One of five different scorers in the Netherlands' 5-1 victory against Russia, Luuk de Jong was quick to point out that there is room for improvement despite eight goals and six points from the Jong Oranje's opening two fixtures clinching a UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi-final place with a game to spare. Russia midfielder Ibragim Tsallagov, meanwhile, urged his eliminated side to finish the group on a high against Germany on Wednesday.
Luuk de Jong, Netherlands forward
I think you need to make the opponents scared. We've played two good games now. We also want to show against Spain next game what we are capable of. You can also see players who come in, they can score goals. It's always good for a team when you have players like that on the bench as well.
It was really positive, but we also need to look at the negative things we did in this game. It wasn't all good. We lost the ball at times – when we had possession we lost it – and we have to do this better. Of course we won 5-1 but it was easier for us after the red card as we could keep possession.
Marco van Ginkel, Netherlands midfielder
It was a good game. Sometimes we didn't play well in the first half, but the second half was good for us.
I [play] a little bit in front of the defenders. I play the balls to the strikers and today I got one assist – it was a good goal from Luuk de Jong. I had to [mark Alan] Dzagoev today – he's one of the best players from Russia and I felt that if I stopped him, Russia would not be so good.
We have played two games with this formation now. The next game is against Spain, a big team, so we will see.
Ibragim Tsallagov, Russia midfielder
In the first half, our opponents were better with the ball but both teams created the same number of chances. The Netherlands controlled the ball better, while we tried to attack using fast counterattacks. They had two opportunities and scored once with the help of a deflection. We couldn't score.
Everything was fine with our attitude. Nikolai Pisarev told us at half-time that we had nothing to lose and that we should pull out all the stops. That is what we tried to do.
Germany are a very resolute team as they were losing 2-0 to the Netherlands but came back into the game. In the second half they were even better than the Dutch, so again they won't be easy opponents. But we will fight – we have one match left and it is necessary to go out with a bang.
Maksim Belyaev, Russia defender
Against Spain we didn't have any good chances, but against the Netherlands we were able to attack and we created enough chances to score. While Spain tried to get the ball back immediately after losing it, using three or four players, the Dutch didn't do that.
I think we deserved to draw.
If you look at the first half, then we were equal to our opponents. We had enough chances to score. The final result doesn't reflect the situation on the pitch before [the red card]. If any old man opens the newspaper and sees the 5-1 scoreline, he will think that we have no hope with these youngsters. He shouldn't think like that because we looked like a proper team.
[Nikolai Pisarev told us] that we are real men fighting until the end. Of course it is a great pity that everything ended the way it did and that we lost by such a big scoreline. He said that we are still young and that we will have these kind of disappointing moments in our career. But he'd really appreciate it if they could be as rare as possible!
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