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16 October 2012
• Arena Naţională, Bucureşti
Referee: C. Thomson
• Attendance: 53329
C. Marica 40'
J. Lens 9'
B. Martins Indi 29'
R. van der Vaart 45'+
R. van Persie 86'
The next round of World Cup qualifiers is not until March 23 when Romania travel to Hungary in search of a crucial three points. As for the Netherlands, they host Estonia at the Amsterdam Arena. That's all from me, Max Bentley. Good night!
Louis Van Gaal will be impressed with the performances of many of his younger players, especially the attacking threat posed by Luciano Narsingh and Jeremain Lens. As a defensive unit, they also look more solid after their vulnerable performances during Euro 2012. However, Van Gaal is aware that there is much work to be done if he is to convert his side into World Cup contenders in Brazil in 2014.
FULL TIME IN BUCHAREST. Netherlands maintain their 100% start to qualifying with, what was in the end, a comfortable 4-1 win over Romania. Victor Piturca's side battled hard in the first half but will rue their defensive mistakes.
90' + 1'
Afellay wins a freekick on the edge of the box allowing Van Persie to once again try his luck from range. This time he gets it over the wall and it is fingertipped over the bar by Tararusanu.
Eljero Elia has only been on the pitch a few moments but he nearly scores a fifth after a dazzling run down the left-hand flank, only to be denied by a fantastic block by Goian.
Romania seek a consolation but the Dutch defence stands firm once again to head clear a series of crosses.
Assist Luciano Narsingh
Goal Robin van Persie
AND THAT'S THE THREE POINTS FOR NETHERLANDS! With the Romanian defence pushing forward, Luciano Narsingh breaks at pace down the right and sends in a low cross for Robin Van Persie who slots the ball under Tararusanu for his 31st national goal. Game over.
Yellow Card Nigel De Jong
Chance for Romania. Adrian Mutu lays the ball off to Adrian Popa in the box but the frame of Ron Vlaar once again gets in the way to divert the ball out for a corner.
Yellow Card Jeremain Lens
Tempers beginning to flair now and Jeremaine Lens receives a booking for diving. Nigel De Jong is also keen to get in on the act and is also cautioned for dissent.
Yellow Card R. Raţ
YELLOW CARD: Razvan Rat continues to protest to the officials and is shown a yellow card for dissent
The Romania players are furious as substitute Adrian Popa goes down under a challenge from Bruno Martins Indi. There was certainly contact but I'm not sure it was enough to warrant a penalty.
Luciano Narsingh once again proves a nuisance for the Romania defence and drawing the defenders towards him, he attempts a deft chipped pass to Van Persie at the back post but cannot quite execute it.
Netherlands are looking to take the sting out of this game now. There is no urgency to find that fourth goal although they have hardly been troubled at the other end in this second-half. Twelve minutes remaining.
Rafael van der Vaart
First change for Louis Van Gaal's side as Schalke's Ibrahim Afellay replaces the impressive Rafael Van Der Vaart. A goal and an assist has thoroughly justified his selection this evening.
Razvan Rat has not got forward as much as he would have liked in this game but this time Romanian most-capped player runs in behind Narsingh and sends a teasing cross to the back post but there is no yellow shirt to meet it.
The Oranje fans are in fine voice as their side look to close out this victory. Adrian Mutu strips off on the Romanian bench as Goian receives treatment. Final roll of the dice for the hosts.
Ron Vlaar makes a marauding run from centre-back and looks to play in Jeremaine Lens but Goian spots the danger expertly and clears.It seems that he may have picked up a knock in that tackle.
Neither side able to make a breakthrough at the moment. 22 minutes remaining for Netherlands to maintain their 100% record.
Adrian Popa I
Another change for Romania as Adrian Popa replaces Gabriel Torje. Can he inspire a fightback for Victor Piturca's side?
Nigel De Jong has been fantastic in the Netherlands holding role this evening and his bulldog-like approach has broken down the play time and time again,
Dorin Goian looks to get his head on a corner from the left but he is marked tightly by Ron Vlaar and the ball rolls clear. It's been a rather subdued second period so far.
SUBSTITUTION: First change for the hosts as the cautioned Alexandru Bourceanu is replaced by Costin Lazar, who places in Greece for PAOK.
Van Persie's freekick once again fails to beat the wall. He hasn't been quite at his best so far in this match.
