Netherlands goalkeeper Joey Koorevaar was the hero of the hour after his penalty save guided Holland into the semi-final of the UEFA Under-17 European Championship.

  • Words by Elliott Jackson @E_Jackson21 on Twitter
  • Interview by Jonty Colman @JontyC12 on Twitter

After a 1-1 draw, Holland secured their place in the last four in the most dramatic of circumstances. Koorevaar had saved Ireland’s first penalty, meaning the Netherlands had to score their last spot-kick to set up a semi-final tie with England.

However, captain Daishawn Redan was allowed to retake his penalty, after it was initially saved, as Ireland ‘keeper James Corcoran had stepped off his line. The Ireland stopper was then sent off before Redan fired his side into the semi-final.

After the game, Koorevaar said: “Before the start of the penalty kicks the referee told both keepers don’t go in front of your line otherwise you get a yellow card.’

“It was a tough decision for the referee to send him off”.

After struggling to break down a resilient Irish rear-guard, Holland finally made the breakthrough in the 61st minute before conceding just moments later.

Koorevaar was full of praise for his opponents, who frustrated them for long periods of the game.

“The match was very tough, they played very strong”, he said.

“They had a good defence and they did a great job but the ending was unbelievable.

“They had a good defence and it was very hard to break through the lines. It was very difficult for us to play and we were waiting for a mistake.”

Holland will now face England at the Proact Stadium on Thursday for a place in the final.

On the prospect of facing the host nation, Koorevaar said: “It will be a beautiful game. We are looking forward to playing against England.

“We are both good teams and play good football. Will we be able to beat them? We will see.

“It will be a tough game also, they are very strong in midfield. We have to rest and look forward to the game.”

Despite admitting England will be tough opposition, the young stopper was still confident his side could secure a place in the final.

“Of course, we can. We have a great team, but we must do our thing. We must stick to our plan and we have a good chance to beat England.”

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