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For Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk, the season is finally over after the Netherlands' defeat in the semi-finals of the 2024 European Championship.

For neutral Liverpool fans, the Dutch were perhaps the team of choice at the tournament in Germany.

With Van Dijk as captain and his Anfield teammates Cody Gakpo and Ryan Gravenberch in the squad, there was a certain “Red” atmosphere at Oranje.

After the Netherlands were held to a 1-1 draw with England until the last minute of the game, they were defeated by Ollie Watkins' last-minute winner.

After the game, Liverpool captain Van Dijk was left with a heavy pain of defeat and was left angry about what could have been.

Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Virgil van Dijk criticises European Championship referees

The Dutch got off to a particularly good start against England on Wednesday. Xavi Simons gave Van Dijk and Co. a 1-0 lead in the first eight minutes.

The turning point in the game came around ten minutes later. Although referee Felix Zwayer initially saw nothing wrong with Denzel Dumfries' block against Harry Kane in the penalty area, the video referee asked him to take another look.

After going to the monitor, Zwayer awarded a very harsh looking penalty. Kane duly converted it.

Kane praised Van Dijk before the game, but the Liverpool captain will look back on that crucial moment with dismay.

Virgil was even more furious when Zwayer mistakenly awarded a goal kick for England instead of a corner for the Netherlands as the clock ran out. The 33-year-old received a yellow card for his protest.

READ MORE: Rio Ferdinand shares whether he thinks Ronald Koeman is better than Virgil van Dijk

It was clear that the German referee would be a big topic of conversation for the Dutch after the game. And speaking to beIN SPORTS, Van Dijk admitted that he also noticed something unusual with Zwayer after the final whistle.

“I don't know what to say,” said the defender. “I don't know if I should say anything about it, but I said it to the Dutch media outside. I think it says it all when the referee went in pretty quickly after the game. I didn't have time to shake his hand.”

“But listen, it is what it is. The game is over, we lost. That is very difficult to take,” added Van Dijk. “At certain moments it is obvious that it should have gone in our favour, but that is not the case.”

“It's hard to accept. It's been a very, very long year, a tough year. We had a big dream and we felt like we could have achieved it as a team. It's tough.”

How did Virgil van Dijk play?

While Van Dijk and his teammates certainly have reason to be upset with Zwayer and his team that night, they may not have done enough to advance against England.

After comfortably leading in the first half, they were able to assert a little more control in the second half.

However, it never felt like this success was enough to push the stubborn English team out of the competition.

Van Dijk himself could not have done much more to influence this. The tall centre-back performed his duties well without ever really shining.

The Reds captain cannot be credited with any of England's goals, although if he had been too hard on himself he might have felt he could have intercepted Cole Palmer's pass to Watkins for the winning goal.

Gakpo didn't exactly have his best game while Gravenberch was on the bench. Bad luck, boys. Enjoy your rest and come back refreshed for another great season.

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