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Hot shot Huntelaar down but not out

Published: Sunday 28 May 2006, 22.03CET
Striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar, the top scorer in qualifying, has taken little joy from his first goal for the Netherlands at the Under-21 finals in Portugal.
by Adrian Harte
from Aveiro
 

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Published: Sunday 28 May 2006, 22.03CET

Hot shot Huntelaar down but not out

Striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar, the top scorer in qualifying, has taken little joy from his first goal for the Netherlands at the Under-21 finals in Portugal.

The top scorer in UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying struck his first finals goal against Denmark to achieve a Netherlands record - but Klaas Jan Huntelaar was still not satisfied.

Need to win
Huntelaar registered ten goals in 12 qualifiers and now has 15 in 19 U21 internationals, level with Arnold Bruggink and Roy Makaay. But with his team bottom of Group B after Friday's 1-1 draw with the Danes, Huntelaar was disconsolate. "It was important to score the goal," he told uefa.com. "It is nice for a striker every time you score but we also have to win the match and now we have to win against Italy. It was good to score but it is better to win. "

Tale of two halves
The 22-year-old AFC Ajax forward added: "In the first half we had most of the ball. We played a good possession game, we didn't create many chances but we played good football and kept the ball and scored a goal. The second half was bad - we played too many long balls and did not play through midfield."

Slim chance
With the Netherlands needing to beat Italy in their third group fixture in Aveiro on Monday, Huntelaar is not overly optimistic about their chances of making the last four. "We have an opportunity but our chance is not so big. We have to defeat Italy and then we have to wait for the other game."

Point to prove
Huntelaar plundered 33 league goals in 31 games this season for SC Heerenveen and Ajax but was surprisingly omitted from Marco van Basten's FIFA World Cup squad, with the coach saying Huntelaar would benefit more from playing time in Portugal. However, Huntelaar insists he is not in Portugal to prove a point. "Every time you play, you have something to prove."

Ajax focus
Huntelaar, who also netted for Ajax in the UEFA Champions League, remains modest about his sparkling form. "I play most of the time in a very good team. We have good wingers and they give good crosses and it makes it easier to score as a striker," he said to uefa.com. That has made Huntelaar hot property but he has no plans to leave the Netherlands. "I am only concentrating on Ajax, my club."

Last updated: 28/05/06 23.57CET

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