AZ hands out lead in London – No third direct Champions League ticket for the Netherlands

AZ hands out lead in London – No third direct Champions League ticket for the Netherlands

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Tonight AZ and West Ham United kick off in London for the first match in the Conference League semifinals.

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AZ coach Jansen: ‘It’s rest now, going to prepare for second half’

With the reaction of AZ coach Pascal Jansen we close this blog. “It’s rest now, we’re going to prepare for second half,” said the coach.

AZ coach Jansen: ‘It’s rest now, going to prepare for second half’

Goalkeeper Reijnders: ‘Missed chance, two game suspensions kill you’

Goal scorer Reijnders: ‘Missed chance, two game suspensions kill you’

‘West Ham fan’ Beukema also enjoying a bit in London: ‘Bit of goosebumps at the club song’

Sam Beukema was not very dissatisfied after AZ’s defeat at West Ham United (2-1) in the away game of the Conference League semifinals. “We got ahead and controlled the game until that penalty kick,” the defender said. “After that 2-1, it became more difficult. It did.”

Beukema fought tough duels with Michail Antonio, the home team’s physically strong striker. “He was on the ground quite often and then didn’t get a free kick,” Beukema said. “But he did score the winning goal. That was unfortunate. The tempo was higher than in the Eredivisie. But we did pretty well.”

West Ham United is Beukema’s favorite team in England. “And I got that confirmation again,” he said. “The atmosphere was fantastic.”

Beukema also enjoying a bit in London: ‘Bit of goosebumps at the club song’

Not another CL ticket for the Netherlands

The Netherlands will definitely not get a third direct Champions League ticket from the 2024/2025 season. That was theoretically possible if the Netherlands knocked France out of fifth place in the UEFA coefficient rankings. However, due to AZ’s defeat at West Ham United, that is no longer possible.

The Netherlands previously secured sixth place in the coefficient rankings at the expense of Portugal, which meant an additional second direct ticket to the Champions League in the 2024/2025 season. The number three of the upcoming premier league season may apply for the preliminary round of the billion-dollar ball.

AS Roma deals first blow to Leverkusen, Juventus and Sevilla play draw

Feyenoord challenger AS Roma has dealt the first blow in the semifinals of the Europa League. In Rome, José Mourinho’s team won 1-0 against Bayer Leverkusen. Edoardo Bove was the match winner.

Edoardo Bove celebrates his hit

Burger wins with Basel at Fiorentina, dream European final alive

Where AZ lost 2-1 at West Ham United, the other Conference League semifinal between Fiorentina and FC Basel ended in a surprising victory for the Swiss. It was 2-1 in Florence thanks to an injury-time goal by Zeki Amdouni.


Juventus down far in injury time to Sevilla

Juventus fans can still cheer in injury time. Federico Gatti kicks in the 1-1 against Sevilla in the Europa League semifinals in the 97th minute.

AZ thanks supporters

Finished in London: narrow defeat AZ at West Ham

AZ will have to rise above themselves next week, as they did earlier against Lazio and Anderlecht, to reach the Conference League final. West Ham United made the difference on Thursday night in the first semi-final after the break: 2-1.

West Ham United players celebrate the second goal against AZ

Basel strike in injury time

Zeki Amdouni surprisingly put FC Basel ahead in injury time at Fiorentina in the other Conference League semifinal: 1-2.

WHU-AZ | 85′ To the end

AZ held up reasonably well until the equalizer, but after that it collapsed a bit. Holding this small deficit until the end seems to be the motto for the weary Alkmaar players.

Basel equalizes at Fiorentina

Andy Diouf equalizes for FC Basel at Fiorentina in the other Conference League semifinal: 1-1. Wouter Burger joins the Swiss.


Goalkeeper Ryan fails to intervene on a corner and after Yukinari Sugawara saves on the line, Michail Antonio shoots in.

West Ham United players celebrate the second goal against AZ

WHU-AZ | 72′ More energy at West Ham

As Lucas Paquetá roused the crowd, more pace and energy came into West Ham’s game with the equalizer. AZ faces a tough final phase.


Said Benrahma shoots in the penalty kick convincingly.

Said Benrahma exploits penalty kick

WHU-AZ | 65′ Penalty Kick West Ham

This is a shame. There is little going on for AZ, but goalkeeper Ryan misses the ball and hits Bowen’s head. West Ham penalty kick.

