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Chong to the fore as Netherlands edge Sweden

Sweden 0-1 Netherlands
Tahith Chong's 62nd-minute goal was sufficient for the Netherlands to book a semi-final date with Portugal on Wednesday.

Highlights: Sweden 0-1 Netherlands
  • Netherlands complete the semi-final lineup with victory against Sweden
  • Tahith Chong turns in the only goal at close range after 62 minutes
  • The Dutch have won the U17 title twice, most recently in 2012
  • Sweden create little of note, their best opening falling to Joel Asoro
  • Netherlands will play free-scoring Portugal in the semi-finals on Wednesday

An opportunist strike by Tahith Chong booked the Netherlands a place in the last four of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship.

Leandro Fernandes delivered a left-wing corner, Matthijs de Ligt headed goalwards and the Feyenoord winger, conspicuous for his frizzy black hair, flicked the ball past Pontus Dahlberg with 18 minutes remaining.

Clear-cut opportunities had been scarce until that point, with Sweden not fashioning a shot of note until Joel Asoro was denied an equaliser by a full-stretch save from Mike van De Meulenhof.


Fernandes factor
Leandro Fernandes's role was twofold. Almost immediately, the Netherlands midfielder dropped into the centre of defence alongside Owen Wijndal and captain De Ligt, only moving further forward when play was deep inside the Sweden half. It allowed him to get on the ball, to instigate attacks, and enabled the Dutch to control possession and push their adventurous full-backs on.

Dutch recovery
Missing four suspended players, Chong among them, Kees van Wonderen's side succumbed 2-0 to Spain on matchday one. They have won their three subsequent games – against Italy, Serbia and now Sweden – without conceding a goal.


Where do the goals come from?
Other than Asoro and Teddy Bergqvist, nobody in the Sweden squad has scored more than three times at U17 level. The forwards, from Sunderland and Malmö respectively, registered all of the Blågult's three goals in the group stage, while Bergqvist was responsible for half of the ten Magnus Wikman's team managed in qualifying. Neither player saw much of the ball this evening, begging the question: if they are quiet, to where do Sweden turn for inspiration?

Magnus Wikman, Sweden coach
We tried to give them a challenge, we did that, but it wasn't good enough. We feel bad at the moment, but in a couple of days we'll reflect on a fantastic two weeks.

Kees van Wonderen, Netherlands coach
It was a difficult game. We knew Sweden were an organised team who don't give many chances away, but we created some by playing football and I think we deserved to win.