Already relishing tournament life at the UEFA European Under-17 Championship, Netherlands forward Rai Vloet had further cause for celebration when he turned 17 on Tuesday.
Vloet has caught the eye as the spearhead of an attacking Dutch side in Slovenia, scoring in the opening 3-1 win against the hosts and providing an effective focal point versus Belgium on Monday. He was again the centre of attention the following morning, this time back at the team hotel in the Pohorje foothills.
"I was very surprised this morning because in the restaurant there were balloons up on the wall and a special cake which I shared with all the players," the PSV Eindhoven youngster told UEFA.com. "It's a strange experience because it is the first time I have celebrated my birthday with the national team. All the players are great, so it's very special to celebrate with them all here in Slovenia.
"My family were here only for the first match and they drove back home by car. They arrived back in the Netherlands this morning just in time to call me and wish me a happy birthday. I got a small present from the association this morning but I will wait until I return to the Netherlands to receive gifts from my parents."
Cake for breakfast and a planned bobsleigh down the mountains does not qualify as the most normal of birthdays for Vloet. "Usually it is a school day so that's where I would be, and in the evening I would invite some friends and family over and have a small party," he added.
Amid the celebrations, though, Albert Stuivenberg's team remain focused on the job at hand. The goalless draw against Belgium means the Dutch need only a point against Poland on Thursday to ensure they make the trip to the Slovenian capital for the semi-finals.
"After the [Belgium] game we were very disappointed because we wanted to win and make sure we go to Ljubljana," said Vloet. "When we got back to the hotel we saw the match between Poland and Slovenia and we were happy with the draw. We always want to win as it is the Dutch way. We have finished with Belgium and now we start to think about Poland."
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