Roma ahead against Leverkusen

Edoardo Bove helps AS Roma, which beat Feyenoord in the quarterfinals, to a 1-0 lead against Bayer Leverkusen in the semifinals of the Europa League. With Jeremie Frimpong, there is one Dutchman in the base at Leverkusen. Mitchel Bakker comes in in the 35th minute and Timothy Fosu-Mensah remains on the bench for now.

WHU-AZ | 55′ Annoyance at West Ham fans

The second half also goes according to plan for AZ. Many duels are won by AZ and Pascal Jansen’s team hardly gets into trouble and plays fine soccer at times.

The English crowd is annoyed. With the referee, with the time-wasting of the AZ players, but also with their own players who can’t find a way to hurt AZ.

Lucas Paquetá (l) and Tijjani Reijnders (r)

West Ham United and AZ start the second half. No changes at either team.

Conference League cup beckons

The Conference League cup stands by the side in London. Beckoning to AZ? On June 7 is the final in Prague.

Conference League cup

AS Roma-Bayer Leverkusen 0-0

Fiorentina celebrates Arthur Cabral’s 1-0.

AZ are actually ahead 1-0 at West Ham United at halftime. This is what the Alkmaarders had hoped for. A strong performance by AZ in the first half. West Ham seem to have underestimated the Alkmaarders a bit.

Half-time score: West Ham United-AZ 0-1

Nayef Aguerd (l) and Vangelis Pavlidis (r)


Reijnders pops AZ into the lead! The midfielder’s shot from distance goes through goalkeeper Aréola into the goal. A mistake by the goalkeeper, but who cares. The Alikmaarders lead in London!

AZ celebrates Reijnders’ goal

WHU-AZ | 40′ Not high quality

It is not yet particularly high quality from either side. The home team is more dangerous and most of the game takes place in Alkmaar’s half. But AZ’s play looks good. The plan seems to be right, as AZ hardly gets into trouble.

Odgaard goes to the ground after he gets the arm of West Ham captain Rice in the face. The Dane cries out, but it turns out to be not too bad. No intent was involved, either. The crowd judges Odgaard’s fall as a schwalbe and whistles the AZ striker out.

Goals in Florence and Turin

Fiorentina takes a 1-0 lead through Arthur Cabral against FC Basel in the other Conference League semifinal.

In the Europa League, Sevilla takes the lead at Juventus: 0-1. Moroccan striker Youssef En-Nesyri scores on a pass from ex-Ajacied Lucas Ocampos.

Where earlier Beukema lost the ball in a dangerous spot, it is now Van Brederode who hands the ball in just outside his own penalty area. Bowen takes advantage and then goes down. Not a penalty kick, referee Halil Umut Meler thinks.

Left back Mees de Wit receives a justified yellow card from referee Halil Umut Meler for a firm tackle on Benrahma’s ankle. The first yellow of the match.

With a splendid save, AZ goalkeeper prevents a West Ham goal. Said Benrahma had in mind a beautifully placed ball into the corner, but Ryan’s long arm turns it into a corner.

Just before that, Clasie tried from distance on behalf of AZ. The shot went a few meters wide. A shot by Van Brederode moments later landed in the hands of goalkeeper Aréola.

Myron van Brederode shoots

WHU-AZ | 6′ Mistake by Beukema leads to danger

Ball loss by Beukema leads to a chance for West Ham. Captain Rice crossed and Bowen’s header missed the target. Behind Bowen, Soucek was completely free. A warning for AZ.

Pavlidis kicks off. The ball rolls, West Ham United-AZ has started.


As the bubbles fly through the air, tension rises at London Stadium. The teams enter the field for West Han United-AZ.


As the stadium slowly fills up, the teams begin warming up. Another half hour, then it burns loose in the Conference League semifinals.

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    Warm-up AZ
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    AZ fans in stands

Good times for the AZ supporters. With just under three thousand marching through London on their way to West Ham United’s stadium.

With dog ‘Bubbles’ on the way to duel with AZ

NOS commentator Jeroen Elshoff gauges the mood of West Ham United fans ahead of the game with AZ and comes across many ‘Bubbles’, even a dog, named after the club song ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’.

West Ham fans with dog ‘Bubbles’ heading to duel with AZ

West Ham United line-up: Zouma back

At West Ham United, Kurt Zouma returns to the starting lineup. The French defender appears to have recovered in time from an ankle injury he suffered in the 4-3 loss to Crystal Palace in late April. Coach David Moyes expected Zouma would not be available against AZ on Wednesday.

