Frenkie de Jong has to be a guaranteed feature in a discussion about the best midfielders on the planet on his day.
The Barcelona midfielder is one of the best passers in the game right now and has built a reputation for being one of the most press-resistant footballers there is.
De Jong did not do his fast-rising reputation any harm with a brilliant piece of skill during the Netherlands’ encounter with North Macedonia in the group stages of the 2020 European Championships.
Leading the group with two wins out of two, the Netherlands had already qualified to the Round of 16 and just needed to avoid defeat in order to retain their status as group leaders.
But Frank de Boer’s side were in control of their last group stage match against North Macedonia from start to finish, and de Jong was in the thick of things from the starting whistle – controlling the game from midfield, picking up the pieces from counter-attacks and connecting defence with the attack.
De Jong also led the Dutch side past the North Macedonian press very effectively throughout the outing, a particular instance of which caught the online footballing community’s eyes.
Two North Macedonian players – namely Ivan Trickovski and Enis Barshi were quick to get onto de Jong to close him down in a first half passage of play, but the 24-year-old showed an incredible technique to effortlessly execute a perfect roulette to nullify the press and progress the ball.
Trickovski and Bardhi were left visibly astonished, as de Jong’s nimble feet and positional awareness made the intense North Macedonian press look non-existent.
De Jong continued to get out of tight spaces in an effortless manner, as he helped the Netherlands cruise to a 3-0 win and progress into the Round of 16 as winners of Group C.
Goals from Memphis Depay and Gini Wijnaldum made the headlines, but it was De Jong whose unsung heroics when confronted with the North Macedonian press throughout the game, that helped the Dutch fly into the next round.