Young national team starts EC 0-0 against Belgium after shaky performance
The Netherlands started the European Under-21 Championship with a draw against Belgium: 0-0. National coach Erwin van de Looi’s team will play its second group game next Saturday against Portugal, which surprisingly lost 2-0 to host Georgia.
With an entrance fee of 3 euros per ticket, the European Championship organization had hoped to get the stadium in Tbilisi somewhat full, but the Georgians did not warm to promising Belgium and the Netherlands.
The fans who did bother to come to Meskhi Stadium saw a nice playing Orange before halftime.
Kenneth Taylor shot against the post in the opening stages and moments later Brian Brobbey failed to hit the ball properly in a good position, then Crysencio Summerville missed in the rebound.
The Dutch were then unlucky when a Summerville effort went just short of the goal via the leg of Belgian defender Koni De Winter.
Just before halftime, the Belgians suddenly had a gigantic chance. Charles De Ketelaere sent Loïs Openda into the depths with a beautiful pass (outside foot). The former Vitesse attacker then found the excellent goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen in his path.
The second half saw a completely different face. Orange hardly got back to attacking, while Belgium created more and more chances.
Devyne Rensch almost shot into his own goal, but the crossbar saved the defender and Orange. Belgium was getting stronger. De Ketelaere shot wide and standout Verbruggen twice kept Michel-Ange Balikwisha from scoring.
Hartman misses in closing stages
There was still a good shooting chance for Hartman in the closing stages. A fortunate win for the Orange was not in the cards, however, as the Feyenoord player shot wide.
The scoreless draw was ultimately a result that Orange in particular will be at peace with based on the mediocre second half.