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Netherlands

Netherlands

The Netherland's Boy's U19 side has been described as a "growing and blossoming" side by its local press and the fact that the 2003 Boy's U19 World Championships will be the first time the Boy's Youth championship features a Netherlands side is testament to the potential of this team.

From 2000 until now the Netherlands have been on a rigorous qualification schedule starting with an eight-nation tournament in Germany, where under head coach Frans Gierveld they finished fifth.

In January 2001 under head coach Teun Beijs they played a European qualification tournament in Italy, playing against Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey and the hosts where they finished a good second just behind Volleyball superpower Italy but was not enough for qualification.

In May 2001, they participated in a second European qualification tournament in Slovakia where they finished third behind Slovakia and the Czech Republic, making sure the Orange Boys had to give everything to qualify for the European Championships.

In July 2001 they had the possibility to secure a spot in a qualification tournament at home but they only finished fourth.

In May 2002 they had another chance in Zagreb to qualify for the European championships, but their third place finish behind Germany and Croatia was still not enough.

In July 2002 the Orange Boys went to Belgium for an eight-country tournament and finished second again behind Italy.

But in January 2003, they finally found success where the Netherlands qualified, for the first time in their history, for the European Championships with three straight wins in a qualification tournament in France.

A 3-0 win over Portugal was, according to captain Jeroen Rauwerdink, a very easy match and was soon followed by two more straight set wins over France and Austria.

All eyes were now on Zagreb and the European Championships in April, where the Netherlands started disappointingly with two losses to Germany and Poland to effectively lose all possibility of winning a medal.

However the first win in the tournament against the host team Croatia took the Netherlands to third in their group of four and went into the playoffs on top form beating Slovakia 3-2. That result qualified the Netherlands for the World Championship for the first time in its history as they were guaranteed to finish amongst the best six teams in Zagreb but the true determination of this side shone through as they also won the match for the 5th-6th playoff against the Czech Republic in a 3-2 thriller showing their high level mentality.

The Netherlands are coming off four preparation matches against Brazil at the end of May and under new coach Gido Vermeulen will be eager to continue the growth and development that has been so evident over the past three years.