The Netherlands came within an ace of winning their third UEFA European Under-17 Championship in four years back in May, only to lose the final on penalties to England having recorded ten straight victories on their way to the decider.
Still, there was a consolation as captain Keziah Veendorp was invited to UEFA headquarters in Nyon earlier this month to receive the UEFA Respect Fair Play trophy on behalf of his team. The 17-year-old FC Groningen defender looked back at the tournament with UEFA.com and had his say on whether this season's squad can go one step further than his.
UEFA.com: Is there one particular memory you have from Malta?
Keziah Veendorp: The memory that stands out is the final. We lost against England so it's not a great memory but it's the one that stays with me.
UEFA.com: Why did you do so well, winning all your group games?
Veendorp: We really were a team – not just the starting XI, but the whole staff and the other players on the bench; that togetherness was our strength.
UEFA.com: Then you did even better in the semi-final ...
Veendorp: The Scotland semi-final was a nice game; we won 5-0. It was a great feeling after the game and we went to the final with a great feeling. Really good memories. Segun [Owobowale] scored a really nice goal and we were really happy.
UEFA.com: What are your reflections on the final?
Veendorp: It was a typical final; 1-1 and then extra time and penalties so it was tight. We were tired and England were too, but everyone was giving 100%.
UEFA.com: What are your next ambititons?
Veendorp: I'm playing for Groningen, I want to rise higher, get to the first team but time will tell. I have to take a few steps before that. You always dream to play for the senior national team and a big dream of mine is playing in the Spanish league or England.
UEFA.com: What do you think of this season's U17 team?
Veendorp: This year's team have a few really good players. There are a few playing in England – one for Manchester United [Timothy Fosu-Mensah], two for Manchester City [Javairô Dilrosun and Rodney Kongolo]. I think they are really good players. I've seen them play.
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