The young Dutch side qualified for the quarter-finals of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup by defeating Nigeria 3-1 in Brazil on Tuesday night, with Chelsea's Ian Maatsen prominent in midfield.
A hat-trick from Ajax’s Sontje Hanen wrapped up 10 minutes from time proved decisive in the tie between the sides in Goiania. The 17-year-old played the duration of the fixture in a midfield role as opposed to his more defensive duties at Chelsea.
Oranje’s route to this stage hasn’t been plain sailing however, as qualification from Group D was in doubt ahead of the final game against the USA. Back-to-back defeats against Japan and Senegal saw the Dutch bottom of the pile yet to win a point, but an emphatic 4-0 win over their US counterparts saw Kees van Wonderen’s boys claim qualification as one of the best third-placed teams.
Maatsen has featured in all but one of the fixtures so far, missing the final group stage game due to suspension, and will now wait to find out who his team will meet in the last-eight between Paraguay and Argentina on Sunday evening.
Group C runners-up South Korea are the other team waiting to find out who their quarter-final opponents will be from the remaining knockout tie between Japan and Mexico this evening (Wednesday).
The winners from the two quarter-finals will meet in the semi-final on Thursday 14 November, kick-off 7.30pm.