Netherlands v Portugal U21 play-off preview

Two-time winners the Netherlands have the greater pedigree, but back in the play-offs for the first time since 2006 and with a 100% record, Portugal sense an opportunity.

Portugal celebrate en route to making it eight wins from eight in qualifying
Portugal celebrate en route to making it eight wins from eight in qualifying ©FPF

• Portugal and the Netherlands have met five times in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship, winning one apiece with the other three games finishing all-square.

• The Netherlands' victory came in their most recent encounter in 2007, goals from Ryan Babel and Maceo Rigters making it 2-0 before Miguel Veloso pulled one back. Portugal bowed out at the end of the group stage; via a marathon penalty shoot-out, the Jong Oranje lifted the trophy.

• Paulo Ferreira was in the Portugal side that won 3-0 when the teams faced off in Felgueiras in qualifying in 2001, going on to finish two points clear of their opponents in the group. The Dutch lineup that day included Arjen Robben, Dirk Kuyt and Rafael van der Vaart.

• The Jong Oranje are one of four nations – along with England, Italy and Spain – to have claimed back-to-back U21 titles. They picked up the trophy in 2006 and 2007.

• Rui Jorge's Portugal were eliminated at the qualifying round stage during the 2011–13 campaign, but the former CF Os Belensenses coach kept his job and repaid the faith shown by guiding the U21s into the play-offs for the first time since 2006.

Play-off records (ties): Netherlands – W3 L2; Portugal – W4 L1

Highlights of Netherlands v Portugal in 2007
Highlights of Netherlands v Portugal in 2007

Qualifying campaigns
Netherlands: W5 D1 L2 F22 A6 (Group 3 runners-up)
Portugal: W8 D0 L0 F22 A6 (Group 8 winners)

• The Netherlands, three points ahead with two games to go, stumbled over the line in the end. Back-to-back 1-0 defeats allowed Slovakia – who inflicted the second loss – to finish a point above them.

Portugal made serene progress through the group stage and are the only side to arrive at the play-offs with a 100% record. The closest anyone came to spoiling that came last November when Israel were holding them 3-3 with four minutes left – only for Bernardo Silva to settle matters.

The Netherlands celebrate their 2007 win
The Netherlands celebrate their 2007 win©Getty Images

Coaches' view
Adrie Koster, Netherlands:
"We are up against strong opponents, but when you want to be European champions, you have to win play-offs. Portugal are a technical team like us. It'll be an interesting tie. My team have shown they're capable of playing good football. We have quite a good team and it's good for their development to play against strong opponents."

Rui Jorge, Portugal: "If you look at the rankings, the Dutch are always very strong, they are always well regarded. They always play good football, technical football. We're going to have two great matches. It doesn't matter that we play away from home first. The main thing is for us to play well and go through."

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