Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman fumes over list of ‘mistakes’

BERLIN, Germany — Coach Ronald Koeman has slammed Netherlands‘ performance in their 3-2 defeat to Austria as “awful” and “appalling.”

The loss leaves Netherland third in Group D and while they have still qualified for the round of 16, their route in the knockout rounds has been made far more difficult.

Netherlands fell behind twice and drew level both times before Marcel Sabitzer scored a sublime winner for Austria to send them top of the group.

Koeman was particularly critical of the way his team started the match, watching Austria take the lead after just six minutes, and blasted the way they defended in conceding the second and third goals.

“I can list quite a few mistakes,” said Koeman afterwards. “We started very badly. We did not defend well. We were not aggressive, there was a lack of pressure and we lost the ball as well, particularly at the start so it was really very bad.

“The players ran a lot, but not in the positions so it was awful, very bad. We did not control the match. The match against France was reasonable as a team, but today it was appalling.”

Koeman, who has a contract until after the 2026 World Cup, also faced questions about his future in his post-match news conference. Having been completely outplayed for most of the game against Austria, the 61-year-old was asked whether he intends to carry on as coach after the tournament.

“It is not a question that should be addressed now because I don’t like to speak about these kinds of questions: what happens if,” the former Barcelona coach said. “If it happens I will try to have a response. I am responsible for this match, but we are still in the next stage and have to play much better. It is possible with this squad. They have the qualities.

“If we fail, you can ask me this question [about my future] again.”

Austria, meanwhile, have topped Group D ahead of both Netherlands and France. After losing their first game to France, they won their next two matches to set up a round-of-16 game against the runner-up in Group F — potentially Turkey or Czechia.

“We started with a 1-0 loss with an own goal against France and we knew we had to win against Poland and then to finish top of the group, that is incredible,” said Austria coach Ralf Rangnick “The probability of us winning here and France not winning, if you had a bet, you would be a very rich man or woman.

“We got rewarded for this courageous and energetic performance.”