Zouma will take the place of Italian Angelo Ogbonna in defense. The only other change from Sunday’s game with Manchester United is a goalkeeper change: Alphonse Aréola replaces Lukasz Fabianski. The French goalkeeper is the Hammers’ regular goalkeeper in Europe.

Line-up AZ: Odgaard, Mees de Wit and Van Brederode start

Jens Odgaard will start at AZ. The Danish striker fell out with a toe injury in Saturday’s away match against Ajax. A modified shoe will allow Odgaard to play in London.

Suspended left back Milos Kerkez will be replaced by Mees de Wit and Myron van Brederode will play in place of the injured Jesper Karlsson.

Setup AZ

Selection inspects the field

AZ just arrived at the stadium and the selection inspects the pitch in London. Another hour and a half to go!

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    AZ selection enters the field
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    AZ selection enters the field

Jeroen Stekelenburg from London: ‘West Ham-AZ is ripple in the pond here’

Jeroen Stekelenburg from London: ‘West Ham-AZ is ripple in the pond here’

Quiet now, soon the radio will be on!

NOS commentator has found his place in the stadium. West Ham United – AZ can be followed live via Langs de Lijn En Omstreken on NPO Radio 1. The broadcast starts at 8:20 p.m.

Odgaard plays with custom shoe against West Ham

AZ will have Jens Odgaard at their disposal tonight. The Danish striker dropped out shortly before half-time in Saturday’s away match against Ajax in the Eredivisie (0-0). That was the result of a toe injury he sustained two weeks earlier in the meeting with RKC Waalwijk (3-0).

Odgaard will play in London with a modified shoe. The inclusion of Odgaard is a windfall for Jansen, who will miss his entire left flank against West Ham. Left back Milos Kerkez is suspended and will be replaced by Mees de Wit. Jesper Karlsson is still injured. Myron van Brederode normally plays in his spot. Swede Mayckel Lahdo, who replaced Odgaard against Ajax, is another option at that position as a base player.

The long-time injured Bruno Martins Indi and Dani de Wit will not be there in London.

Jens Odgaard

AZ again with ‘a Meerdink’ semifinalist in Europe: ‘Showing own game’

The UEFA Cup in 1981 and 2005 and now the Conference League. AZ from Alkmaar is again among the four best clubs in a European tournament this season. Martijn Meerdink is one of the players who made it to the semifinals with AZ in 2005. There, deep into the extension against Sporting CP (without the injured Meerdink) things went dramatically wrong, after a memorable campaign had preceded it.

Nineteen-year-old Mexx is Meerdink’s eldest son. The talented striker recently achieved success with AZ’s top youth team, winning the Youth League, and in recent months experienced his breakthrough in the first team. With the first, Mexx is now in London. Father Martijn: “He is making nice steps.”

Martijn Meerdink in 2005

Now empty at London Stadium

Starting at 7 p.m., the stadium will begin to fill up. Now London Stadium is still empty. Fine skies are already present over the stadium though.

London Stadium

West Ham: great footballers, few prizes and, above all, an unaccustomed stadium

While soccer city London is best known for its top clubs Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, West Ham United also has a remarkably large fan base. The club has many fans in the east of the city and also in surrounding regions such as Essex and Kent.

Chris Gotobed has been attending his club’s games for decades. He points out that West Ham draws 60,000 for home games, even though it has not won any major prizes in recent decades. “That says it all. West Ham has always had a lot of fans.”

Declan Rice, West Ham’s new star

Moyes not leaning towards AZ: ‘Young players exceptionally good’

For West Ham coach David Moyes, it is a reunion with the club from Alkmaar. In 2007, the Scot also played against AZ with Everton. Then Everton won 2-3.

According to Moyes, reaching the final “would be fantastic”. “Getting to a final is something big for every team. Everyone wants to be successful, which is very difficult. Getting to the semifinals last year was great. Now we hope we can take it a step further and make the final.”

West Ham coach Moyes praises approach to AZ: ‘Model with interesting young players’

For AZ coach Jansen, duel with West Ham is extra special: ‘Feels familiar’

For AZ coach Pascal Jansen, the away match against West Ham United is not only special on a sporting level. He is playing with his team in London, the city where he was born 50 years ago. “It feels familiar,” he said.

