Let me get straight to the point: I have never been offside in a troublesome way. As a footballer, I rarely crossed over to the opponent’s half, let alone into the enemy’s penalty area. Henk de Haan always says that he passed the ball to someone who was better than himself. That wasn’t difficult. The same goes for me. Defensively, I could hold my ground. Sliding tackles, pulling shirts, giving ankle taps, and winning headers were my preferred moves. In short, I liked to block a goal. As a defender, I didn’t have much of an attacking impulse. Yes, occasionally I was sent forward during a corner kick. Without success, by the way. Nowadays, defenders are more like attackers than defenders. In the European Championship, the defensive players’ step counters are rising rapidly on the playing field where they never set foot roughly twenty years ago. It’s no wonder that Dumfries ended up in the position that led to Xavi’s goal against France being disallowed. Offside interference, or standing in the way of the goalkeeper, was indicated by the officials. Everyone could see that the keeper had no chance, even if Dumfries wasn’t there. Unfortunately, rules are rules. It was offside, according to Ronald Koeman. The coach admitted it openly afterwards. But the time it took to make that judgment bothered him. But that shouldn’t be a criterion, of course. The VAR was created to be able to adjust a decision made by the on-field referees. And they did so carefully behind the screen. Sometimes it can take a while. In that regard, a big compliment to the referee who wasn’t influenced by both captains standing right in front of him. I actually enjoy these kinds of situations, even if it turns out unfavorably for the Dutch national team. I like to keep my frustrations and disappointments in check at home on the couch in front of the TV and calmly analyze what exactly happened. My rule of thumb is: if the VAR is called in, or if the referee goes to watch the screen next to the field, you can assume that a decision will be overturned nine times out of ten. The same goes for the ‘offside interference incident’ last Friday. I understand the confusion next to me on the couch, and I then grit my teeth and watch the rest of the game. Because, of course, I hope that the Netherlands will take home the trophy just like 36 years ago. For that to happen, the football needs to improve. The fuss surrounding the disallowed goal somewhat overshadowed that. There is still work to be done for Koeman, Koeman, and the rest of the staff. My advice for Tuesday against Austria: play to win, because that’s what you need to do throughout the tournament! About the author: Henk Elderman is a sports reporter at RTV Noord.