Maarten Stekelenburg says he did not count on national coach Frank de Boer to choose him as the first goalkeeper of Orange.

The 38-year-old keeper is preferred over Tim Krul and became the oldest Dutch national team player ever at a European Championship against Ukraine on Sunday.

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"I did not assume that I would become the first goalkeeper," Stekelenburg said at a press moment of Orange on Tuesday.

"Since the start of the preparation, all three keepers have trained hard and made a good impression. And then it's up to the national coach."

A few days before the match against Ukraine, Stekelenburg heard that he was going to play.

"We had to come to the national coach with the keepers and then it was told. I was very happy with it."

With his basic place at the European Championships, Stekelenburg's wonderful comeback is complete.

Due to André Onana's doping suspension, he became first choice at Ajax and after Jasper Cillessen's departure, he also seized his chance at the Orange squad.

"If you had told me at the beginning of this season that I was going to play a European Championship, I would have laughed at you very hard. But yes, that's how it goes in football."

The three goalkeepers of Orange: Marco Bizot, Maarten Stekelenburg and Tim Krul.

The three goalkeepers of Orange: Marco Bizot, Maarten Stekelenburg and Tim Krul.

Photo: Pro Shots

'Don't compare with shot Kaka'

Stekelenburg, who will celebrate his 39th birthday in September, is the oldest of all 622 players at this European Championship.

"I've read it too. It's fun, but no more than that."

The European Championship is his fifth final tournament with the Orange, with his save in the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup against Brazil on a shot by Kaká as the absolute highlight.

On Sunday against Ukraine, Andriy Yarmolenko knocked him out with a shot in the corner.

"I don't think you can compare that shot with the shot from 11 years ago. Have I changed since then? I have more experience and have become even calmer. That is in any case an advantage."


Stekelenburg about playing at the European Championship: 'I would have laughed at you at the beginning of the season'