The Netherlands national under-21 football team is the national under-21 team of the Netherlands and is controlled by the Royal Dutch Football Association. The team competes in the European Under-21 Championship, held every two years.
Following the realignment of UEFA's youth competitions in 1976, the Dutch Under-21 team was formed. The team did not have a very good record, failing to qualify for nine of the fifteen tournaments. The team did not enter for the 1978 competition, but since then has reached the semi-finals twice, and qualified for the last eight on three other occasions.
Since the under-21 competition rules insist that players must be 21 or under at the start of a two-year competition, technically it is an U-23 competition. For this reason, the Netherlands' record in the preceding U-23 competitions is also shown. The first competitive match was in the "Under-23 Challenge", a match which they lost. The team qualified for the last eight of each of the three U-23 tournaments.
In 2006 the Netherlands national under-21 football team of coach Foppe de Haan won the 2006 European Under-21 Championship. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar became top scorer and player of the tournament with four goals, and also broke the all-time goalscoring record of 15 goals previously held by Roy Makaay and Arnold Jan Bruggink, in his last match with the team as he pushed this record to 18 goals. The following year, Netherlands national under-21 football team successfully defended their title by winning the 2007 European Under-21 Championship in the final against Serbia with 4–1. Maceo Rigters was the top scorer of the competition with four goals and Royston Drenthe was the Player of the Tournament. The win meant that the Netherlands qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The team failed to qualify for the 2009 European Under-21 Championship, after losing out to Switzerland in their final qualifying match.Close