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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
dawned."

From:
Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football
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Holland fly by Hungary

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Arjen Robben limping off in the last minutes of the game. "It's not looking good," said captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst a little later

The Dutch national football team are on their way to South Africa with a 6-1 victory over Hungary in their back pocket. Substitute Arjen Robben scored two goals but left the pitch in the dying minutes of the game with an injury that seems serious.

Holland manager Bert van Marwijk didn't fully reveal with which team he wants to start the tournament. Ten of the eleven players seem to reasonably certain of a spot. The remaining spot will be for either Dirk Kuyt or Rafael van de Vaart or perhaps even Ibrahim Afellay. The first were in the starting lineup today.

Arjen Robben, who has only just recovered from a hip injury started on the bench.

Robin van Persie gave Van Marwijk a bit of advice two weeks ago when he stated he would like to play with the so-called 'big four': Van der Vaart, Robben, Sneijder and himself. But the game with the team of Dutchman Erwin Koeman showed that Van Persie, Van der Vaart and Sneijder in one team is a bit too much. Their frivolities halted many promising moves in the opening stages of the game.

That regular ball loss put a lot of unnecessary pressure on the defense. Hard laboring Dirk Kuyt had to provide some balance on the right wing, but it happened to be the Liverpool striker who was at the start of Hungary's opening goal. After a failed move of Kuyt Sándor Torghelle picked up the ball and launched Balázs Dzsudzsak. The PSV-forward got too much room from Giovanni van Bronckhorst and beat Maarten Stekelenburg with a great shot to the far corner.

Yet Kuyt made up for his earlier slip when he had an assist on Holland's equalizer. It was Van Persie who pulled the trigger from the edge of the box. The Arsenal player could have converted another Kuyt assist into a goal minutes later, but his header went high over the goal of Márton Fülöp. In the second half Kuyt had to make way for Arjen Robben which put the 'big four' on the pitch.

Robben's entry underlined what extra value the Bayern Munich striker has for the Dutch team. Within a little over 30 minutes Robben scored two. Hungary - not present in South Africa - had very little to put against the Netherlands after the break and gave Wesley Sneijder (2-1) and Mark van Bommel all the space they needed to put themselves on the score sheet. With his first effort of the game Eljero Elia made it 5-1.

Van Marwijk could only conclude that there's nothing wrong with his forward line. Yet in the end Robben also provided for a darker moment when he had to come off with a hamstring injury that looked pretty serious.

Holland will travel to South Africa tonight.

Netherlands

 

Hungary

6

1

5 June 2010, 14h00
Amsterdam Arena

Goals

0-1 6' B. Dzsudzsak
22' R. van Persie 1-1
56' W. Sneijder 2-1
64' A. Robben 3-1
71' M. van Bommel 4-1
74' E. Elia 5-1
79' A. Robben 6-1

Cards

  77' J. Lazok

Lineups

M. Stekelenburg   M. Fülöp  
G. van der Wiel   L. Bodnár 76' Z. Laczko
J. Heitinga 61' A. Ooijer R. Juhász  
J. Mathijsen   V. Vanczak  
G. van Bronckhorst   Z. Szélesi  
M. van Bommel 79' D. de Zeeuw B. Dzsudzsak  
N. de Jong   B. Bodor  
R. Van der Vaart 80' I. Afellay S. Huszti  
W. Sneijder 73' E. Elia S. Torghelle 58' A. Elek
D. Kuyt   T. Priskin  
R. van Persie 68' K. Huntelaar G. Horvath  

 

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