Young national team plays last practice game before European Championship draw against Japan
Jong Oranje failed to win the last practice match before the start of the European Championships. The team of national coach Erwin van de Looi played a 0-0 draw against the Olympic team of Japan during the preparatory training camp in Austria.
In exactly one week, the Dutch will play the first group game against Belgium in the Georgian capital Tbilisi at the European Under-21 Championship. Van de Looi, who will be succeeded by Michael Reiziger after the EC, did not really let his cards look in his hands against practice opponent Japan. He used the game to see all his players at work one more time. All but third goalkeeper Jasper Schendelaar got minutes.
“On the one hand, it was because that way everyone can show themselves, so they can play in the plan. On the other hand, players you let play ninety minutes are less taxable in the days after. And we actually want to continue training fully,” Van de Looi explained afterwards.
Both teams created few chances. Ajax attacker Brian Brobbey came into the team in the second half and created some danger, but he also failed to score.
Micky van de Ven, recently named player of the year at Wolfsburg, wore the captain’s armband in the first half. He handed that over to Quinten Timber in the second half.
Van de Looi saw ‘good and lesser things’ at Young Oranje: ‘A lot of information’
Van de Looi could not have Jurgen Ekkelenkamp at his disposal against Japan. The midfielder of Belgian champion Antwerp FC is suffering from ankle and hamstring after a long season and was given some longer rest ahead of the tournament.
In the preparation for the European Championship, the Orange also practiced against Belgium (2-1 win), Romania (0-0), Norway (3-0 win) and the Czech Republic (1-1). According to Van de Looi, the team is well on its way to the first match, which will be played next Wednesday against Young Belgium.
“In terms of soccer, I saw some good things,” the national coach said. “There were also things less, but I thought we were fine today in how we were on the pitch and fought.”