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Netherlands retain U17 title again

For the second year running the Netherlands beat Italy in the final to become the first four-time U17 winners.

Netherlands retain U17 title again
Netherlands retain U17 title again ©UEFA.com

The Netherlands claimed their fourth UEFA European Under-17 Championship title with a second straight final win against Italy.

In 2011 and 2012, the Dutch lifted the trophy for the first two times by beating Germany in back-to-back finals, and they repeated that trick at the expense of the Azzurini this time round, 12 months on from pipping them on penalties in Rotherham. This time they did not need spot kicks, securing a 4-2 victory in the Dublin final, which like all matches this season were at 90 minutes, increased from 80 with both teams now allowed up to five substitutions.

Watch the top five goals of 2019 U17 EURO
Watch the top five goals of 2019 U17 EURO

Brian Brobbey, returning from the victorious 2018 squad, got the Netherlands under way with the opener in their 2-0 win against Sweden and struck twice more as England were beaten 5-2, taking the Oranje through with a game to spare. They then lost 2-0 to France, who topped Group B.

Hosts the Republic of Ireland, in Group A, were unable to make a third straight quarter-final as they drew all their games 1-1, finishing behind Belgium and the Czech Republic, who both defeated Greece. Hungary secured three wins out of three, ahead of Portugal who overcame Iceland and Russia to also get through Group C.

In Group D, Italy collected maximum points with second place going to Spain, who eliminated Germany for a fourth year running with a 1-0 victory on the second matchday. All three sides scalped Austria.

Final highlights: Netherlands 4-2 Italy
Final highlights: Netherlands 4-2 Italy

Adil Aouchiche of Paris Saint-Germain had scored five group goals for France, including a hat-trick against Sweden, and in the quarter-finals he managed four against the Czech Republic in a 6-1 success. Both the margin of victory and his single-game goal tally equalled competition knockout records, while Aouchiche became the first player to net nine in a U17 EURO, equalling the record for all UEFA football final tournaments.

The Netherlands sailed through 3-0 against Belgium, Italy pipped Portugal 1-0 and Spain outlasted Hungary 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. There was consolation for Hungary, who drew 1-1 then won 5-4 on penalties against Belgium in a play-off between the best two losing quarter-finalists for Europe's fifth berth in the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.

Aouchiche's record haul
Aouchiche's record haul

All four semi-finalists had already booked their Brazil tickets, but they had a tournament to win in Dublin. The Netherlands prevailed 1-0 against Spain in a meeting of the two three-time winners while Italy ensured a 2018 final rematch, shutting out Aouchiche in a 2-1 victory against France.

Equalling Spain's record of seven U17 final appearances, the Netherlands made a flying start and were 3-0 up at half-time through Sontje Hansen, Naoufal Bannis and Ian Maatsen. Lorenzo Colombo reduced arrears but substitute Naci Ünüvar then became the first 15-year-old to score in a final. Colombo replied again late on, but the Netherlands had their fourth title and Brobbey emulated 2011 and 2012 winners and compatriots Nathan Aké and Tonny Vilhena in being part of two U17 triumphs.

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