The Netherlands qualified for the semi-finals of the UEFA Under-17 Championship after beating Malta 5-2 in another match from Group A at the Gozo Stadium on Monday.
Thanks to this result, England are also sure of a place in the semi-finals. The direct clash between the two at the Hibernians Stadium on Thursday will determine the group winner while the clash between Malta and Turkey will decide which team will finish in third place.
Unlike the previous game, Malta did have its fair share of scoring opportunities, having several attempts at goal through Jake Grech and Aiden Friggieri during the first half and once again through Jake Grech, Matthew Guillaumier and Joseph Mbong during the second half.
The Dutch managed to take the lead after just five minutes when off a cross by Bilal Ould-Chikh, Steven Bergwijn’s effort was blocked by Azzopardi and off the rebound, Jari Schuurman placed the ball at the back of the net.
The second goal arrived on the 13th when Abdelhak Nouri served Steven Bergwijn whose powerful shot from outside the area ended in the bottom corner.
The Netherlands scored the third goal on the 26th minute when Jari Schuurmann concluded a good run on the left by slotting the ball past Azzopardi.
Malta pulled one back on 36 minutes when Aiden Friggieri was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a great long-distance attempt from the right but off the rebound, Joseph Mbong slotted the ball home.
One minute in the second half, the Dutch restored a three-goal lead as Jari Schuurman added another, beating the Malta goalkeeper with an angled shot from the right.
On the 64th minute, Malta reduced the gap once again when Joseph Mbong advanced on the left and after losing the ball to an opponent, he regained possession and served Aidan Friggieri who slammed the ball home from a central position inside the area.
Three minutes later, Jake Grech almost scored a third one when he concluded a fine solo run on the left but his diagonal shot scraped past the post.
However in a swift counter-attack on the 69th, the Netherlands scored the fifth goal through Steven Bergwijn who concluded a good move on the right with a diagonal shot which gave Jamie Azzopardi no chance.
Photos: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar
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MALTA Jamie Azzopardi, Daniel Buckle, Jean Borg, Nick Ghio, Matthew Guillaumier, Christian Degabriele (46′ Iousef Meli), Aidan Friggieri, Jake Grech, Kyrian Nwoko (55′ Myles Beerman), Conor Borg (65′ Juan Corbalan), Joseph Mbong.
NETHERLANDS Yanick van Osch, Hidde ter Avest, Keziah Vendorp (60′ Segun Owobowale), Calvin Verdonk, Wellington Verloo, Donny van de Beek, Steven Bergwijn’s, Jari Schuurmann, Anthony Berenstein (22′ Kenneth Paal), Abdelhak Nouri, Bilal Ould-Chikh (59′ Danny van der Moot).
Referee: Aliyar Aghayev (AZE)