Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk gives biggest critic 'goosebumps' in massive opinion reversal

Virgil van Dijk and Stefan de Vrij defended excellently, with the latter heading home the equalizer too
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Former Dutch star Rafael van der Vaart claimed the Netherlands’ tackles at the end of the Euro 2024 semi-final win over Turkey gave him "goosebumps" in a massive reversal following months of slamming Liverpool center-back Virgil van Dijk and his fellow defenders.

Ronald Koeman's side endured a nightmare start in Berlin after Samet Akaydin nodded home from Arda Guler's terrific cross. The goal was just the reward they deserved after a bright start, with the Real Madrid youngster exceptionally whipping the ball to the back post where the defender arrived on time.

Guler’s free-kick bounced off the base of the post, and the Netherlands made Turkey pay late in the second half. The Dutch staged a quick turnaround to recover, with Inter Milan defender Stefan de Vrij heading in Memphis Depay's cross before Cody Gakpo forced an own goal with a crucial touch to put his nation in front six minutes later.

READ MORE: Gary Neville claims Cody Gakpo has proven Ruud van Nistelrooy right and Jurgen Klopp wrong
READ MORE: Fans hail Trent Alexander-Arnold as Liverpool hero blasts England into Euro 2024 semifinals

The Liverpool forward’s contact was not the cleanest, but it mattered little as the ball deflected off of Mert Muldur before finding the back of the net. Turkey still had opportunities to force extra-time late on, but the Netherlands defended terrifically.

Ultimately, a pair of heroic Dutch blocks denied Turkey. Zeki Celik saw his effort somehow blocked off of the line by Micky van de Ven before Jerdy Schouten also stopped Kerem Akturkoglu's goalbound effort, and Van der Vaart - who criticized his nation earlier in the tournament - said after the match via VI: “I saw tackles, they gave me goosebumps on my arms.”

After the Netherlands’ 3-2 loss to Austria in the group stage, Van der Vaart took aim at Virgil van Dijk and accused the Liverpool captain of a “lack of passion.” Van Dijk's lackluster post-game remarks drew immediate flak, with ex-Netherlands international Van der Vaart expressing particular discontent with his comments.

Virgil van Dijk impressed in the win over Turkey, which made Rafael van der Vaart take notice
Virgil van Dijk impressed in the win over Turkey, which made Rafael van der Vaart take notice -Credit:Getty Images

“We played the way Virgil van Dijk just talked!” the Ajax legend said. “We just had to watch a disgraceful performance! I want the captain from our country to show some passion!”

However, Van der Vaart was clearly impressed this time around. Van Dijk also enjoyed the win as the 1988 European champions advanced to the semifinals. “It is very nice and important to celebrate this with the public,” Van Dijk said via Dutch publication VI. “We need them too, especially with so many Turks in the stadium.

“I am very proud of these boys. We also started very well, in possession of the ball and possession of the opponent. Then we became more sloppy and lost balls in dangerous places. That made them more dangerous on the counter, even though we did not give away much. In the second half we had to stay calm and use the chances we got. We did that well.”

The Netherlands, known as the Oranje, will face England in the Euro 2024 semi-finals at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund on Wednesday.