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EC Qualification

  • October 12, 2010
  • • 19:30
  • • Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam
  • Referee: S. Lannoy
  • • Attendance: 46000

Netherlands 4-1 Sweden: Huntelaar And Afellay Fire Oranje To Comfortable Victory

Netherlands 4-1 Sweden: Huntelaar And Afellay Fire Oranje To Comfortable Victory

'The Hunter' and the PSV star shone bright as the hosts thumped the visitors...

It was truly a rout from start to finish tonight as the Netherlands hosted what can only be described as a sub-par Sweden side. The Oranje romped their way to a 4-1 win at home, proving once again that they are a national force to be reckoned with.

The Oranje started the match in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Rafael van der Vaart deputising alongside Mark van Bommel as anchormen due to the suspension of Nigel de Jong. Ibrahim Afellay, Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt formed an attacking trio of support for a lone Klaas-Jan Huntelaar who spearheaded the attack.

The Blue & Yellows were headed up by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with Ola Toivonen, Pontus Wernbloom and Johan Elmander providing support for the big striker.

It was Sweden who were charged with the task of kicking the game off, but it was tonight's hosts that really started the action. The Oranje went right to work on the visiting side, dominating possession and hounding Andreas Isaksson's goal from the off. It didn't look like it would be long before the deadlock would be broken.

And it wasn't. Just four minutes into the game Sneijder found Van der Vaart with a superb through-pass, allowing the Spurs man to dink the ball on to the path of Huntelaar who finished superbly, low and hard past Isaksson, as he rushed into the box.

Sneijder was the next to cause the Swedes problems, going close twice in quick succession. The first shot rocketed off his right boot and shook the side netting, leaving some fans celebrating until they realised it hadn't gone in. Another powerful drive from distance, the Dutchman's second shot required Isaksson's expertise to see the ball wide of the target.

With the Netherlands continuing to harangue the Swedish backline throughout the first-half, respite was finally awarded to the visitors when Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt pulled up with an ankle injury. Jeremain Lens took to the pitch in place of the Anfield workhorse and the pounding soon recommenced.

With the pressure being sustained as it was by the hosts, it became clear that another goal was in the pipeline. Sneijder was involved once again as he picked up a loose ball from a Swedish throw before knocking it on for a sprinting Afellay, who finished not unlike Huntelaar with a superb right-footed effort to make it 2-0 before the break.

With Oscar Wendt replacing Behrang Safari during the break for Erik Hamren's side, the second-half commenced just as the first did: with the Oranje bounding forward with intent. Just seconds after the restart the hosts had carved themselves out a chance, Lens turning in a cross from the right wing that troubled Isaksson enough to win the Dutch a corner.

Keeping the pressure on, the hosts found their third after 55 minutes as Huntelaar added to his tally. Van der Vaart sent the ball down the left wing for Afellay to show off some individual skill that dazzled Mikael Lustig enough for the PSV attacker to send in an inch-perfect cross for the Schalke striker to nod home.

Perhaps wanting to return the favour from Afellay, less than five minutes later Huntelaar turned provider after an picture-perfect long-ball from John Heitinga found the striker, who was lurking on the left flank. Crossing with confidence, Huntelaar launched one in to find Afellay, who fired home without hesitation.

Lens soon thought he got his name on the scoresheet after tapping home a rebounded Sneijder shot, but the forward's attempt was ruled out for offside.

Soon after, Sebastian Larsson swung in a beautiful free-kick from distance, the ball finding the feet of Andreas Granqvist before it had a chance to hit the ground. Already swinging his right boot as the ball sailed in, the Groningen defender clawed one back for the visitors to make it 4-1.

With the three points well and truly in the bag, Bert van Marwijk hooked 'The Hunter' with only five minutes left to give Ruud van Nistlerooy yet another cap in an Oranje top.

The Swedes went on a late goal-hunt, but the efforts of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Berg served to do nothing more than wind down the time to an inevitable and comprehensive Netherlands win.

The Oranje have fired yet another warning shot into the bows of their fellow European titans with their tremendous performance tonight ahead of the finals in 2012.

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