The Coach of the victorious Netherlands Under-17 National Football team which won the Euro tournament today following a penalty shootout victory over Italy in the final is expressing optimism over the future of Dutch football. The Netherlands, a very proud footballing nation which finished runner-up at three World Cups in 1974, 1978 and 2010 and which won the 1988 Euro tournament, failed to make it to the World Cup finals this year in Russia despite surprisingly finishing third at the last edition in Brazil four years ago. The Under-17 win couldn't have come at better time though as the senior team also failed to make it to Euro finals two years ago.
Speaking to reporters after the Netherlands clinched their third title to match Spain's tally, Dutch Coach Kees Van Wonderen had this to say:
:"I am very elated by this win today over a very tough Italian team. It was a great game and very tense. Both teams had their chances to win the game in regulation time but sometimes you waste the opportunities that you get in regulation time and you have to do things the hard way. I am very satisfied that my boys were able to hold their nerve and win in the penalty shootout."
"This win couldn't have come at a better time as the Dutch Senior National team has been going through a very difficult period of late. I must say also that there is this bitter-sweet feeling that I and all other Dutch people are probably feeling now. That said, this win indicates that we are getting back on course and heading in the right direction. There is still hope for Dutch Football. I sincerely hope that in the years to come I will see members of this squad at the fore-front of the National Senior team. And who knows, maybe this could be the team that finally wins the World Cup for us in 2026?"
"Until that day though, I will just have to resign myself to the fact that we will not be participating in Russia next month and that, unfortunately is a very sad feeling indeed."