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Netherlands beat England to pinch top spot

England 0-2 Netherlands
Calvin Verdonk's strike and Dani van der Moot's first touch confirmed the Dutch as Group A winners, meaning England play Portugal in the semis.

Netherlands beat England to pinch top spot
Netherlands beat England to pinch top spot ©UEFA.com

The Netherlands beat England 2-0 to pip John Peacock's charges to first place in UEFA European Under-17 Championship Group A.

The Young Lions looked like getting at least the point they needed to go through as section winners until the game burst into life on 45 minutes when Calvin Verdonk finished spectacularly from fully 30 metres out. Dani van der Moot's header, barely ten seconds after he came on, sealed the three points. England will face Portugal in Sunday's semi-finals, while the Netherlands will come up against Scotland.

The Dutch decision to make only three changes to England's seven hinted at their intent to get the victory they required. Indeed they were more menacing from the off, Segun Owobowale missing the target when through inside the first minute. Bilal Ould-Chikh was the Jong Oranje's primary threat for the rest of the first half, testing Sam Howes on one occasion and firing wide on another.

Though Kenneth Paal also chanced his arm early on, arguably the best opportunity of the opening period fell to England, Joshua Sims snatching at his shot from the edge of the area just after the half-hour.

Maarten Stekelenburg's team did have the better of things prior to the interval, but there was little hint of what was to come just five minutes after it. There looked to be no danger when Verdonk collected the ball, yet the centre-back unleashed a vicious, swerving effort which nestled in the top corner.

On came the cavalry; first Adam Armstrong, second Patrick Roberts, but the Netherlands remained dangerous on the counterattack and would have doubled their lead had Abdelhak Nouri's cute chip not floated just over the crossbar. Equally deft was Ould-Chikh's cross after England had been caught out by a short corner. On the field for less than a minute, Van der Moot made no mistake and headed firmly past Howes. England had won all eight previous fixtures in this campaign.