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Holland U-21 reach semi-finals and clinch ticket to Beijng (PSV.nl)

14 jun 2007 - Source: PSV.nl

This newsitem has been supplied by PSV.nl

The Netherlands U-21 have reached their first objective. They have both ensured qualification for the 1988 Olympic Games in Beijing and booked a place in the semi-finals of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, thanks to a 2-1 victory against Portugal in Groningen on Wednesday night.
Babel and Rigters
NAC Breda striker Maceo Rigters was brought down by the Portuguese goalkeeper after 33 minutes and Ajax forward Ryan Babel converted the spot kick; 1-0. Soon afterwards Foppe de Haan’s team survived a scare when defender Calvin Jong-A-Pin failed to clear the ball properly. Ajax goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer was brought on at half time to replace AZ stopper Boy Waterman, who suffered from a back injury. After the break the hosts were made to defend deeply, but they doubled their advantage fifteen minutes from time. Royston Drenthe, who put in another impressive performance, delivered a fine cross that Rigters turned in. Two minutes later Miguel Veloso, the son of the Benfica striker who had his penalty saved by Hans van Breukelen in the 1988 European Cup I final, superbly curled home a free kick, but no further goals were scored.
Beijng Olympics
The Netherlands, who have reached the semi-finals of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, face Belgium in their final Group A game on Saturday night. They have also made sure of qualification for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Ismail Aissati will miss the rest of the tournament, but the PSV midfielder will make the trip to China next year. His PSV team mate Otman Bakkal replaced him as playmaker against Portugal, while Beerens did well as a substitute.