The sobriety in Wout Weghorst's words seemed strange in this place of emotional explosions that the Amsterdam Johan Cruyff Arena had become on Sunday evening.
The rousing 3-2 of the Netherlands against Ukraine was the most spectacular game of the first days of the European Championship.
Five goals had been scored, the teams and the audience had experienced astonishing dramatic twists and turns. In the stadium, they had soaked up all the magic of a football game that had long disappeared in the turmoil of the pandemic. In the end, everyone danced and celebrated together, and Weghorst could well have fallen into enthusiasm after his first goal for the national team in a competitive game. But the attacker from VfL Wolfsburg simply said about his goal to make it 2-0 in the meantime: "A goal is a goal" - so no big deal.
Apparently he didn't want to play himself too much in the foreground.
"That's my job, I have to score goals, and today the thing came at my feet so I just put it in," he said.
Weghorst had probably sensed that the fame of this evening belonged to others.
Not only because the attacker favored the equalization of the Ukrainians by inattentiveness, which interrupted the football festival for a few minutes.
But because the neuralgic zones of this part were outside of his sphere of activity.
It was the wings that the Dutch looked closely and where this game was decided.
Surprising strength over right
Especially on the right side, in the field of activity of the trained full-back Denzel Dumfries, the team developed a strength that surprised many observers. “It's good for me when I can play with a lot of speed,” said Dumfries after receiving the red star trophy for the best player in the game. "We're improving and I want to be in the opponent's areas as much as possible."
Dumfries had prepared the two goals through Giorginio Wijnaldum and Weghorst over his side and beheaded the winning goal himself. However, not every expert liked the fact that at the end of the day people were less applauding for the filigree art of football of special individual talent than for the will and force of an athlete. The big daily “De Volkskrant” commented on this festival for offensive fans with a smug analogy: “In fact: Dumfries was a kind of right-wing winger (...) It's like telling an accomplished carpenter to install the electricity while the qualified electrician stand idly by. "
So this Dutch European Championship kick-off was also a new episode in the national football debate about the beauty of the game, about systems, coaches and dogmas. For years, experts have been arguing about whether it is possible to play that beautiful football without the classic three-man storm of the Elftal, which many Dutch people seem to be even more important than the results. Traditionalists are disturbed by the fact that the full-backs Dumfries and Patrick van Aanholt under coach Frank de Boer are primarily responsible for the sacred wing game. In the days leading up to the game, some of these people had even rented a small plane that hoisted a banner through the skies of Amsterdam with a clear demand: "Frank, 4-3-3 as always".
However, De Boer consistently relies on a 3-5-2.
He is a pragmatist whose first and foremost aim is to form the most successful collective possible from the available players.
Including a decisive step forward over Louis van Gaal, who also deviated from the convention at the 2014 World Cup.
But in contrast to the world tournament in Brazil, the Dutch are offensive and attractive at this European Championship.
"We saw a team that played very balanced and very dominant," said de Boer with satisfaction.
"I've never had that before"
The brilliant football strategists Frenkie de Jong and Wijnaldum ensured order in the center and varied the pace, de Jong even had cramps in the end.
For the first time in a soccer game, as he later claimed: “I've really never had that before.
Maybe it was the tension.
Maybe it was because you wanted to give the audience something extra, ”said de Jong, who has become a key assistant at FC Barcelona in creating Lionel Messi's brilliant moments.
However, that too is part of the truth of this evening: this victory was not sovereign.
"We played well the whole game, but in ten minutes we had chances and two goals wasted," complained Wijnaldum.
The team urgently needs to learn not to give up such a head start.
With the comfortable guidance in the back, players had taken a few steps less and turned the energy level down by a few percent. The Ukrainians Andrej Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk made up the two-goal deficit within five minutes. The fact that Holland still won thanks to Dumfries' goal "showed our character", Weghorst announced with relief at the end. De Boer added: “We can be proud”, even if “further steps in development are necessary”. In any case, the foundation has been laid.