The Netherlands get their U17 European Championships campaign underway on Thursday. Michael Bell takes a look at Oranje ahead of the tournament.

The Netherlands are one of the most successful nations at the U17 Euros, having won two of the last three tournaments. Last year, the Netherlands did get to the final but lost 2-1 to France.

Coached by Mischa Visser, the Netherlands will go again in Hungary and they feature in a group containing Switzerland, England and Croatia.

The top two from each group progresses to the knockout rounds.

The Fixtures

18th May: Netherlands v Switzerland

21st May: Netherlands v England

24th May: Netherlands v Croatia

The Squad

Visser’s squad has been dealt some injury blows with Kees Smit (AZ Alkmaar), Shaqueel van Persie (Feyenoord) and Givairo Read (Volendam) all not part of the squad. Prolific Ajax striker Skye Vink is also not in the squad after only just returning from injury.

In qualification, Jorrel Hato captained the squad but he is now a regular starter for Ajax, so will not be at the tournament as the season is ongoing.

Goalkeepers: Tim Haksteeg (Feyenoord), Kiyani Zeggen Lieuw Kie Song (AZ Alkmaar), Jur Schipper (AZ Alkmaar)

Defenders: Mats Rots (Twente/Heracles), Wessel Kuhn (PSV), Rayan Atikallah (AZ Alkmaar), Elijah Dijkstra (AZ Alkmaar), Dies Janse (Ajax), Precious Ugwu (Ajax), Sven van der Plas (PSV).

Midfielders: Tygo Land (PSV), Sem Esselink (Sparta), Julian Oerip (AZ Alkmaar), Avery Appiah (Ajax), Othniel Raterink (De Graafschap)

Forwards: Martin Sherif (Everton), Jesse Bal (Sparta), Zépiqueno Redmond (Feyenoord), Aymen Sliti (Feyenoord), Jasper Hartog (AZ Alkmaar), Kayden Wolff (Ajax)

The Key Players

Wessel Kuhn: Strong centre-back, who can also step into midfield as a DM. Kuhn is a leader on the pitch

Tygo Land: He may only be 17 but he has been on the bench for the PSV first team in recent weeks. A superbly talented midfielder.

Aymen Sliti: A skillful and speedy winger, Sliti is highly regarded in the Feyenoord academy

Kayden Wolff: The winger scored the winning goal against England in qualifying that sealed the Netherlands spot in the tournament.

Jesse Bal: Prolific in the U18 league, Bal has 18 goals in 25 games for Sparta this season. He will battle Sherif for the starting striker position.

What are the Netherlands chances?

Sadly we will not see the Netherlands at their strongest and the loss of Smit and Hato is a big blow for the squad. Skye Vink would have also had a big tournament if present but Oranje will still have plenty of top talents ready to shine in Hungary.

Getting off to a strong start is key and in the knockout rounds, anything could happen.

It is a tournament that the Netherlands usually do well in and it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the Oranje reach their fourth consecutive final. They could even lift the trophy for the fifth time.

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