UEFA U-21 Championship: Netherlands Beat Ukraine In Final

PORTO, Portugal -- The Netherlands have won the UEFA Under-21 Championship, beating Ukraine 3-0 in the final with two goals from Huntelaar and one from Hofs.

Nicky Hofs (R) of the Netherlands celebrates his goal against Ukraine with his team mate Urby Emanuelson during their European Under-21 Championship final soccer match at Bessa stadium in Porto, northern Portugal June 4, 2006.

Ukraine had particularly good chances in the first half, but hit the left post in two occasions. The Dutch were more successful and striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar opened the score in the 11th minute.

Close to half time, Ukranian defender Yatsenko handled the ball in his own area and Huntelaar did well to convert the following spot kick for 2-0. With this goal, the player becomes the only top scorer of this tournament.

Ukraine continued to attack in the second half, but the Dutch defense and goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer managed to avoid damage.

Nicky Hofs, whose performance had been improving throughout the tournament, eventually set the score to 3-0 in the 94th minute.

It is the first time in history that a Dutch youth team wins a major tournament, after three lost finals in previous occasions.

After a defeat by Ukraine in the opening match, followed by a draw with Denmark, the Netherlands' chances seemed to have gone down to zero as they faced title defenders Italy in the last group match.

However, the Azzurrini were defeated 1-0 and the Dutch advanced thanks to the head-to-head record with the Italians.

In the semi finals, the Dutch took a 2-0 lead against top favorites France, but their opponents came back to 2-2. A goal from Nicky Hofs in extra time sent Foppe de Haan's side to the final.

In their second meeting with Ukraine, the Netherlands turned out to have grown physically and mentally, to achieve a convincing 3-0 victory.

Source: SoccerWay