Nigel De Jong finds the run of Van Persie with a wonderful long ball and the Manchester United striker cleverly wins a freekick. Shooting range this for the the Dutch no.9.
Victor Piturca's side are seeing plenty of the ball but can't break down the Dutch resistance. At the other end, Robin Van Persie goes down in the box under a challenge from Romanian captain Razvan Rat but the referee waves play on.
Yellow Card Kevin Strootman
YELLOW CARD: Kevin Stootman is the first Dutch player to be cautioned after a mis-timed tackle on Minai Pintilii. However, the resulting freekick wastefully runs out for a goalkick.
Romania have their first effort of this second period as their 2011 Player of the Year, Gabriel Torje unleashes a piledriver from 25 yards which is fumbled, somewhat unconvincingly, by Stekelenburg.
Some off-the-ball controversy there as Gabriel Torje appears to kick out at Bruno Martins Indi. The Feyenoord wing-back goes to ground but the referee doesn't see it.
VAN PERSIE GOES CLOSE! Rafael Van Der Vaart has been in fine form for Hamburg of late and once again sends in a peach of a cross for Van Persie who meets the ball on the run and forces Tararusanu into a smart save at his near post.
Here's what my goal.com correspondent Renger Dotinga made of the first 45 minutes: "A thrilling encounter up to this point, and much more open than Netherlands' 3-0 win over Andorra at the weekend. The Dutch will consider themselves lucky to be two goals ahead, as the hosts have shown immense vigour at times. Romania will be looking to fight themselves back into this, but leave gaps at the back in the process - more goals to come, I feel."
We're back for the second half. Let's hope it can be played in the same pulsating manner as the first.
For those of you who were wondering, the other matches in Group D currently stand Andorra 0 - 1 Estonia and Hungary 0 - 1 Turkey.
The last time Netherlands lost a qualifying match was against Sweden on October 11, 2011. Can Victor Piturca's side stage a dramatic comeback in the second period?
How damaging that could prove to be for Romania! They have played well during the opening 45 minutes but a series of defensive lapses have proved costly. Surely Netherlands will not let a two-goal lead slip from here. What do you think the final score will be? Let me know via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
45' + 2'
Yellow Card Gabriel Sebastian Tamaş
PENALTY TO NETHERLANDS! The pace of Luciano Narsingh once again causes problems and he is hauled down by Gabriel Tamas, giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Right on the stroke of half-time.
45' + 2'
Penalty Goal Rafael van der Vaart
NO MISTAKE FROM VAN DER VAART! The Hamburg midfielder has been fantastic in this first half and fires past Tararusanu from the spot. The keeper dived the right way but Van Der Vaart smashed that right into the bottom corner.
Netherlands are looking to slow the tempo down in this game and hold on to their one-goal cushion until half-time. It's been a thoroughly enjoyable first half here in Bucharest.
Netherlands looks shaken after that Marica strike and Stekelenburg watches anxiously as Torje's deflected effort loops just wide for a Romania corner.
Assist R. Raţ
Goal Ciprian Marica
ROMANIA PULL ONE BACK! Ciprian Marica springs to life, surging past the challenges of Kevin Strootman and John Heitinga to fire a right-footed effort low into the bottom-left corner of Stekelenburg's goal. It's 2-1!
Vlad Chiriches unleashes a venomous strike from the edge of the box which is blocked by Ron Vlaar. The Aston Villa man has been excellent in this first half.
Ciprian Marica looks to power in a header at the back post but Ajax youngster Ricardo Van Rhijn stands his ground to head the ball behind for a corner.
Robin Van Persie looks to test Tararusanu with a freekick from 25 yards but he disappointly strikes his attempt into the wall.
33 minutes played and it seems that Netherlands have knocked the stuffing out of Romania with those two early goals. Clinical is the word that springs to mind to describe this Dutch performance so far.
Romania look to hit back with a set-piece of their own but Torje's cross is slightly overhit to the frustration of Victor Piturca.
Assist Rafael van der Vaart
Goal Bruno Martins Indi
2-0 NETHERLANDS! What did I say about Van Der Vaart's deliveries? He sends in a fizzing cross to the back post where Bruno Martins Indi is on hand to volley past the hapless Tararusanu. That's the Feyenoord defender's second goal for the national side.
The pace of Jeremain Lens is causing problems for Romania as he wins a freekick in a dangerous position. Another chance for Van Der Vaart to test the Romanian defence.
