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Virgil van Dijk was seen consoling the referee after his dramatic equaliser..

Virgil van Dijk reveals the touching reason he embraced the referee after 2-2 v Germany

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It's difficult not to love Virgil van Dijk right now - especially if you're Dutch.

The Netherlands have been on a roll ever since the Liverpool defender became captain of his national team with Van Dijk playing a big part.

Back-to-back wins and clean sheets in the UEFA Nations League against Germany and France had left the Dutch in a great position in their group and set up a thrilling match against the former away in Gelsenkirchen.

Germany had already been relegated but the Netherlands knew that a draw was enough to secure passage into the semi-finals next summer.

But Germany were not going to lie down for their great rivals and Timo Werner & Leroy Sane fired them into a 17-minute 2-0 lead that they held until the final five.

Sevilla's Qunicy Promes then pulled one back for Ronald Koeman's side before Van Dijk emphatically volleyed home the precious equaliser in the 90th minute.

Thanks to that goal, Van Dijk now has a real chance of being the first Dutch captain to lift a trophy since Ruud Gullit in 1988 - a surefire way to forever endear him to his country's supporters.

And with all eyes on Van Dijk after the game, he could be seen embracing the referee, Ovidiu Hategan.

As that's not the usual way to celebrate a historic result, many wondered exactly why the match winner had done so.

Virgial van Dijk scored the goal to send the Dutch to the Nations League semi-finals.

Fortunately, Van Dijk revealed the reason in a post-match interview - and it's a very touching one.

"That man broke down, stood with tears in his eyes because he had just lost his mother," he said. "I wished him strength and said that he had done well.

"It's a small thing, but maybe it helps him."

It says a lot about the man that he took time out from his celebrations to console Hategan after the loss of his mother.

Van Dijk's gesture follows on from a similarly brilliant one against France when he gave his jacket to his mascot.

The little girl, who has a muscle disease, initially tried to brave the cold according to her mother.

“Virgil saw in the player tunnel that Fieke was cold," she said. "He asked if she wanted his jacket, but she said it was not necessary.

"When they were standing on the field, he kept her warm and decided to put his jacket around her. Really very sweet.”

One thing is for sure: with everyone he's done over the last few days, the Dutch certainly have a captain they can be very proud of.

Topics:
Football
Timo Werner
Leroy Sane
Virgil van Dijk
Ronald Koeman
Germany Football
Premier League

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