The Netherlands are a win away from the UEFA European Under-17 Championship semi-finals when the Group B leaders face Romania on Friday, but their Matchday 1 victims Germany are having to pick themselves up against the Czech Republic.
A 2-0 defeat of Germany put the Netherlands on top of the group, while Romania were denied three points themselves by a late Czech equaliser in a 1-1 draw. Albert Stuivenberg's Netherlands are now matched with Romania in Belgrade and the coach, in his fourth U17 finals, knows a key task will be to restore his side's focus after the euphoria of beating their neighbours.
"That's the challenge again," Stiuvenberg said. "
We won the first game, fantastic, we will enjoy it but it's only the first game. So we have to focus on the second game against Romania which will also be a difficult game, two teams who really want to play football and there will be space. It will be a different game, a very tough one again. That's the challenge for us as staff to make sure the players are ready again."
Romania coach Adrian Văsâi, who has midfielder Steliano Filip back from suspension, was delighted how his players "did everything we planned" on their finals debut on Tuesday but told UEFA.com: "
It is going to be a difficult game because the Netherlands were a very well-organised team with very good players. But I think that we can do well against them as we have already reached this level and proved to ourselves and everyone else that we can perform."
Germany were the only team to win all six qualifiers but the 2009 champions are now bottom of the group ahead of the Czech encounter in Smederevo. But Steffen Freund has top scorer Samed Yesil and defender Koray Günter available after suspension and remains optimistic.
"Before the [Netherlands] game it was clear that if we lost we'd still have a chance of getting to the semi-finals," Freund said. "But now the pressure is up, when you lose the first game it is difficult. And as I said before the tournament, respect to all the teams; we can't say it will be easy against the Czech Republic or Romania, we would never say that. It will be really difficult to beat both teams and get to the semi-finals but we will try our best.
I'm sure my team have the quality to do it."
There is also a Czech player back from suspension, midfielder Aleš Čermák, and coach Josef Csaplár thinks that Germany's style could suit his side more than Romania's. "The philosophy is the same," Csaplár said. "The first aim is to develop players for senior football. And to educate the players you must play active, attractive, dominant, constructive football.
I am confident against Germany it will be a different game."
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