The Netherlands have are into the finals of the UEFA Women's Under-17 Championship after beating the holders Spain 3-1 in an heroic encounter on Tuesday. Robert de Pauw’s young women will face another big favourite, Germany, on Friday. The group match between the two sides ended in a 3-2 for the Netherlands.
It was a collective effort on Tuesday, with the Oranje fighting for every ball and often having the luck on their side. This powerful cocktail brought them a sensational victory over the reigning European and world champion, their first-ever win over La Roja.
Admittedly, Spain had more possession and hit the crossbar and the post three times, but the Netherlands were more dangerous in their counter-attacks and more clinical in their finishing, with Lotje de Keijzer scoring before half time and Iris Stiekema and Nikita Tromp extending their lead in the second period. It was Tromp’s 30th goal in just 22 international matches.
In a major setback early in the second half, Lotje de Keijzer was forced off the pitch with a knee injury. She is likely to miss the final against Germany on Friday, which will be played in the Black Sea resort of Albena in northeastern Bulgaria at 13.00 CET.
With six U17 titles to their name, Germany are the record European Champions. Beating them will be another tough challenge for the Netherlands, but it won't be impossible given their current form.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands men’s U17 also have a chance of proceeding to the finals at the European Championship in Ireland. And they also face Spain in the semi-finals, scheduled on Thursday.