Jansen was born in 1972 to Hans Jansen and British singer Sue Chaloner. She wanted her son to be born in England. Although Jansen grew up in the Netherlands, he maintains a special bond with the country where he was born.

AZ coach Jansen back on London birthplace: ‘Feels familiar’

AZ is everywhere, including under Tower Bridge

AZ supporters gathered at Victoria Park in London on Thursday afternoon. In the pub The People’s Park Tavern, fans are living up to the Conference League semi-final against West Ham United. But also elsewhere in the metropolis the presence of the Alkmaarders is visible, with a little imagination even under Tower Bridge.

The atmosphere in cloudy and somewhat drizzly London, home to 2,900 AZ supporters, is convivial. From 7 p.m. the Alkmaar supporters walk with torches and decorative fireworks to the Olympic Stadium, which is filled with over 60,000 fans during the match. That route takes them about 25 minutes.

AZ in London

WHU-AZ | Preview with a look back

Tears at AZ

When AZ was seconds from final: ‘That one word does stick’

At AZ’s European semifinal against West Ham United, thoughts in Alkmaar also quickly wander back to last time they reached the last four.

“The moment is still sometimes passed by in documentaries. Then I always think: but when exactly does it happen? After all, the match seemed to be over already. Then it’s just as painful to see again,” said Kenneth Perez.

The Dane was one of the goal scorers in the return match of the UEFA Cup semifinal against Sporting Portugal in 2005, in which AZ had forced an extension and made it 3-1 in that match. Enough for the final, which AZ eventually miraculously missed out on.

WHU-AZ | AZ supporters confident: ‘We are going to get the win here in London’

Nearly 3,000 AZ fans will be in the stadium tonight for the match against West Ham United. A few are fans have already traveled earlier and are very confident of a good result.

AZ supporters confident: ‘We are going to get the win here in London’

WHU-AZ | West Ham: Road to the semi-final

As last season’s number seven in the Premier League, West Ham United had to start the European season in the Conference League playoffs. In them, Denmark’s Viborg was swept aside.

In a group with Anderlecht, Silkeborg and Romanian FCSB, the English finished proudly on top with six wins in as many games.

In the knockout phase, AEK Larnaca were brought to knee in the eighth finals (2-0, 4-0) before conquering Belgium’s KAA Gent in the quarter-finals. After a 1-1 draw in Belgium, it became 4-1 in London.

WHU-AZ | AZ: Road to the semi-final

AZ managed to win the playoffs for European soccer after last year’s fifth-place finish in the premier league. It earned the Alkmaarders a starting ticket to the second qualifying round of the Conference League.

Bosnian Tuzla were simply swept aside after a 1-0 win in Alkmaar and a 4-0 victory in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the third round, Dundee United was the opponent. AZ lost 1-0 in Scotland, but in their own AFAS stadium they won 7-0. The Portuguese Gil Vicente was the opponent in the playoffs. AZ won 4-0 in Alkmaar and then won 2-1 in Portugal.

In the group stage AZ met FC Vaduz from Liechtenstein, Apollon Limassol from Cyprus and Ukrainian Dnipro-1. with five wins and one defeat AZ won the group.

Then Lazio awaited in the eighth finals. AZ won both meetings 2-1 after which Anderlecht was the opponent in the quarter-finals. After a 2-0 defeat in Belgium, they won 2-0 in Alkmaar. After the extension, AZ took the penalties better.

Strength West Ham lies in midfield, AZ’s chances are at the back

Team photo West Ham United prior to quarterfinal against KAA Gent

With West Ham United, AZ will certainly not meet a big unknown tonight in the Conference League semifinals, but for the average soccer follower it will still be no mean feat to name the Hammers’ starting eleven. It is no Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool or Manchester United.

Last Sunday, Scottish coach David Moyes’ team won 1-0 over Erik ten Hags United, taking a big step toward survival in the Premier League. West Ham is now fifteenth in the Premier League. We introduce the team.

Tonight at 9 p.m. AZ and West Ham United kick off in London for the first match in the Conference League semifinals. Fiorentina and FC Basel face each other in the other semifinal.

Furthermore, we have also arrived at the semifinals of the Europa League:

9 p.m.: AS Roma – Bayer Leverkusen

9 p.m.: Juventus – Sevilla

Kayleigh Williams