The Netherlands snatched a place in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship from the grasp of Norway in a dramatic conclusion to Group 5.
The pair, Germany and Cyprus, had all been level on three points heading into the final day and when the games reached added time with the hosts 3-0 up on Cyprus, it looks as if Norway would reach the finals for the first time since 2005. There was a late twist elsewhere, however, as two minutes into added time Netherlands substitute Thom Haye scored the goal that took Wim van Zwam's team into Friday's finals draw in Kaunas on head to head record – they beat Norway 2-1.
That crucial result had come on matchday one, when again it was a late winner that provided decisive for the Dutch, Anass Achahbar securing a 2-1 success with an 84th-minute effort. Germany had opened their campaign with a 3-1 defeat of Cyprus, but came unstuck next time out with Norway 3-1 winners in Notodden.
Cyprus also bounced back from their opening defeat, Christos Djamas scoring the only goal against the Netherlands to ensure there was almost nothing between the teams ahead of the final fixtures. Norway held the edge on goal difference, and with Mohamed Elyounoussi scoring twice and Bård Finne getting the other against Cyprus, it looked as if they had earned a finals return – the Netherlands had other ideas.
"We're very satisfied with the results, but not all our performances," said Van Zwam. "We lost to Cyprus and that was a bad day for us; we knew we had to win this game. We finally scored in the last minute, but the match could have gone either way; both teams had lots of chances, and Norway also won, so we were the lucky ones this time. At this moment we have no goals for the finals; we'll just have fun now and enjoy the experience."
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