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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

Van Persie brace too much for Mexico

26 May 2010

The Dutch national football team has commenced it's preparation campaign with an easy win over Mexico. In Germany two goals by Robin van Persie were enough for a 2-1 victory.

For Holland manager Bert van Marwijk the game against Mexico was the last possibility to have a look at those players who have not yet fully convinced him. Holland's bondscoach will have to drop four players from the current squad of 27. In soaking wet Freiburg (Germany) Demy de Zeeuw, Khalid Boulahrouz, Edson Braafheid, Stijn Schaars and Ibrahim Afellay were given the opportunity to show their coach they deserve an invitation for South Africa.

The other positions in the team were taken by players who are certain to come along. Mark van Bommel, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder were rested, as they only met up with the rest of the squad yesterday because of Saturday's Champions League final, in which they played with their clubs. Injured Ryan Babel and Ron Vlaar also failed, as did Nigel de Jong who suffered from a pain in his knee.

Van Marwijk will have been pleasantly surprised by the performance of Afellay. The PSV-midfielder, sought after by Hamburg, was involved in many offensive moves in the opening minutes of the game. One of them led to Rafael van der Vaart hitting the post. Shortly after that missed chance Afellay put Van Persie in front of the goal, but the Arsenal striker missed the target.

A few minutes later Van Persie corrected his error when he was at the end of a Van der Vaart pass. The former Feyenoord-player was assisted by the Mexican defense, who were totally out of position.

Just before the half-time whistle a nice setup by Van Persie and Afellay led to Van Persie's second goal. He calmly volleyed home an inch perfect cross. There was some minor injury scares in the first half. First Van der Vaart hurt his wrist and a little later John Heitinga stayed down on the pitch after a collision with Alberto Medina. Both Van der Vaart and Heitinga were able to continue.

Because of a number of substitutions on both sides Holland lost control of the game in the second half. Mexico were able to pull one back 15 minutes after te break. Manchester United's new signing Javier Hernández Balcázar was allowed to head the ball passed Maarten Stekelenburg.

Holland's poor performance in the second half made it hard for Van Marwijk to judge those players who have not yet convinced him, but it could well be he had already made up his mind before the game. It is expected he will name the last four players to be dropped tomorrow.

Watch the highlights


2 - 1


26 May 2010, 20h00


R. van Persie      17' 1-0
R. van Persie      42' 2-0
2-1 J. Hernández      75'


  G. Dos Santos67' Gele kaart
  H. Moreno79' Gele kaart
  I. Castro89' Gele kaart


M. Stekelenburg G. Ochoa
E. Braafheid H. Moreno
J. Heitinga J. Torres
J. Mathijsen J. Magallón
K. Boulahrouz P. Aguilar        55' C. Véla
D. de Zeeuw A. Guardado
I. Afellay G. Torrado
R. Van der Vaart        71' E. Elia I. Castro
S. Schaars A. Medina
D. Kuyt C. Blanco
R. van Persie        64' K. Huntelaar J. Hernández


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