From Kerkrade in the south to tiny Tilburg by way of Doetinchem, hot hosts Holland and their bright orange travelling circus of vibrant supporters are back at the southernmost venue of the FIFA World Youth Championship Netherlands 2005 to face Nigeria in the quarter-finals. 

With nary a ticket left for purchase, upwards of 20,000 are expected to steam into the Parkstad Limburg Stadium - home to Roda JC - to roar on the Young Oranje.  the Dutch - with their outstanding collection of young talent - have been the style side of these finals. And the capacity crowds that have followed them around attest to as much.  

Having thrilled three venues so far with an avalanche of goals (nine in four matches), and some mesmerising play, the fans - equally as charming as the team they support so well - have had more than just a few moments of joy during an action-packed month of July. 

Ron Vlaar - whose standout performances for Cinderella side AZ Alkmaar this season earned him a call-up to Marco Van Basten's senior side - was overjoyed with the atmosphere in Doetinchem.  Tucked away in the forest and home to the unfashionable "Super-farmers" of De Grafschaap, the Vijverberg Stadium, not used to hosting Holland matches, was abuzz with excitement and packed to the rafters - which admittedly aren't too high. 

Lowlands loving their boys
"The atmosphere was outstanding," Vlaar remarked. "The country is really warming up to this tournament and our team."  Autograph seekers hounded the tall, sturdy and surprisingly gifted centre-back during Holland's victory lap after the 3-0 trouncing of Chile. And with the energy and spirit of youth, he didn't turn a single one away as he remained a full 20 minutes after the final whistle to mingle with adoring fans. 

Smiling off the field, the imposing defender is in no way fearing the Nigerian challenge on 25 July.  But having seen off impressive Ukraine in their round of sixteen match an hour before the Dutch dismantled Chile, the Nigerians - who have not conceded a goal since their second group match - will be no soft touch for the Dutch. 

Overpowering the South Americans, Vlaar is not expecting to be knocked off the ball against Nigeria. "Apparently, according to what I've heard, Nigeria are physically a strong team," he said. "So let them come. I'm not afraid and none of my mates will be either.

Right-back, Dwight Tiendalli - whose quickly-taken free-kick set up the first goal for Ryan Babel three minutes into the match with Chile - also expects a physical test.  "The next hurdle will be Nigeria. We saw about 5 or 10 minutes of their match against Ukraine. They seemed a very physical team."

A native of Utrecht, Tiendalli is eyeing a final date for Holland in his hometown. "I think it would be very special to play the final in the Galgenwaard (Utrecht's stadium). It would be great there and the people of Utrecht would love to get a chance to support this team. The way things are going now, I think we can make it."

And just as the country comes together behind their beloved young team, Ajax striker and top scorer Babel sees a parallel movement in the squad ahead of the crucial round of sixteen clash. 

"At first the team has needed some time to get used to each other," the player said. "But we're coming together very well. We've grown into a very close-knit group."

Coach Foppe de Haan - the longest-serving coach in the history of Dutch professional football - is largely responsible for the team's transformation. "Nigeria play a different kind of football than Chile. They are very strong, with excellent individual skills," he said.

In front of their fifth full house of the finals, the Dutch will surely be keen to put on a show for the Kerkrade fans - surely in high spirit with their team back in town and hoping they will extend their stay in Limburg through to the semi-finals.