Denzel Dumfries doubles the Netherlands’ lead over Austria
Denzel Dumfries’ EM campaign is infinitely more impressive than his Bitcoin investments.
The Dutch full-back made two man-of-the-match appearances as Frank de Boer’s side stormed Group C with three out of three wins.
Dumfries headed a dramatic winner against Ukraine and scored his second tournament win in a 2-0 win over Austria, having previously won a penalty. He also played against North Macedonia for 45 minutes before De Boer switched teams.
It was the 25-year-old’s first goals for his country and came seven years after his previous international goal – for Aruba against Guam while he was still playing amateur football.
It’s been quite a climb for a player who was overlooked as a young player but is now on the radar of clubs across Europe.
The PSV Eindhoven defender has been linked with a move to Everton but Inter Milan and Bayern Munich are now said to be among the prospects.
It prompted the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport to compare Dumfries with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin and wrote: “In the beginning nobody trusts him, but you’d better invest in it.”
“It’s a funny comparison,” laughed Dumfries when told about it at a press conference.
“[PSV team-mate] Cody Gakpo once taught me about Bitcoin. I got rid of some of them, I don’t think they’re going well at the moment.
“Sometimes you hear that Bitcoin has already reached its peak. Let’s hope it won’t go downhill for me. “
Dumfries’ career only seems to be looking up and De Boer’s faith in him is paying off as the Netherlands prepare for the Czech Republic in the round of 16 on Sunday (5:00 p.m. CEST).
“I’m very happy for him,” said former Dutch defender Mario Melchiot on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“It’s not that we only see him in one big tournament. He’s always full of energy and has a winning mentality and fighting spirit.”
A Hollywood story in the making
Denzel Dumfries has won 22 international matches for the Netherlands
Dumfries certainly does not take the praise for granted, as he did not join a professional club until he was 18 and was ridiculed for dreaming of representing Oranje.
The defender, named after Hollywood actor Denzel Washington, played in Rotterdam before joining BVV Barendrecht, one of the most famous amateur teams in the country.
Dumfries admits that he was once “clumsy” and sometimes made the wrong decisions or didn’t hit the ball cleanly, but at the age of 17 the opportunity came to play international football.
Dumfries was born in Rotterdam after his parents moved from Aruba.
Peers laughed at what they saw as misguided ambitions, but Dutch second division Sparta Rotterdam risked the rough teenager and their trust was rewarded and won promotion to the Eredivisie in their first full season at the club.
Dumfries wrote on his bedroom wall how he wanted to shape his career. That was until his sister took this room and he had to paint over it instead of writing his thoughts in a notebook.
He admits that some people thought he was “crazy” for noting his desire to play for the national team, but he moved to Heerenveen and in 2018 Dumfries moved to PSV.
He was called up by Ronald Koeman within four months and made his Dutch debut against Germany in October.
“I always had to look up, that’s where I wanted to go,” added Dumfries. “I did everything for that, step by step.
“That gave me drive and a certain amount of enthusiasm, and every time I achieved something, I always had a new goal.”
The freight train is coming …
Dumfries’ touchmap from the games against Ukraine, Austria and the first half against North Macedonia shows how much time the right full-back spent in attacking areas
Dutch football expert James Rowe told BBC Sport ahead of the tournament that De Boer’s preferred 5-3-2 formation would suit Dumfries and the marauding full-back sometimes looked more like a right-wing striker.
“The freight train has arrived again!” barked commentator Jonathan Pearce as Dumfries appeared on the edge of the six-yard box to score the Netherlands’ second goal against Austria.
“I thrive perfectly in this system,” said Dumfries. “The coach has been criticized, but given the profile of the players, he has chosen the best system.”
And he insists that these energetic demonstrations continue, adding, “There are still many areas that can be improved.
“I can take better positions, especially when we have the ball and I have to make more crosses that can also be increased.
“But I’ve definitely got off to a good start. The team too – and that’s the most important thing, I’m happy to be able to contribute. I’ve always given everything, it’s an honor to play for the Netherlands at this tournament.”