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“Not at the expense” – Liverpool superstar explains decision not to wear ‘One Love’ armband in FIFA World Cup opener

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Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk explains the decision not to wear ‘One Love’ armband for the Netherlands vs Senegal

Speaking to Dutch outlet NOS as quoted by Liverpool Echo, Virgil van Dijk has explained his decision to not wear the ‘One Love’ captain’s armband in Netherlands’ opening game against Senegal in the World Cup.

Van Dijk, after revealing the previous day that he would wear the armband against Senegal but went back on his word after it emerged that the captains could be sanctioned with a yellow card on kick-off.

The Liverpool defender explained that it was not a risk he was willing to take to play a whole game on a yellow card especially considering the fact that he plays in central defence for his nation.

Van Dijk did claim that he would love to wear the ‘One Love’ armband but in the current situation, it was a decision that they made to not risk playing with a yellow for ninety minutes of a World Cup game.

Last night’s game against Senegal was Van Dijk’s first-ever World Cup appearance. For a player who made his Dutch debut in 2015, it has been a long time coming for the player and he finally appeared in a major tournament for his nation.

The Netherlands beat the African side 2-0 thanks to late goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klassen. It was not the best of performances from the Dutch side but it was sufficient to get their first three points on board.

Virgil van Dijk of the Netherlands and Liverpool in action against Senegal. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Virgil van Dijk of the Netherlands and Liverpool in action against Senegal. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Speaking about the armband issue, here is what Van Dijk had to say about the risk and its consequences.

“I play in a position where a yellow card is not useful. I became a football player and I want to play these kind of tournaments. There are people who say we don’t have a backbone, but that’s not how it works. We just want to play football. I would have loved to play with that band, but not at the expense of a yellow card.”

As much as the Liverpool star would have wanted to wear the armband, ultimately sense prevailed as it just wasn’t worth taking the risk to try and play such an important game with a yellow card.

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The Netherlands have made a decent start to their campaign, but they no doubt will have to improve. Van Dijk is crucial to his country’s chances in Qatar and they need him fit and available for every game. Let’s see how the Oranje army goes from here on.