After three wins in the past week Netherlands U17’s have eased into the elite round of qualifying for next years European Championships in Bulgaria.

  • By Michael Bell
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u17 ned hghAfter finishing second in last summer’s U17 European Championships, Netherlands began their qualifying campaign for next years tournament in Serbia for a three game mini group against Finland, Malta and the hosts Serbia. Each nation would play each other once with the top two teams going onto the elite round.

Coach Maarten Stekelenburg, named a talented squad for the tournament which included Manchester City duo Rodney Kongolo and Javairo Dilrosun along with Real Madrid’s Mink Peeters, and Manchester United’s Timothy Fosu-Mensah.

Netherlands began with a frustrating match  against Finland, which the Dutch dominated from the start, but had to wait until nine minutes from the end to open the scoring through Feyenoord forward Rashaan Fernandes. The win was sealed in the third minute of injury time by Dilrosun.

A 1-0 victory over Malta followed on Sunday with Feyenoord’s Shurendo Janga netting the only goal in the 22nd minute. The win was enough to see Netherlands into the next round, but if they were to finish top of the group and guarantee a top seeding then they had to beat Serbia on Wednesday Afternoon.

Netherlands got off to a good start against the hosts and hit the crossbar through AZ Akmaar’s Robin Schouten after 16 minutes. Two minutes later Schouten was fouled in the box, which handed Netherlands the lead from the penalty spot with Ajax midfielder Carel Eiting converting the penalty. The woodwork was struck again by Peeters as Netherlands failed to kill the game off, and ten minutes before the end Sheral Floranus was sent off for a second yellow card. However Serbia couldn’t make the extra man count and Netherlands held on to win the group.

Thirty-two teams now go on to the elite round next spring, with those nations split into eight groups of four, with the group winners and seven best runners up progressing to the tournament in the summer.


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