Van Der Vaart once again sends in an inviting cross into the Romanian box which is met by a glancing header from Van Persie but flashes over the crossbar.
Gabriel Tamas looks to play an eye-of-the-needle pass behind the Netherlands backline but the danger is read expertly by Ron Vlaar who manages to intercept the through-ball. A tale of two defenders that.
Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. The Netherlands side are in no rush to find that killer pass, seemingly happy to frustrate their opponents.
Rafael Van Der Vaart whips in a teasing freekick to the backpost but it is just too high for John Heitinga, who had made a brilliant late run to evade his marker.
Romania launch a quick counter attack and there are numbers in the box as Gabriel Torje looks to send in a cross...but he overhits it and a good opportunity is wasted for the Tricolorii.
The Oranje go close to extending their lead. Luciano Narsingh tricks his way past Razvan Rat and sends a brilliant low cross to Robin Van Persie at the front post. The striker attempts a cheeky flick which is parried by Tararusanu and his rebound is blocked excellently by Goian.
Yellow Card Alexandru Bourceanu
YELLOW CARD: Alexandru Borceanu goes into the referee's notebook for a late challenge.
Romania are playing some slick football here and look to play the ball out of defence whenever possible. Entertaining 14 minutes played so far.
Romania have responded brilliantly to going behind and Gabriel Torje hits a snap-shot just wide.
Gheorghe Grozav, the goalscoring hero against Turkey breaks the offside trap and is one-on-one with Stekelenburg, however his shot is too close to the keeper and the ball is parried to safety.
Goal Jeremain Lens
GOOALL!! With literally their first attack of the game, the Netherlands take the lead. Robin Van Persie's corner is punched clear by Tararusanu but only to Jeremain Lens who directs a superb looping header back towards goal which hits the underside of the bar and deflects off the unfortunate Gabriel Tamas into the net.
Jeremaine Lens looks to go on a mazy run down the left-hand side of the penalty box but is tracked excellently by Vlad Chiriches who makes a wonderful interception to dispossess the Dutch winger.
HIT THE CROSSBAR! So unlucky for Gabriel Torje. The Granada midfielder's freekick curls over the wall and seems destined for the top corner but agonisingly strikes the underside of the bar and bounces to safety.
John Heitinga plays a dangerous passing game deep in his own half and hauls down Ciprian Marica on the edge of the box. Good opportunity this for the hosts. Gabriel Torje stands over the ball...
Romania seeing a lot of the ball in this opening period as Netherlands seem content to sit back and settle down.
Underway in Bucharest! Fabulous atmosphere at the Arena Nationala. Romania in all yellow kits, Netherlands in their black away strip.
Captains Razvan Rat and Kevin Strootman exchange handshakes as this qualifier is set to get underway.
This could potentially be the biggest test for the Netherlands tonight and they have to face a resilient Romanian defence which has yet to concede a goal in qualifying. What are your predictions for the match?
NETHERLANDS (4-3-3): Stekelenburg; Van Rhijn, Heitinga, Vlaar, Martins Indi; Strootman, De Jong, Van der Vaart; Narsingh, Van Persie, Lens. Subs: Vermeer, Vorm, Janmaat, Douglas, Viergever, Elia, Afellay, Clasie, Emanuelson, Kuyt, Huntelaar.
ROMANIA (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Tamas, Chiriches, Goian, Rat; Bourceanu, Pintilii; Torje, Grozav, Stancu; Marica. Subs: Pantilimon, Grigore, Gardos, Latovlevici, Gaman, Luchin, Chipciu, Maxim, Popa, Lazar, Cocis, Mutu.
Romania will be looking to get revenge on a Dutch side which knocked them out of the 2008 European Championships. Robin Van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar were the goalscorers that day in Berne and the Manchester United striker starts up front today with Huntelaar on the bench.
It's the battle of the big guns in Group D as high-flying Romania entertain Louis Van Gaal's Netherlands at the Arena Nationala in Bucharest. Fresh from their impressive 1-0 victory away in Turkey on Friday, Victor Piturca's side are looking to cause a major upset against the Oranje in an attempt to reach their first World Cup finals since 1998. Both sides have won all three of their opening qualifiers so this is bound to be a thriller. My name is Max Bentley and if you have any thoughts on tonight's match, let me know via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
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