A seemingly endless penalty shoot-out ultimately finished with the Dutch under 21s securing passage to the final of the European Championship Wednesday. The Dutch won the spot-kick battle of nerves after 16 rounds. The game itself finished 1-1. Ron Vlaar played over an hour before exiting with an injury and the defender is a doubt for the final against Serbia.

Royston Drenthe was one of the few to actually miss a penalty, smashing his effort against the post, but in the second round of kicks, the Feyenoord midfielder happily netted his effort.

The game was almost up for the Dutch long before that however. The home side found things difficult for long periods in the first half, but still managed to create the better chances – two shots from Ryan Babel. Yet it was the English that took the lead before the break, through Leroy Lita, who turned away from Ron Vlaar on the edge of the box and scored.

The Dutch showed more initiative in the second half, but found it tough to create any sense of menace as the English defence stood firm. It was not until the last minute of regular time that the equaliser came. A long ball from the right was nodded into the middle by Ryan Donk and Maceo Rigters slammed home with an overhead kick.

By that time Ron Vlaar was already off the pitch. The captain was substituted with a injury to his upper leg.

‘I’m proud of the team, how they fought,’ said Vlaar afterwards. ‘It was a difficult game. We knew it wasn’t great on the pitch. Thankfully we scored in the last minute. It was a great finish from Maceo. Then there was an amazing shoot-out, and we thankfully came out on top.’

Netherlands U21
Waterman, Zuiverloon, Vlaar, Donk, Pieters, De Ridder, Maduro, Bakkal, Drenthe, Rigters, Babel. Subs: Vermeer, Krul, Kruiswijk, Jenner, Bruins, Beerens, Schilder, Medunjanin, Jong-a-Pin, Janssen, Van Der Struijk.

England U21
Carson, Hoyte, Taylor, Onuoha, Baines, Milner, Reo-Coker, Noble, Young, Nugent, Lita. Subs: Hart, Alnwick, Ferdinand, Cahill, Richardson, Routledge, Rosenior, Derbyshire, Vaughan, Whittingham.
Feyenoord Business CLub