Netherlands hit train snag en route to semifinal

The Netherlands had their travel to Dortmund on Tuesday for the European Championship semifinal against England disrupted and were forced to abandon their plans to travel by train, the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) said.

Instead, they had to fly to Dortmund from their base in Wolfsburg, arriving at their hotel at 21h35, some four hours later than planned.

“The train service was cancelled due to a blockage on the route,” the KNVB said.

They planned to travel at 1600 local time but then had to change plans and take a plane to Dortmund, where they are staying overnight before the game on Wednesday.

It meant the pre-match press conference with coach Ronald Koeman was cancelled, but the Dutch boss shrugged of the delay and said his team was well rested and ready to face England.

“It was not a problem, we had a good rest this afternoon, we were on the plane for just 30 minutes, arrived at our hotel and we can have a good rest tonight,” Koeman said in an interview with UEFA.

As for the clash against England, Koeman sounded a confident note.

“We know that there is really not much difference between the two teams, it’s really 50-50 in my opinion,” he said of the clash at the BVB Stadium. “But we will need the perfect game to win.

“We know they have a lot of individual qualities, but both teams are really strong and it will be a good fight.”

The Dutch had not planned a training session at the stadium, having completed their preparations in Wolfsburg earlier on Tuesday.

Teams are entitled to a training session at the venue on the eve of the match, but do not always take up the option.

England’s manager Gareth Southgate said he did not expect it would affect their opponents.

“I don’t see that having any impact on the game. We don’t play till nine o’clock tomorrow, so there’s plenty of time. I’m sure they’ll still get their dinner.”

The Dutch had previously travelled by train to their group stage match against Austria in Berlin.

The rail system in Germany, usually held up as model of efficiency, has been criticised during the Euros for delays.

When the Dutch went to Berlin by train they were forced to take a flight back to Wolfsburg because of a limited service.

Information from ESPN’s James Olley was included in this report.

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