Two-time UEFA European Under-21 Championship winners the Netherlands will play in next summer's finals after second-half goals from Georginio Wijnaldum and Luuk de Jong ended the challenge of Slovakia in Rotterdam.
Champions in 2006 and 2007, the Jong Oranje have not featured in the finals since claiming the second of those titles, but a 2-0 first-leg victory in Senec last Thursday had put them in control of this play-off tie. Although they were made to work for their breakthrough by a determined Slovakian effort, Wijnaldum settled any lingering Dutch nerves on the night with the opener 11 minutes after half-time, De Jong confirming a place in Israel next summer from the penalty spot 12 minutes later.
Both teams enjoyed spells of pressure in the opening stages although it was Jeroen Zoet in the home goal who was the busier keeper early on, saving from Filip Oršula and Jakub Holúbek. Marco van Ginkel had scored both goals in the first leg and it was the Vitesse striker who drew Michal Šulla into serious action for the first time, the Slovakian goalkeeper keeping out his 33rd-minute effort.
Šulla denied both Van Ginkel and De Jong as the second half got under way, but there was nothing the goalkeeper could do to prevent the Netherlands increasing their aggregate advantage in the 56th minute. Wijnaldum had scored twice in his last three qualifying appearances and showed the form befitting a player with three goals in two Eredivisie starts for PSV Eindhoven with a neat header from De Jong's cross to fire the Netherlands ahead.
Twelves minutes later and Dutch celebrations were in full swing as Norbert Gyömber impeded substitute Yanic Wildschut inside the penalty area. De Jong had made his first U21 appearance since October 2010 in Friday's first leg having graduated to the senior squad and he kept his cool to score from the spot and confirm the Netherlands' place in the final draw, which will be held in Israel on 28 November.
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