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"The intellectualisation
of football has
always foundered
on a simple problem-
-the players. Doing
all your most
rewarding thinking
with your feet seems
to dull the philo-
sophical impulse.
Unless, of course,
you are Dutch.
According to legend,
Europeans played
a moronic, muscular
version of the world's
game, until Holland
proclaimed its vision
of total football in the
1974 World Cup,
and enlightenment

Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football

Oranje too strong for Ghana

Wednesday 02 June 2010

The Dutch national team have won their second practice match of the World Cup preparation campaign. In Rotterdam they beat Ghana 4-1. Through some stretches of the game the team showed some great football. Except for one moment there was no trouble defensively.

Robin van Persie

Holland took the lead after half an hour. Kuyt hit the net from close range after Ghana keeper Richard Kingson s unable to control a shot by Robin van Persie. The goal was preceded by some excellent combination play by Van Persie and Wesley Sneijder.

Holland were stronger than Ghana - competing in South Africa as well - from the start. Wesley Sneijder saw a distant shot being blocked en put the ball just beside the wrong side of the post from a bit closer. Ghana, with former Dutch youth international Quincy, had very little to put against it.

Holland manager Bert van Marwijk had a few surprises concerning his lineup. It wasn't Rafael van der Vaart who replaced the slightly injured Arjen Robben, but PSV's Ibrahim Afellay, who was rewarded for his good performance in the friendly against Mexico (2-1).

"Ibrahim often makes good use of the space that Robin van Persie leaves," Van Marwijk explained his choice. "Besides I'm trying out several things. Afellay has been overlooked by many, but not by me."

Now the Ghana game isn't the right moment to draw any conclusions. Both teams have been training intensively over the past few days, and the Netherlands arrived from the training camp in Austria on match day.

Maarten Stekelenburg, the first choice goal keeper was rested. The first half was for Utrecht stopper Michel Vorm and after the break Sander Boschker of FC Twente made his international debut, at almost 40 years...

After an hour Van der Vaart got his chance tot show himself. And he did so straight away by scoring Holland's second goal, nine minutes after he came on. It was a lovely goal with some swift footwork in midfield by Sneijder and a love arched throughball by Van Bommel.

Shortly after Asamoah Gyan was allowed to pull one back when defenders Mathijsen and Van Bronckhorst were looking at each other but neither cleared the ball.

Holland still managed to paint the end result in a nice color. Wesley Sneijder volleyed home a long corner from just outside the box after which Van Persie converted a lightly given penalty.

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