Despite picking up the tournament's top scorer award alongside Lennart Thy, Netherlands striker Luc Castaignos was inconsolable after his side's 2-1 UEFA European Under-17 Championship final loss to hosts Germany.
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Despite picking up the tournament's top scorer award alongside Lennart Thy, Netherlands striker Luc Castaignos was inconsolable after his side's 2-1 loss to Germany, which gave the hosts the UEFA European Under-17 Championship title.
Castaignos had given the Netherlands an eighth-minute lead in front of a U17 record crowd of 24,000 at Stadion Magdeburg and then almost doubled his tally when he hit the post. However, Thy equalised before half-time and after the game went into extra time, Florian Trinks struck a fantastic free-kick with three minutes remaining to secure Germany's maiden triumph at this level. And although he finished joint top in the goalscorers' race with three goals, Castaignos admitted it could in no way soften the blow of falling at the final hurdle, saying he felt "absolute disappointment".
The Feyenoord striker pointed to his side's fast start to the game, but ultimately put the defeat down to not maintaining their momentum. "We started well and scored a good goal," Castaignos said. "We could have had a second goal and I was little bit disappointed to hit the post. We were playing good football but started playing too much of the long ball game and that was the beginning of the end. The Germans came on strong and got that free-kick at the end."
The Netherlands lost 2-0 to Germany in the teams' final Group B fixture last Tuesday, but Castaignos believed the Dutch had found a way to beat their opponents. "We learnt the lesson that if we played football we can beat them and you see that when we played the ball, the Germans were scared," he added. "It hurts that we lost."
Veltman looks forward
Team-mate Jöel Veltman said the Netherlands had performed admirably over the course of the tournament. "Of course I am proud," the AFC Ajax defender said. "When you look at the other contenders, to be among the two best countries in Europe, I am definitely very proud. It was a fantastic feeling [to be part of the squad]," he added. "We worked hard for each other. Unfortunately we didn't become champions, but it was still a great time." Veltman, who said that Trinks's winning free-kick was "a one time out of a 100" shot, is now looking forward to the next goal for the Dutch squad – the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria this autumn. "The competition gets even better, there will be great teams there. We'll start anew, do our best, and see what happens."