Chiellini blames Netherlands star for England defeat as ‘small details make the difference’

Will Ford
Chiellini De Vrij Netherlands
Giorgio Chiellini blames Stefan de Vrij for the Netherlands' defeat to England.

Giorgio Chiellini has blamed Stefan de Vrij for the Netherlands defeat to England in the Euro 2024 as the former Italy defender insists “small details make the difference”.

Ollie Watkins scored a dramatic late winner for the Three Lions on Wednesday to book their place in the final against Spain after Harry Kane equalised from the spot following Xavi Simons’ early opener.

It was a fine strike from Watkins, who came off the bench and was assisted by fellow substitute Cole Palmer, as the Aston Villa striker made the run off De Vrij, took a touch away from the defender and shot through his legs into the far corner.

‘Small details make the difference’

But Chiellini claims De Vrij could have done more to prevent Watkins from scoring, insisting the centre-back should have “covered the space” rather than trying to win the ball.

“Small details make the difference,” Chiellini told Sky Sport Italia.

“Watkins’ move was correct, but he was directed towards the corner flag. He wasn’t dangerous. The only thing that a defender must not do [in that situation] is try to get the ball. Covering the space towards the far post allows the goalkeeper to make an easy save. You don’t need to intercept the ball because if it goes between your legs…

“It was an avoidable goal, and I am sorry because Stefan is an excellent defender, and he played so well in this tournament. However, the difference between winning and losing, lifting and not lifting a trophy, is often down to these small details.”

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‘I manifested it”

Watkins revealed after the game that he told Palmer at half time that the Chelsea playmaker would set him up for the winner.

He said:  “I’m lost for words, really. When you score there are emotions that come through your body but this is a different feeling.

“It was slow motion when I was running over to the boys and celebrating.

“I didn’t want to get off the pitch at the end because I wanted to soak it all in because it doesn’t happen very often really.

“The goal is my bread and butter, running in behind and causing defence trouble.

“I said to Cole we were both going to get on the pitch and he was going to set me up at half-time. It happened. I manifested it.

“As soon as he turned I knew to make the move. You don’t get that opportunity very often. I had to be greedy.

“I’ve seen it go in the bottom corner. I don’t think I’ve hit the ball that sweet before in such a special moment.”