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Van la Parra's unhappy homecoming

The Netherlands' Rajiv van la Parra said "it hurts" to have lost 4-1 to France in the stadium where he plays his club football, adding that his side were forced to take risks in their Group A opener.

France captain Gueïda Fofana (right) chases Rajiv van la Parra during the hosts' 4-1 win in Caen
France captain Gueïda Fofana (right) chases Rajiv van la Parra during the hosts' 4-1 win in Caen ©Sportsfile

The Netherlands' 4-1 loss to France in their UEFA European Under-19 Championship Group A opener in Caen was doubly disappointing for the Jong Oranje's Rajiv van la Parra because the setback came in the stadium where he plays his club football.

The midfielder scored once in eight appearances for SM Caen last season as the Normandy outfit made an immediate return to the French top flight as Ligue 2 champions. Lining up at the Stade Michel-d'Ornano in front of more than 11,000 spectators should have been something to savour for the 19-year-old. The hosts quickly made it an evening to forget for Van la Parra and Co, however, scoring twice in each half in front of France coach Laurent Blanc and one of his predecessors, Gérard Houllier. "It's OK to play here at the Stade Michel d'Ornano, but it's better if you win," he told UEFA.com. "I haven't won and now this hurts."

The Netherlands improved after the break – reducing their arrears early on through Jerson Cabral – but their underwhelming first-half display ultimately left Wim van Zwam's team chasing the game, paving the way for the hosts to add two more late on. "The second half was better than the first, but if we had scored to make it 2-2 it would have been easier," said the former Feyenoord trainee.

"We didn't score the second goal and if you don't do that you need to take a few risks," added Van la Parra, an ever-present throughout his country's run to the finals. "That's what happens; if you score the second goal it's OK but if you need to look for the second you have to take a few risks. It didn't work, that's football."