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Romania vs Netherlands: Under-21 EURO background, form guide, previous meetings

Two sides whose most recent finals campaigns ended in the semi-finals meet in the opening round of Group A games.

PLOIESTI, Romania's U21s line up in qualifying
PLOIESTI, Romania's U21s line up in qualifying Getty Images

Two sides whose most recent UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals campaigns ended in the semi-finals meet in the opening round of Group A games as Romania face the Netherlands at the Bozsik Stadion in Budapest.

• While Romania reached the last four in Italy two years ago, the Dutch have not featured in the final tournament since 2013, when they were beaten at the same stage.

Previous meetings

2021 Under-21 EUROs: Meet the teams
2021 Under-21 EUROs: Meet the teams

• This is only the sides' fourth competitive meeting at Under-21 level, and a first in almost 16 years. They were last paired together in qualifying for the 2006 finals, when each recorded a 2-0 home win. A goal in each half from Andrei Prepeliţă (21 pen) and Costin Curelea (81) earned Romania a 2-0 victory in Urziceni on 25 March 2005. The Dutch turned the tables in Rotterdam on 3 June the same year, Nicky Hofs (87) and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (90+4) striking in the final stages to secure a win by the same scoreline.

• That loss in Romania proved to be the Netherlands' only qualifying defeat. They went on to finish first in Group 1 on 23 points and ultimately lifted the trophy in Portugal; Romania, third behind the Czech Republic on 19 points, failed to make the finals.

• The Netherlands were victorious in their 1998 quarter-final against Romania in Bucharest, goals from Nordin Wooter (16) and John de Jong (79) overturning Cosmin Contra's seventh-minute opener for the tournament hosts.

• The Dutch finished in fourth place at those 1998 finals; Romania were eighth having lost all three matches.

2021 Under-21 EURO: The host cities
2021 Under-21 EURO: The host cities

Form guide
Romania
• This is Romania's third appearance at the U21 EURO finals, and the first time they have qualified for successive tournaments.

• In 2019, a team coached by Mirel Rădoi progressed unbeaten through the qualifying phase (W7 D3) and then finished first in Group C at the final tournament, winning the section ahead of France – with whom they finished level on seven points – England and Croatia.

• Germany proved too strong in the semi-finals, however, scoring two late goals to win 4-2 – Romania's first competitive U21 defeat in 14 games (W9 D4), since a 2-0 qualifying loss in Bulgaria in October 2016.

• That was Romania's first appearance in the finals since they lost that 1998 quarter-final at home to the Netherlands. They lost all three games at the 1998 tournament, subsequently going down to Germany (0-1 aet) and Russia (1-2) to finish in eighth place.

• This time round, Adrian Mutu – who replaced Rădoi in January 2020 – guided Romania to the finals as the fifth best second-placed side overall, his team having finished as runners-up to Denmark in Group 8 (W6 D2 L2). Romania collected 20 points to end six behind the Danes but four ahead of third-placed Ukraine.

2019 Under-21 EURO review
2019 Under-21 EURO review

Netherlands
• The Dutch have missed out on the last three U21 EURO final tournaments; this is their first appearance since losing to Italy in the 2013 semi-finals.

• Champions in Portugal in 2006 and again on home soil 12 months later, this is the Netherlands' sixth appearance in an eight or 12-team final tournament. They also reached the two-legged semi-finals in 1988.

• In the qualifying campaign for the 2019 finals, a team coached by Erwin van de Looi – who has been in charge since May 2018 – finished second behind England in their section.

• This time round, Van de Looi oversaw a near immaculate qualifying campaign, the Dutch finishing as top scorers overall with 46 goals – nine more than any other side – and winning nine of their ten fixtures. A 2-1 defeat by Portugal in their final encounter was not enough to prevent them finishing first in Group 7, above their opponents on head-to-head record.

How the under-21 finals were won 1996-2017
How the under-21 finals were won 1996-2017

Links and trivia
• Romania coach Mutu captained the senior side in a 0-0 draw against the Netherlands in the UEFA EURO 2008 preliminaries on 24 March. The striker also featured in a 2-0 Dutch win in 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying on 4 June 2005, Romania's 1-0 victory on 13 October 2007 and a 2-0 loss at UEFA EURO 2008 itself.

• Mutu also made two appearances, both as a substitute, against the Netherlands in 2014 World Cup qualifying, a 4-1 Romania defeat on 16 October 2012 and a 4-0 loss on 26 March 2013 – his final appearance for Romania. His overall record against the Netherlands was therefore W1 D1 L5.

• Have played in the Netherlands:
Andrei Rațiu (ADO Den Haag loan 2020–)
Tudor Băluță (ADO Den Haag loan 2020)