No man goes into a battle without knowing the secret weapons of his enemy. It is in this light that totorinews.com enters into the camp of the Netherlands U 17 team to reveal their secrets as they file out to play Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets in the round of 16 tie at the Estadio Olimpico, Gioania, Brazil.
1. Netherlands U 17 national team are the champions of European U 17 tournament back to back. The team won the 2017 and 2019 and had earlier won it in 2011 and 2012 making it four times the team will emerge as the champions of Europe at the U 17 level.
2. It is the first time Netherlands will be playing Nigeria at the FIFA U 17 World Cup and some of their fans in Gioania were very happy when the fixtures pitched them against the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria.
3. It took Netherlands 14 years to qualify again for the round of 16 of the FIFA U 17 tournament. The last time was in Peru 2005 where they finished third at the tournament. The team had earlier crashed at the group stage in Nigeria 2009 and Mexico 2011.
4. Peter Van Der Veen is the caretaker coach of the team. He was appointed on the 16th October, 2019. He is 61 years.
5. Van Der Veen has at his disposal best crop of talented Dutch players. 16 players compete domestically in the Netherlands with most players, eight coming from the Dutch power house of club football, Ajax.
6. 14 players are in the books at Eredivise clubs in the Netherlands.
7. Five players are learning their trade outside Netherlands. Three in England, one in Belgium and another one in Germany.
Below the full list of the Netherlands U 17 team
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Calvin Raatsie (Ajax), 21-Tein Troost (Feyenoord), 16-Bart Verbruggen (NAC Breda)
3-Melayro Bogarde (Hoffenheim/GER), 5-Anss Salah Eddine (Ajax), 2-Ki-Jana Hoever (Liverpool/ENG), 15-Yannick Leliendal (Genk/BEL), 4-Devyne Rensch (Ajax), 12-Steven van der Sloot (Ajax)
8-Ian Maatssen (Chelsea/ENG), 14-Dirk Proper (N.E.C.), 13-Youri Regeer (Ajax), 6-Kenneth Taylor (Ajax), 10-Mohamed Taabouni (AZ Alkmaar), 11-Naci Unuvar (Ajax)
FORWARDS (6): 18-Soullyman Allouch (AZ Alkmaar), 9-Noufal Bannis (Feyenoord), 17-Jayden Braaf (Manchester City/ENG), 20-Djenairo Daniels (PSV Eindhoven), 7-Sontje Hansen (Ajax), 19-Romano Postema (Gronigen)
8. Sontje Hansen is the number one threat in the attack of Netherlands. He demolished United States with his brace and an assist as his country won 4-0 on Saturday.
He is very skillful, fast and pacy, with dribbling runs into the vital area of the opponents. Golden Eaglets defence must be allow him free space to operate.
9. The team is not immuned to red card. Melayro Bogarde that plies his trade with Hoffenheim in Germany has a red card to his name in the tournament at the group stage but he is free to play against Nigeria on Tuesday.
10. Ki- Jana Hoever is the lifewire in the heart of the defence of Netherlands. The Liverpool of England young defender played as a right full back in their loss games against Japan and Senegal , before he was drafted to play in the central defence against the United States and he performed very well.
11. The team is very vulnerable at the defence having leaked in 6 goals in the tournament. Fortunately, Netherlands kept a clean sheet against United States, the team that earlier defeated them 3-1 in an international tournament prior to the Brazil 2019 FIFA World Cup.
12. Netherlands U 17 team are high goals scoring side on a good day, but they can also be frustrated by their opponents from hitting the back of the net at will. It happened when the team drew with Kosovo 1-1, despite having 90% of ball possession and 21 shots on goal.
13. Japan completely exposed the weaknesses of the Netherlands as they pummelled the European champions with three unreplied goals in the opening game in Group D. Senegal continued from where Japan stopped by beating Netherlands 3-1, although it was the Dutch side that scored first.
The truth is this, Netherlands U 17 team are a very good side, but they are beatable by the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria, if these Nigerian kids can play to their strenght as a team. 8pm Brazilian time, which is 12am midnight in Nigeria is the kick off time.