As countries get their World Cup Qualifying campaigns off to a good, bad, or indifferent start, the group qualifying for the U21 European competition next year has finished.
There are still play-offs to come, but the vast majority of teams now know whether they’re going or not. And the Netherlands are not.
The country’s national teams aren’t having the best of times right now, the senior team failed to qualify for Euro 2016, and will have a hard task qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
It’s disappointing for the Dutch U21 selection, who had expected to qualify, but then lost their striker Vincent Janssen to the senior set-up. Because the age is judged at the start of the qualifying, Janssen was young enough and had been doing well.
So well indeed that he’s still the Netherlands top scorer in the qualifying campaign, despite moving up and therefore missing a chunk of it.
Former Netherlands U21 coach Foppe de Haan has sympathised and told NOS: “Before they had someone like Vincent Janssen who did very well, he’s still the top scorer of the team in the qualifying series, which.. says enough of course “
“You always need a finisher for a team. I had in my time as coach, first Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and a year later Ryan Babel. They were both top scorers. It’s a team, but it’s easier when you have such players in your team.”