malen after 75.

Gravenberch was unused, finding himself on the fringes of Koeman’s squad, but could head to Germany with his chances of game time significantly increasing.

Absent from Monday’s win was Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who has since pulled out of the squad due to an ongoing ankle injury.

Meanwhile, Atalanta’s Teun Koopmeiners suffered an issue of his own during the warmup in Rotterdam, with Koeman admitting after the game that he had a “bad feeling” about it.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 21, 2024: Liverpool's Ryan Gravenberch celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 26-year-old, who has been linked with a move to Liverpool, has since been forced to withdraw from selection.

De Jong is expected to be replaced, with Ian Maatsen considered in the running for a place in the squad, but that in addition to Koopmeiners’ blow does open up an opportunity in midfield.

While he is unlikely to emerge as a starting option, it will undoubtedly boost Gravenberch’s chances of featuring for the Netherlands against the likes of Poland, France and Austria.

Poland vs. Netherlands will kick off Group D on Sunday, in a 2pm kickoff on BBC One.