Russia earned their place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA European Under-16 Championship at the expense of the Netherlands after a hard-fought goalless draw at York City FC’s Bootham Crescent.
A healthy crowd of just under 700 cheered the Dutch throughout the game, but despite intense pressure in the second half Ruud Kaiser’s team did not possess enough of a cutting edge.
Dangerous on the break
The Russians, knowing a point would be enough to qualify, were happy to counter-attack. However they were always dangerous on the break and indeed looked more likely to score, especially through their speedy forward Rouslan Dzoutzev.
For the Netherlands the performance of defender Nigel de Jong caught the eye, but it was not enough to save his team-mates. Moreover, the sympathetic words of Russian coach Yuri Smirnov were likely to be little comfort.
'The Dutch were very unlucky'
"I felt the best team in the group were the Netherlands," said Smirnov, "both technically and tactically. They were very unlucky, particularly in their first match."