Journalism competition winner Alex Turk reports on the Euro U17 final

Alex Turk, the second winner of a journalism competition run by The FA, UEFA and content aggregation company Wakelet, gives the Netherlands manager's reaction after their triumph over Italy in the UEFA U-17 European Championships.

Monday 21 May 2018
The Netherlands celebrate their winning goal against Italy

Netherlands head coach Kees Van Wonderen Kees expressed his delight at winning the 2018 UEFA U17 European Championships following an exhilarating final in Rotherham on Sunday evening.

Jurriën Maduro opened the scoring six minutes after half-time before goals from Italy’s Samuele Ricci and Alessio Riccardi turned the match on its head in the space of three minutes just past the hour mark.

Substitute Brian Brobbey’s 74th-minute equaliser meant it was the sixth Final in seven to go to penalties, where the Netherlands’ Joey Koorevaar saved two spot-kicks to help his country win 4-1 and equal Spain’s record of three UEFA U17 European Championships.

An overjoyed head coach Van Wonderen Kees joined the media after for more than an hour of post-match celebrations and wasn’t shy to express his jubilation at the end of a successful tournament.

He said: “My first reaction is unbelievable happiness. We worked from start to finish, we learned all the way and gave the players chances to be in environments against different sorts of opponents.

“To the end they fought for the result, for Dutch football and for themselves. It gives us the feeling back that we needed after a difficult period. It's unbelievable to experience that with players with the hearts of lions. It was such an emotional game, even on the bench.”

It was 69th-minute substitute Brobbey who saved the Netherlands’ hopes just five minutes after being introduced, and Van Wonderen Kees gave recognition to the impact his substitutes made on such a tense contest.

He added: “Playing well, starting well, losing grip of the game then getting control in the second half, scoring, then in a couple of minutes going 2-1 down. It looked difficult to come back, but the team kept fighting and the subs made a difference.”

By Alex Turk