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Dutch preparations for semi-final against England derailed by train cancellation

Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman watches his side against Turkey in their Euro 2024 quarter final (Matthias Schrader/AP)
Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman watches his side against Turkey in their Euro 2024 quarter final (Matthias Schrader/AP)

The Netherlands’ travel plans for their Euro 2024 semi-final against England were thrown into disarray after their train to Dortmund was cancelled.

Ronald Koeman and his side were due to travel by train from their base camp in Wolfsburg on Tuesday evening, in time for their pre-match media duties at Signal Iduna Park.

Instead, they were informed by Deutsche Bahn, who run the German rail network, that their journey had been cancelled after a technical issue on another train caused chaos on the line.

Nathan Ake of the Netherlands, left, is challenged for the ball by Ousmane Dembele of France during a Group D match
Nathan Ake of the Netherlands, left, is challenged for the ball by Ousmane Dembele of France during a Group D match (Mathias Schrader/AP)

“The Dutch team will not arrive in Dortmund until tonight, where the semi-final against England is scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) evening,” read a statement from the KNVB – the Dutch Football Association.

“Players and staff were scheduled to travel from Wolfsburg to Dortmund by train this afternoon around 4pm. This train service has been cancelled due to a blockage on the route.”

A UEFA statement confirmed: “Due to the Netherlands’ team travel to Dortmund having been disrupted, their arrival time has been significantly delayed and therefore no (matchday)-1 press conference will take place.”

Some reports claimed the squad were already gathered on the platform at the station in Wolfsburg when they were informed of the cancellation and the PA news agency understands the team changed plans and opted to fly to Dortmund instead.

England had no such problems as they had always planned to fly from near their Blankenhain base in central Germany, although manager Gareth Southgate does not anticipate the delay causing any issues for the Dutch.

“We would be calm, control what we can affect,” he said when asked how England would react to a similar problem.

“We don’t play until nine o’clock tomorrow so there is plenty of time, I’m sure they will still get dinner when they arrive. So I don’t think that will have any impact on the game.”

Koeman, who had been due to speak to the media alongside Manchester City defender Nathan Ake, said earlier that he was looking forward to facing England.

“It will be a great night on Wednesday between two big nations – a historic night,” the former Southampton and Everton boss said.

“If we play in the final, my preference is Spain because we had France in the group. But first we must prepare in the best way to play a good semi-final.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo – who is tied on three goals for the Euro 2024 golden boot – has eyes on the final.

“This has been a great tournament for us so far,” he told reporters.

The Netherlands' Cody Gakpo celebrates scoring their first goal of the game during the Euro 2024 last-16 match against Romania
The Netherlands’ Cody Gakpo celebrates scoring their first goal of the game during the Euro 2024 last-16 match against Romania (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“I feel we’ve already taken a step forward compared to the last one (2022 World Cup) and I’m happy to be part of that.

“It’s very strong. We’re in the semi-finals now and obviously that’s not the end of the tournament.

“Every team in the semi-finals just wants to reach the final. That goes for us too. So that’s our ambition.”