Luigi Bruins is part of the Dutch Under 21 squad that also includes Ron Vlaar and Royston Drenthe, but while Vlaar and Drenthe have been regulars in Oranje’s European Championship campaign, coach Foppe de Haan is yet to give Bruins a single minute of pitch time. After last night’s semi-final win against the English, the midfielder is hoping to make an appearance in the final against Serbia. ‘Up till now the European Championship has been a disappointment for me.’

‘I am enjoying it, despite not having played at all,’ admits Bruins. ‘But like every player I obviously want to play, that’s clear. Especially when the tournament is on home soil, you want to show what you can do. Before it started, I did hear noises that the coach would give me some pitch time. It was in a few magazines I think, but he never told me that personally. So I’ve never counted on it.’

The penalty shoot-out victory against the Three Lions means that the title is well within reach, but as Bruins confirms, the team’s initial target has been achieved. ‘The main goal in this European Championship campaign was to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. It’s great we’ve done that.’ Now that is in the bag, though, the Dutch are gunning fro the trophy. ‘I think we’re probable the big favourite.’

‘Foppe de Haan said before the tournament that he would prefer to play England in the semis, but personally I would have preferred to play Italy. My mother is half-Italian, so the country is a little bit special for me. But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter who you play, you just have to win.’

‘I’m obviously following developments at Feyenoord during the tournament. I’m getting things from the football magazines among other things. And I saw Bert van Marwijk on TV the other day. It was a bit of a surprise for me that he was appointed coach, as he wasn’t one of the candidates in the media. I do think he’s a good choice. Just look at what he achieved with Feyenoord in 2002. I’m looking forward to working with him.’
Feyenoord Business CLub