Dutch, Spaniards cruise into semis

Dutch thrash Russia 5-1, while Spain required yet another late goal to defeat Germany 1-0 in European Under-21 Championship semifinals.

June 10, 2013 06:19
1 minute read.
ISRAEL WAS able to score two goals and almost win on Wednesday night .

Israel u21 soccer team celebrate 370. (photo credit: (Baz Ratner/Reuters))

The Netherlands and Spain booked their places in the European Under-21 Championship semifinals on Sunday with their second wins in two matches in Israel.

The Dutch thrashed Russia 5-1 at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, while defending-champion Spain required yet another late goal to defeat Germany 1-0 in Netanya.

After edging Germany 3-2 in their thrilling opener last week thanks to Leroy Fer’s 90th-minute strike, the Netherlands left nothing to chance on Sunday, completely outplaying the miserable Russians.

Georginio Wijnaldum opened the scoring six minutes before halftime with a superb strike and the Netherlands were in complete control after Nikita Chicherin was sent off five minutes after the break.

Luuk de Jong doubled the lead in the 61st minute, and Denis Cheryshev’s strike (65) was little consolation for Russia after Ola John (69) and substitutes Danny Hoesen (83) and Fer (92) capped the scoring.

“I think we deserved the halftime lead and then in the second half after the red card it was a little bit easier for us to play,” said Netherlands coach Cor Pot.

“We lost our concentration a little bit and they scored their goal, and I had memories of the last match against Germany when they got it back to 2-2. We had a little bit of panic, but we picked it up again and after we scored the third the game was over for Russia.”

Spain only edged Russia 1-0 in their opener thanks to Álvaro Morata’s 82ndminute winner and the Real Madrid striker came to his team’s rescue once more on Sunday.

Spain entered the tournament as a clear favorite to lift a second straight title boasting an experienced squad, which boasts five players who took part in the successful 2011 campaign, namely Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, FC Barcelona’s Thiago Alcántara and Martín Montoya, plus Iker Muniain of Athletic Club.

A recent debutant for the senior Spain team, Málaga’s Isco, along with fellow full international Thiago, are also part of the star-studded squad, which yet again only barely grinded out a result.

After entering the match in the 72nd minute, the 20-year-old Morata netted the winner with a solo effort four minutes from time to knockout Germany and ensure Wednesday’s showdown between Spain and the Netherlands will be a battle to decide the group winner.

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