Netherlands Under-17s manager Kees van Wonderen has labelled his side’s penalty shootout victory over England as an invaluable experience.

  • By Jonty Colman
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After a goalless draw during their semi-final against European Championship hosts England, Netherlands were 6-5 winners during the penalty shootout at Chesterfield on Thursday evening.

The win has sealed a place in the final for Oranje for the fourth time in the past eight years.

Former Feyenoord defender and now national team coach, van Wonderen, has described how important the win over the host nation was for their development.

He said: “We were so glad that we could play this game because for the development of the guys it is so enormous. In England, against England, semi-final of the Euros.

“For their development, we say you have to fill your backpack with experience and for their experiences, it was a great game and that’s what it was, with chances for England and chances for Holland.

“A real fight, with the thrill of the penalty shootout. Tonight, we are the luckiest team of the two, but we are also the happiest.”

The Dutch side have been seriously impressive during the tournament across the East Midlands and Yorkshire so far.

In their five games in the tournament, Netherlands have scored eight goals, conceded just once and kept four clean sheets.

The 49-year-old boss praised his side’s defence and was delighted that goalkeeper Joey Koorevaar, who was at the centre of their controversial victory over the Republic of Ireland on Monday, was able to make the headlines for the right reasons.

“He has proved to be a stable character in our team and tonight with the penalty shootout was really the night for him to be the guy”, added van Wonderen.

“Against Ireland was a different story, but for him also, I’m glad it turned out this way so that he could be the person that all the lights are shown on.

“It is important to get clean sheets, it doesn’t only mean that the goalie is right but also the whole organisation from the front to the back.”

Holland will be aiming to lift the European Championships for the third time since 2011 when they face Italy at the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Sunday.

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