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The Jong Oranje reach final after epic penalty shoot-out (

21 jun 2007 - Source:

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The Jong Oranje reached the final of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship for the second year in a row after claiming an extraordinary 13-12 victory on penalties against England U-21. A record 32 penalties was needed to get a result. Defending champions Holland will now face Serbia U-21.
Rigters Wednesday night’s semi-final at the Abe Lenstra Stadion had finished 1-1 after 90 minutes and no more goals were scored in extra time. Rigters’ bicycle kick. The Jong Oranje did not level the score until the 89th minute, when Ryan Donk headed on a cross for Macao Rigters to score with a bicycle kick from close range. The hosts put in a rather poor first-half performance and Lita opened the scoring for England after 39 minutes with a powerful finish. Holland applied pressure in the closing stages after PSV forward Roy Beerens had been brought on to replace his team mate Otman Bakkal and Rigters scored a late goal with an acrobatic bicycle kick. As neither team succeeded in scoring a goal, a penalty shoot-out was needed to decide the tie, which turned out to be one of the most dramatic and exciting episodes in the history of Dutch football ever.
The Jong Oranje meet Serbia in final
Holland eventually won the penalty shoot-out 13-12. There had been three misses from both sides, when Ferdinand rattled the crossbar. Heerenveen defender Gianni Zuiverloon stepped up again and swept his kick home and celebrations started. A remarkable incident had taken place only minutes before: Netherlands coach Foppe de Haan marched on to the pitch to insist that England defender Taylor, who was nursing a foot injury, should take his turn. The referee agreed that De Haan had a point, but it did not help much, as Taylor returned to the pitch, and rammed his penalty home. Yet De Haan was deliriously happy when the thrilling penalty shoot-out had eventually gone Holland’s way. “It is great that we have reached the finals for the second time running. We started tentatively and did not take many initiatives, but we gradually got back in the game.” The Jong Oranje will meet Serbia U-21, who beat Belgium U-21 in Wednesday night’s other semi-final, in Groningen on Saturday night.