Netherlands forward Joel Piroe struck a shock second half hat-trick to condemn a stunned Germany to a 1-4 defeat in their opening game of The European U19 Championship in Tbilisi yesterday.
The much-anticipated tie started in rather dull fashion, as a midfield battle ensued in the opening stages of a racy encounter. Germany went into the clash as favourites despite disappointing at The U20 World Cup in Korea and looked to lay those demons to rest when Robin Hack raced forward early but nothing came of the chance. The best of Germany’s early chances would fall to midfielder Etienne Amenyido, but the 19-year-old could only fluff his lines when he breached the Dutch defence.
The German dominance continued throughout the first quarter of the game, but still no clear-cut chances were created with Gorkem Sagram firing over the bar from range twice, as the Netherlands struggled to gain a grip on the game. Shortly after Amenyido failed to gain control of a ball in the box, the boys in orange were on the break and in search of an unlikely lead. Manchester City prospect Javairo Dilrosun went on a blistering run and unleashed an accurate shot at goal, only for the German keeper Eike Bansen to deny him. Amenyido found himself clean through on Dutch keeper and captain Justin Bijlow again, but again the No 9 could not find the target. However, Germany would come even closer to a lead on the stroke of half-time when a corner from Dennis Geiger was saved at the near post by Bijlow. Despite a barrage of Deutschland opportunities in the first half, the score was goalless going into half-time.
Frank Kramer’s men would start the second half in the exact same vein that they ended the first half and it wouldn’t be long before they led. Two minutes to be precise, when Sidney Friede flashed a fantastic ball across the box and Aymen Barkok was left to finish into an empty net to put the favourites ahead. However, the lead would last only two minutes as Piroe nodded in the first of his three goals from close range after a sumptuous ball from the left by Ferdi Kadioglu. The game had burst into life within a period of five minutes and it could have been advantage Holland when Piroe raced through again only to be halted by a stern German defence.
The game ebbed and flowed as the hour mark approached, chances fell to both sides and most notably Saglam who could not convert at the far post. The balance of play began to swing in the direction of the visitors in Tbilisi and Bansen was forced into saving well from a Dilrosun free-kick. However, it wasn’t to be long before the shot-stopper was picking the ball out of the net for a second time, in rather fortunate circumstances for Maarten Stekelenburg’s Dutch side. The Netherlands 18-year-old centre back Armando Obispo launched a powerful header in the direction of goal, with the ball colliding with the chest of Piroe and into the top left-hand corner. The PSV Eindhoven man clearly did not know much about it. Nevertheless, the Dutch led and were almost pegged back by substitute David Raum who burst through and fired a low shot wide just moments after his introduction.
With just ten minutes of the energetic tie remaining, Germany were getting desperate and were soon hit on the break. A Dani De Wit pass found the 17-year-old Piroe and he calmly slotted home for his hat-trick and Holland’s third. The German race was run but it wasn’t for the want of trying and a sweetly struck shot by Geiger was well caught by the Dutch skipper. The German pressure eased as stoppage time approached, but there was to be one last moment of magic to round off an impressive display from Stekelenburg’s men. A dazzlingly skillful one-two between substitute Jay-Roy Grot and Dilrosun resulted in the No 7 being put in on goal, and making no mistake in firing the ball into the roof of the net to put the Cherry on top of a resounding win for the Dutch.
The Netherlands’ shock victory streamlined the youthful side straight to the top of group B, whereas the German’s now sit at the foot of the group to the surprise of the footballing world. Holland will now go into their clash with fellow Match Day One winners England on Thursday brimming with confidence. Meanwhile, The German starlets will be hoping for redemption when they face Bulgaria on the same day in Gori.