The Dutch Juniors closed the European Championship qualification on Wednesday with their first loss in this campaign. The team of national coach Erwin van de Looi, who was already certain of placement for the upcoming European Championship, lost 2-1 to Young Portugal in Portimao.
Jong Oranje has a dramatic start
The Netherlands had the loss due to an early goal against in the first half and in the second half. Cody Gakpo took care of the equalizer in between, but in the end it turned out to be only important for the statistics.
The Juniors had already qualified for next year’s European Championship, just like Young Portugal last month. The team won the first nine qualifying matches and secured first place in the group with a convincing goal difference.
Many permanent staff were missing against Young Portugal. Ryan Gravenberch and Sven Botman, for example, were transferred to the Dutch national team, which is struggling with injuries, and Dani de Wit left the training camp due to physical complaints.
Javairô Dilrosun duels with Portuguese. (Photo: Pro Shots)
The Juniors got off to a dramatic start against Young Portugal. Within ninety seconds it became 1-0. Justin Hoogma headed the ball back too short on goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen after a strange throw-in by Deyovaisio Zeefuik, from which Fabio Vieira took advantage.
After that, the Netherlands had the better of the game, but also had difficulty converting the field predominance into opportunities. Gakpo had the best opportunity halfway through the first half, but he ran into keeper Diogo Costa.
However, it was a matter of waiting for the 1-1 and it fell in the 42nd minute. Gakpo skilfully slid the ball in at the far post after a perfect pass from Zeefuik, who thus made up for his mistake at the 1-0.
Azor Matusiwa played his second international match for the Dutch Juniors. (Photo: Pro Shots)
The second half also started disastrous for the Dutch Juniors with another quick goal against. From about twenty meters, Vieira was given all the space to shoot and his shot disappeared via the unfortunate Hoogma behind the hopeless Scherpen.
The Netherlands then lost its way for a while and escaped 3-1 a minute after 2-1. Jota curled the ball past the coming Scherpen, but Perr Schuurs saved the goal line.