Holland captain Virgil Van Dijk has revealed why he consoled referee Ovidiu Hategan at the end of Monday’s 2-2 draw with Germany in Gelsenkirchen.
Following the final whistle, Van Dijk – who scored a 90th-minute equaliser that secured the Dutch a place in the Nations League Finals – was seen speaking to Hategan and putting his arms around him.
The Romanian official appeared to wipe tears from his eyes.
And Van Dijk was quoted by Voetbal International as saying: “The man broke, stood with tears in his eyes because he had just lost his mother.
“I wished him strength and said that he had refereed well. It’s a small thing, but maybe it helps him.”
On Tuesday a video of the moment was posted on Twitter by the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), accompanied by the words “Captain @VirgilvDijk; leading by example.”
The Liverpool defender’s volleyed goal came five minutes after Quincy Promes had netted Holland’s first as they sealed the point they needed to move above France and claim top spot in Group A1.
Ronald Koeman’s men, who had gone 2-0 down early on following goals from Timo Werner and Leroy Sane, will join England, Portugal and Switzerland at next summer’s finals.