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Debutants help Netherlands win in Croatia

Croatia 2-3 Netherlands
Jürgen Locadia and Tonny Trindade de Vilhena enhanced their claims for a place in Cor Pot's finals squad by scoring on their first U21 outings.

Tonny Trindade de Vilhena impressed on his first appearance for the U21s
Tonny Trindade de Vilhena impressed on his first appearance for the U21s ©Sportsfile

Jürgen Locadia and Tonny Trindade de Vilhena marked their debuts with a goal apiece as the Netherlands Under-21s came from behind to defeat Croatia 3-2 in a friendly held in Pula.

Trailing to Andrej Kramarić's early strike, Cor Pot's men went in level at the break courtesy of Luuk de Jong's 45th-minute header. The UEFA European Under-21 Championship finalists took control in the second period, scoring through PSV Eindhoven striker Locadia and Feyenoord midfielder De Vilhena, rendering Ivan Boras's late effort a mere consolation.

De Jong, Rajiv van la Parra, Lerin Duarte and Leandro Bacuna had all wasted chances to cancel out Kramarić's seventh-minute opener by the time of the equaliser on the cusp of half-time. Duarte was the provider, delivering a free-kick which De Jong headed in.

Pot made eight changes at the interval, among them giving debuts to defender Mike van der Hoorn, midfielders Thomas Bruns and De Vilhena and forwards Jean-Paul Boëtius and Locadia. Two of them enhanced their cases for inclusion in the squad which in June will travel to the finals in Israel, where Germany, Russia and Spain will provide the opposition in Group B.

First, Locadia put the visitors ahead when he finished off a deep pass from Bruns just after the hour. Then De Vilhena, a member of the Dutch squad that won the 2011 and 2012 UEFA European U17 Championships, gave Pot's team a two-goal advantage from close range with a quarter of an hour left. Victory was never in doubt from there on, despite Boras's intervention.

Netherlands: Zoet (Bizot 46); Leerdam, Van Dijk (Van der Hoorn 46), Nuytinck (Bruma 46), Van Aanholt; Van Haaren (Bruns 46), Van la Parra (Jozefzoon 46), Duarte; Bacuna (De Vilhena 46), Wildschut (Boëtius 46), De Jong (Locadia 46).