Last season's UEFA European Under-17 Championship winners the Netherlands and the side they deposed as holders in May's semi-finals, England, both cruised through from qualifying round Group 6 in Sarajevo.
Both teams defeated Latvia and hosts Bosnia and Herzegovina in their opening two games to ensure today's meeting was merely to decide first place. England gained a measure of revenge for their loss to the Netherlands in Serbia after Devante Cole's goal gave them a 1-0 win in today's group decider but both sides are in the 29 November elite round draw.
In the fourth competition meeting between Netherlands coach Albert Stuivenberg and England manager John Peacock in six editions – but the first outside a final tournament – it was the latter who got the win his team needed to overtake the holders, a result that could prove valuable for elite round seeding. The winner came on 21 minutes when Cole – whose father Andy was capped 15 times – met Chuba Akpom's pass with a precise shot.
"I really enjoyed these last few days in Sarajevo," Peacock told UEFA.com. "I have nice memories of this city. I was here in 2007, when we also qualified for the next round and reached the European Championship final. We had a difficult group, but we did a perfect job.
We won three times, without conceding a goal, so I must be very happy."
Stuivenberg, whose side came closest when Branco van den Boomen headed straight at England goalkeeper Luke Coddington from close range with 15 minutes left, said: "Our aim was to qualify after two matches and we did it. We wanted to win or draw against England. I think we deserved at least a point, but that's football.
The match against England was a very good preparation for the elite round. Now we await the draw, we could be in a very strong group, even with Spain and France."
The Netherlands, who took the title with a 5-2 defeat of Germany five months ago, still boast three of that winning squad and two of them, Nathan Ake and Thom Haye, struck in the opening 3-0 defeat of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Van den Boomen coming off the bench to get the third.
England went one better against Latvia, Callum Robinson, Luke Shaw, Akpom and Cole ensuring a 4-0 win. Substitute Jordan Graham had a penalty saved by Toms Vīksna with six minutes left. Arsenal FC pair Isaac Hayden and Akpom ensured a second England win, scoring without reply against Bosnia and Herzegovina two days later.
That day the Netherlands beat Latvia 4-1, their first goal coming from Tonny Trindade de Vilhena, a regular in the victorious side last season who scored twice in the final. Van den Boomen also justified a start by striking again as the Netherlands went top on goals scored, though they were to be pipped. Also on Monday, Bosnia and Herzegovina defeated ten-man Latvia 1-0 for the consolation of third place thanks to Mijat Gačinović.
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