Netherlands 6-0 Northern Ireland: Van Persie scores twice as rampant Dutch tune up for Euro 2012 in style
Bert van Marwijk's men knock six past Michael O'Neill's inexperienced side as they warm-up for their opening fixture in the European Championships against Denmark
By Jake Watson
The Dutch are highly fancied to go far in this summer’s European Championships and did themselves no harm as the followed up their win against Slovakia with an impressive outing against Michael O’Neill’s men.
The Northern Irish side, which is under new stewardship in the form of Michael O’Neill lined up with a starting XI that boasted just the solitary player in Grant McCann that had ever scored an international goal and the rookie lineup was duly punished.
The damage was done in the opening 15 minutes as Robin Van Persie and Wesley Sneijder scored to leave the visitors shell-shocked. And, in fairness they never recovered as Ibrahim Afellay scored and Van Persie doubled his tally to go into half-time 4-0.
Changes were made at halftime and the tempo dropped but the Dutch managed to add to their lead through Afellay and Ron Vlaar to ensure the Dutch won by a large margin.
In just the 11th minute Netherlands took the lead through a goal that was made far too easy for them by the inexperienced Northern Ireland side. From a corner the Irish defense were not alert to a short corner that was taken by Wesley Sneijder. The Inter Milan playmaker played a neat one-two with Mark Van Bommel before whipping in a cross into the far post which found Robin Van Persie to nod in. Van Persie was completely unmarked and the Arsenal man was never going to miss from just a couple of yards out.
New Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill would have feared the worst going behind so early on and was dealt a further blow when the side that is highly fancied to go far in Euro 2012 doubled its lead from its next meaningful attack.
In the 15th minute Michael Duff gave away a sloppy free kick in a central area just 25 yards out and Wesley Sneijder’s converted the chance with almost consummate ease. Sneijder’s free kick had the perfect amount of pace and dip to get over the wall and leave Lee Camp grasping at thin air.
The Dutch were clearly in a ruthless mood as they made it 3-0 before a half hour had even been played. The third came through harsh fashion though, as Shane Ferguson gave away a penalty after he was adjudged to have handled - although on second viewings there appeared to be little contact. It was Van Persie who stepped up to take the spot-kick and he made no mistake as he fired it into the bottom left-hand corner, sending Lee Camp the wrong way.
The dominance continued and although the Dutch were impressive the Northern Ireland side were doing themselves little favors. Captain Sammy Clingan gave the ball away in midfield, allowing Arjen Robben to pick the loose ball up. He found Van Persie on the edge of the area but he spotted the impressive Ibrahim Afellay who was overlapping at pace who made no mistake as he flashed in a shot off the post in emphatic fashion from 10-yards out.
The visitors made a number of changes at halftime to try and stem the flow of goals although in just the 51st minute the Dutch made it 5-0. The attacking players of the World Cup finalists from 2010 were passing the ball round almost toying with the Northern Irish. The ball made its way out to Arjen Robben on the right-hand side and the Bayern Munich winger crossed it into Van Persie’s feet though with no room to shoot he laid it off to Ibrahim Afellay who fired in a curling effort to leave halftime substitute Roy Carroll routed to the spot.
The punishment continued for the visitors as even as they improved they were caught out in defense once more as Feyenoord center-back Ron Vlaar rose above the crowd from a Dutch corner to thump a header into the back of the net.
The game was played out in almost exhibition fashion as the Dutch knocked pass after pass which were met by cheers by the jubilant home crowd. The scoreline did not flatter Bert van Marwijk’s men, who will be hoping to take that form into Euro 2012, as they were simply at a level that the Northern Irish could not compete at though it must be said that it remains very early days for their young side.Follow GOAL.COM USA on
- Own Goal
- Penalty Missed
- Yellow Card
- Penalty Save
- Penalty Shootout Goal
- Penalty Shootout Miss
- Yellow Card / Red Card
- Red Card
- Substitution IN
- Substitution OUT
- Goal.com Rating
- Goal.com Man of the Match
- Goal.com Flop of the Match
- Top & Flop Global Ranking
- Fans' Man of the Match
- Fans' Flop of the Match