Dutch players cut short postseason vacations to answer emergency call at Euro 2024

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — One of the players was on a boat on a Greek island. The other was in Disney World in Florida.

Yet neither Ian Maatsen nor Joshua Zirkzee had any hesitation answering the emergency call from the Netherlands at the European Championship.

“It’s a childhood dream to be here — it’s definitely worth the return trip,” said Maatsen, the left back who was on vacation in Mykonos with his girlfriend when he was summoned by Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman to replace Frenkie de Jong.

“I suddenly received a call,” he added on Thursday. “And I just had to pack my stuff as quickly as possible and come.”

Maatsen was on loan at Borussia Dortmund from Chelsea in the recently completed season and helped the German club reach the Champions League final, where it lost to Real Madrid on June 1.

He was named in UEFA’s Champions League team of the season and will give Koeman an extra option on the left flank, where he is set to challenge Daley Blind for a starting spot.

“I did enjoy my holiday and processed everything well, including the disappointment of the Champions League final,” he said.

As for Zirkzee, he cut short his postseason vacation in Florida to head to the Netherlands’ base in Wolfsburg after another striker in the squad, Brian Brobbey, hurt a hamstring in training.

After hearing of his call-up, Bologna forward Zirkzee posted a photo of himself smiling broadly on Instagram with the text: “When you get the call to leave Disney for the Euros.”

Zirkzee has never played an international for the Netherlands’ senior team. He joined the Bayern Munich youth academy and played a handful of games for the German powerhouse before moving on loan to Parma then Anderlecht before signing for Bologna in 2022.

The Netherlands opens its Euro 2024 campaign on Sunday against Poland in Hamburg.


AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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