Netherlands and Germany reach U17 final

BELGRADE - Arsenal prospect Kyle Ebecilio scored a superb goal to give Netherlands a 1-0 win over holders England in their Under-17 European Championship semi-final on Thursday.

The Dutch, aiming for their first title in their third final at this level, will meet Germany in Sunday's showpiece after the 2009 winners beat Denmark 2-0 in the second semi-final at the Karadjordje stadium in northern Serbia.

Having reached the last four with a 3-0 win over hosts Serbia, England found the Dutch a much tougher prospect and were thoroughly outplayed by the tournament favourites.

Lanky midfielder Ebecilio, one of the tournament's outstanding players, drilled in the winner from the edge of the penalty area after a clever backheel by Anass Achahbar.

The Dutch had little trouble in keeping a sixth successive clean sheet, including the last two qualifiers en route to the eight-team finals, and could have won by a bigger margin after missing several chances in the second half.

"The Netherlands are a very difficult team to beat, they showed today that they were resolute in defence and very well organised," England coach John Peacock told reporters.

"Credit to the Dutch, they have been very close for many years now and it may be their year."

Surprise package Denmark, who won all three group matches, were undone by two fortuitous German goals in the second half after squandering three sitters in the opening period.

Kaan Ayhan broke the deadlock on the hour with a deflected free-kick and 10 minutes later, Nils Quaschner steered in Cimo Rocker's sharp cross with his hand, albeit inadvertently.

The Dutch will head into the final as favourites after beating Germany 2-0 in the group stage of the competition.

All four semi-finalists and the two other teams, Czech Republic and France, have qualified for next month's World Cup in Mexico.

"For (England's) football education it will be a massive learning curve to play against South American teams and teams from around the world, it's something you don't get too often," Peacock said.

"One of the biggest experiences these lads can get in a lifetime is coming in the next few weeks."