Having qualified for their first UEFA European Under-19 Championship last season the Netherlands were quickly into their stride in the 2010/11 competition, winning all three qualifying round Group 9 games to book a place in the elite round, where they will be joined by runners-up Slovakia.
Wim van Zwam's team failed to progress beyond the group stage at the finals in France in July and it took the latest squad a while to find their feet, substitute Jody Lukoki and Adam Maher scoring in the final 27 minutes to secure an opening victory against Slovenia. Slovakia, meanwhile, scored twice in each half to brush aside Malta 4-0.
Malta were no match for the Jong Oranje on Matchday 2, Luc Castaignos – who appeared in the 2010 finals – scored twice in a 3-0 win. Hosts Slovenia met Slovakia in Murska Sobota and, just as it looked like the match would end goalless, substitute Michal Vilkovsky struck two minutes into added time to give Slovakia a decisive victory that ensured they and the Dutch progressed.
The Netherlands wrapped up first place with a third successive win in the final round of games, Bruno Martins Indi and Ola John scoring early in each half to secure the points against Slovakia to leave Pavol Peraček's team in second place. Slovenia defeated Malta 4-0 with Dino Stančič and Enej Jelenič each scoring twice yet still finishing three points adrift.
"The decisive match was on Saturday against Slovenia," said Peraček. "We had so many chances that we deserved to win and after a very good Dutch side we were second best here."
Netherlands coach Van Zwam added: "It was a very good tournament for us. We did a great job as a team. The future for Dutch football looks very good, but we still have to play at a higher level in the elite round. We played quite well, but we still missed too many chances."
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