Netherlands U17s could dominate international football for years to come

Netherlands v Italy - 2019 UEFA U17 European Championship Final

Netherlands won the Euro U17 title on Sunday after defeating Italy 4-2 in Dublin.

In a rematch of last year’s final, the Oranje dominated their opponents, going 3-0 up by half-time thanks to goals from Sontje Hansen, Naoufal Bannis and Ian Maatsen.

The Azzurri pulled a goal back early in the second half through Lorenzo Colombo but Naci Unuvar restored the Netherlands’ three-goal advantage with 20 minutes left on the clock.

Colombo netted his second of the night late on but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Italians slumping to another Euro U17 final defeat.

Kees van Wonderen’s side will now turn their attention to the Under-17 World Cup in Brazil this October.

The Dutch youngsters made their intentions clear from the start of the tournament, beating reigning Under-17 world champions England 5-2 in the group stages.

They then went on to beat Belgium 3-0 in the quarter-finals, Spain 1-0 in the semi-finals, and then Italy in the final.

Eight of the Netherlands’ 20-man squad are from Ajax, who have lit up European football this season in both the Eredivisie and the Champions League.

Forward Brian Brobbey is among the Ajax starlets who’ve made a big impression in the Republic of Ireland, where this year’s Euro U17 tournament was staged, over the past couple of weeks.

The 17-year-old, who has scored 13 goals in 19 games for the Netherlands’ U17s, had also been dominating the youth leagues in Holland this season.

In 24 games for Ajax’s U17 side, Brobbey has netted 26 goals and provided six assists.

Another player tipped for big things over the coming years is defender Ki-Jana Hoever, who plies his trade at club level for Liverpool.

The centre-back, who can also play at right-back, has been described as “confident” and a “joy to watch” by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and made his professional debut against Wolves in the FA Cup earlier this season.

Check out his quality goal against Belgium…

You don’t see many young defenders with technique like that.

Meanwhile, Maatsen is another Dutch starlet on the books of a Premier League club.

The defender signed his first professional contract with Chelsea in March 2019, almost a year after joining the west London outfit from PSV Eindhoven after being spotted by the Blues’ recruitment team while playing for Netherlands’ Under-16 national team.

Unuvar, who scored the final goal in Sunday’s final, is just 15 years old.

The Ajax youngster became the first 15-year-old to score in the final of the competition and now has two goals in four appearances for the U17s.

Check out his final goal. Outrageous.

And captaining the team was Kenneth Taylor, a 17-year-old midfielder who is also hoping to force his way into the Ajax first team next season.

The teenager reportedly wants to play under Pep Guardiola one day and idolises players like Christian Eriksen and Kevin De Bruyne.

He also described Nemanja Matic and Sergio Busquets as “beautiful to watch” in an interview with The Sun last year.

Keep an eye out for all these lads because they have an excellent chance of going all the way to the top.

Dutch football is well and truly on the rise again.

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