INTERVIEW: “2-1 to the Netherlands but neither of us are going to beat Spain in the final" - Gian Van Veen previews Euro 2024 semi-final and potential World Matchplay impact

The 2024 World Matchplay will see the Blackpool debut of Dutch darting prodigy, Gian Van Veen. Given the massive football match happening tonight at Euro 2024 however, the proud Dutchman will pause his Matchplay preparations for a moment, keeping a close eye on Dortmund.

Already getting in the mood and wearing a Dutch away kit, Van Veen spoke exclusively to Dartsnews.com, to give us his thoughts ahead of a massive night for football both in the Netherlands and England. “I’m really looking forward for tonight and hopefully, well hopefully for me at least, Holland win tonight,” the 22-year-old says with a smile. “But yeah, we will see.”

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The truth is though, that the winner of tonight’s titanic tussle at the Signal Iduna Park could have big ramifications for the World Matchplay itself this weekend. “I’m playing first game (On Sunday night ed.). Kick off for the final is one hour after first game starts so if Holland gets in the final I’ll get to watch the final,” Van Veen says, considering the effects of a Dutch win over the English. “There’ll be no time for interviews, I need to go and watch the football,” he laughs.

If Gareth Southgate manages to mastermind another trip to a Euros final for the English however, the whole Sunday evening session at the World Matchplay will be brought forward, in order to not clash with the final. Given Van Veen is set to take on Rob Cross in the opening match of the evening session, this could see his tie move from 7 in the evening to 4 in the afternoon instead. When asked if this could change the preparations for him at all however, Van Veen played down any potential affects. “Nah, it will be the same just all a couple of hours earlier,” he explains. “It’s Wednesday now and I’ll probably know what time I’ll play tomorrow so there’s plenty of time.”

Whilst his upcoming World Matchplay debut has understandably been a big priority of late for Van Veen, the Dutchman has been keeping a very close eye on developments at the Euros over the last few weeks. “I’ve pretty much watched every game! Especially now we’re in the knockouts,” he reveals. “It’s been really fun watching the Euros and it’s quite sad that it’s coming to an end at the end of the week. But it’s been a really nice tournament.”

When pressed for a prediction for tonight’s game however, unsurprisingly, Van Veen is staying loyal and opting for a Dutch triumph. After a moment of thought; “I think, 2-1 to the Netherlands!” Van Veen answers firmly. “But I think it should be a good game. England hasn’t been playing well this tournament, but they need to turn up tonight. I don’t think it really matters who wins though, because I think neither of us are going to beat Spain in the final. They were phenomenal last night but at least, getting to the final is an achievement.”

As touched upon by Van Veen there, for whoever wins out of Netherlands and the English later tonight, Spain lay in wait after they dispatched the much fancied France on Tuesday night in a thrilling encounter, with 16-year-old Lamine Yamal starring. Afterwards, darts' own teenage prodigy, Luke Littler, couldn't resist getting involved in the hype with a hilarious post on his X (Twitter) account. What do you think? Can England reach a second straight European Championship final or will the Netherlands end the dream of football coming home? Let us know your thoughts!

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