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Mixed omens for rematch in Porto

Published: Saturday 3 June 2006, 9.00CET
Having started their maiden UEFA European U21 Championship campaign with a 2-1 win against the Netherlands, Ukraine hope to repeat the feat in the final.

Tournament statistics

NetherlandsUkraine

Goals scored9
 
4
Attempts on target32
 
21
Attempts off target19
 
20
Corners25
 
22
Fouls committed76
 
77
Yellow cards10
 
10
Red Cards0
1

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Published: Saturday 3 June 2006, 9.00CET

Mixed omens for rematch in Porto

Having started their maiden UEFA European U21 Championship campaign with a 2-1 win against the Netherlands, Ukraine hope to repeat the feat in the final.

Having started their maiden UEFA European Under-21 Championship campaign with a 2-1 win against the Netherlands on 24 May, Ukraine will be hoping for a repeat performance when the sides meet again in the final at the Estádio do Bessa Século XXI. The tournament's conclusion echoes that of the last major finals to be held in Portugal, UEFA EURO 2004™, when underdogs Greece beat the hosts 2-1 in the opening fixture before triumphing 1-0 when the teams resumed hostilities in the final. There are also positive omens for the Dutch, however, and a repeat of the senior side's biggest success to date.

• Goals from Artem Milevskiy and Ruslan Fomin set Ukraine on course for victory in their first-ever match in a UEFA European U21 Championship finals, before Gijs Luirink reduced the deficit in added time. They were brought back to earth with a 1-0 defeat by holders Italy but reached the semi-finals as Group B winners with another 2-1 win, this time against Denmark. There they met 2004 finalists Serbia and Montenegro, prevailing 5-4 on penalties after playing out 120 goalless minutes.

• There were goals galore in Foppe de Haan's team's last-four game against hotly-tipped France as Nicky Hofs scored in extra time to settle a pulsating five-goal thriller. It continued a recovery after the slow start made against Ukraine, which saw the Netherlands held by Denmark before Daniël de Ridder's late strike against Italy guided them into the knockout stages.

• The earlier match between Ukraine and the Netherlands at the Estádio Municipal in Agueda – the opening Group B tie at these finals – marked the first competitive meeting of the countries at this level. In fact, the sides have rarely crossed paths at all, either since Ukraine became an independent state or when it was part of the Soviet Union.

• The countries have never encountered one another in a competitive game at either U17 or U19 level, although the Netherlands senior team did face the Soviet Union in three significant UEFA European Championship matches in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The sides were drawn together in Group B at the 1988 European Championship in West Germany, playing in the first round of games with the USSR, featuring current Ukraine U21 coach Olexiy Mykhaylychenko, getting off to a perfect start with a 1-0 victory at the Rhein Energie Stadion in Cologne, thanks to Vassili Rats's 52nd-minute goal.

• The Netherlands had the last laugh, however, after both teams won through to the final at the Olympiastadion in Munich. In front of 62,770 spectators, captain Ruud Gullit headed the Oranje into a 32nd-minute lead and success was effectively assured nine minutes after half-time when Marco van Basten doubled the advantage with a stunning volley from an acute angle, his fifth goal of the tournament, as the Netherlands claimed their only senior international honour.

• Four years later the countries renewed acquaintances at EURO '92 when the Netherlands were drawn alongside the same opponents, then competing as the Confederation of Independent States, in Group B. They shared a goalless draw in Gothenburg in their second fixture, with the CIS bowing out after the group stage and the Dutch losing on penalties to eventual winners Denmark in the semi-finals after a 2-2 draw.

• Martin Hansson of Sweden will referee the final. Hansson has been rewarded for impressive performances in the middle in the Portugal-Serbia and Montenegro and Netherlands-Italy games. The 35-year-old will be assisted by countryman Frederik Nilsson and England's Roger East. Another Englishman, Howard Webb, will undertake fourth official duties.

Last updated: 03/06/06 12.36CET

http://www.uefa.com/under21/season=2006/matches/round=1914/match=84133/prematch/background/index.html#mixed+omens+rematch+porto

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