Klaas shines through
By Alex Livie
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Dutch received a confidence boost ahead of the World Cup finals.
The Dutch received a confidence boost ahead of the World Cup finals with their Under-21 side lifting the European Championship.
Holland are famed for producing outstanding young footballers and the present crop has been heralded in their own country for some time.
The players lived up to the billing on Sunday with a 3-0 win over Ukraine.
Klaas Jan Huntelaar came close to a World Cup call-up and he proved his quality with the opening goal just 11 minutes in. He took control of a long ball from Nicky Hofs before slotting home superbly.
Ukraine responded well, with Taras Mikhalik and Alexei Godin going close before the Dutch doubled their advantage.
The Ajax man converted a penalty on 43 minutes to hand the Jong Oranje a cushion.
Substitutes Maxym Feschuk and Olexandr Aliyev sparked Ukraine in the second half, but they failed to show the striking qualities of Huntelaar and their hopes of a fightback were effectively ended when Olaxandr Romanchuk was dismissed 13 minutes from time.
With Ukraine a spent force, Hofs netted a third in the last minute to cap a fine display from Foppe de Haan's men.
The victory was sweet revenge for the Dutch who had been beaten by Ukraine on the opening day of the competition.
National coach Marco van Basten is sure to have been keeping an eye on the match, as he hinted that one of the younger players would be called up if any of Wesley Sneijder, Philip Cocu or Rafael van der Vaart failed to shake off their injuries.