: Virgil van Dijk of the Netherlands gestures as he gives instructions during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Poland and Netherlands  [1296x729]
: Virgil van Dijk of the Netherlands gestures as he gives instructions during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Poland and Netherlands [1296x729] (Credit: Photo by Joosep Martinson - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

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Virgil van Dijk has said the Netherlands must stop Kylian Mbappé as a team rather than rely on individuals to nullify the France forward when the two teams meet in the Euro 2024 Group D later this week.

The Dutch took a significant step towards qualification for the knockout stages by beating Poland 2-1 in their tournament opener in Hamburg on Sunday. Another positive result against France will all but confirm a place in the round of 16 for Ronald Koeman's team.

But with France forward Mbappé going into the Euros having resolved his future by sealing a move to Real Madrid following the expiry of his contract at Paris Saint-Germain, Netherlands captain Van Dijk said the 25-year-old is the player that the Dutch simply have to stop.

"Look, everyone knows his qualities," Van Dijk told reporters. "We have to be at our best as a team in order to stop them [France] from scoring, but obviously he is a world class player that can make the difference in one split second.

"But we have to be ready as a team for a different kind of challenge and I think we've shown what we can do over the last couple of games.

"We have a top level defence ready to be tested on Friday. That game is now the big one.

"We struggled them in our last couple of games against them but I am looking forward to that. The focus will be on recovery and making sure that everything's ready for what a huge test that will be."

The Dutch sealed their win against Poland when substitute Wout Weghorst scored the winner just two minutes after entering the action late in the game.

With his teammates having missed a succession of clear chances, former Manchester United forward maintained his recent form for his country by netting his seventh goal in 11 games to secure the victory.

Van Dijk said that the win was a testament to Dutch patience and Weghorst's ability to make a difference from the bench.

"You just have to stay calm and patient and I think we did, obviously," he said.

"I think it's very important to keep pushing, keep the confidence in each other and I think we did. Guys who came off the bench made a difference and that's what we need.

"I don't think that there is anyone in the team that has a give-up mentality. It's about keeping going and trying to keep creating.

"Wout eventually scored and I think we got what we deserved. I'm glad for Wout obviously and for the whole team and nation that we got our first win.

"I think the main thing was that we need everyone. When he came from the bench he made a big impact with the goal but he also brings a lot of energy, he brings a different type of dimension to our game that's very needed as well.

"And yeah, you know, we need that from the bench. Let's keep going."

The Netherlands face France on June 21 in their second game of the Euro 2024 tournament.