Netherlands U21’s have qualified for the European Championships as group winner despite a 2-1 loss to Portugal.

Netherlands U21’s had already qualified for next years European Championships, but the game in Portugal would decide who finishes top of the group. Netherlands won the reverse fixture 4-2 so knew they had a small cushion in terms of head to head if the two nations finished on the same points.

After a minute, Netherlands got off to a shocker of a start with Justin Hoogma’s attempted header back to Kjell Scherpen seized upon and Fabio Vieira tapped in the opener.

Netherlands improved after the opener and eventually in the 42nd minute, Cody Gakpo finished a nice attack to make it 1-1 at the break.

Vieira netted his second early in the second half to restore Portugal’s lead. The game then remained 2-1 despite chances at both ends. Gakpo and Justin Kluivert missed Netherlands best chances of an equaliser.

Netherlands finish top of the group due to their superior head to head and can now plan for the European Championships next year.

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