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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

Three points, job done

Saturday 11 October 2008

In a decent 90 minutes the Netherlands did what they had to do against Iceland and that was gain three points.

With the maximum score from 2 games and Norway and Scotland dropping points again Holland are now top of the table.

Wednesday Holland can really make a big step towards South Africa if they manage to get a result in Norway.

Even though the Icelanders had some half chances to score the match was never a match.

Joris Mathijsen opened the score in the 15th minute and after that the home team threatened to overrun the Scandinavians.

But apart from some good efforts by Ryan Babel and Dirk Kuyt and a big chance for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar Holland did little with their superiority.

After the break Holland never found back to the level of the second part of the first half, mainly due to the lack of any wing play.

But with both Robben and Van Persie missing that could perhaps be expected.

At times the team of Bert van Marwijk still played well, but they never dominated the visitors as they did in the first half.

Huntelaar's goal to double the score for Holland was one of the highlights though.

After a great Van der Vaart pass the Ajax forward seemed to drift of to far to the side but he then surprisingly beat Gunnleifsson with a great shot to the far post.

In the last ten minutes the return of Wesley Sneijder and the entry of Ibrahim Afellay brought some new life but no extra goals.

Still Holland boss Bert van was happy with the result: "And I think we didn't play all that bad. I saw some nice, fast combinations. The only thing we should have done better is scoring goals. But we are top the table. On Wednesday we have a tough match in Norway, but I am confident we can do well there as well."

That match Van Marwijk will not have Nigel de Jong at his disposal.

The midfielder had to get off after only 12 minutes of play with a knee injury and it is feared he will be out for several weeks.

The table in group 9.

Watch the highlights


Robben: "Hard to grasp"
Van Bommel after defeat: "I'm a little speechless"
Van Marwijk: "In no mood to get negative"
Flat Dutch don't know what to do with 20+ chances
Netherlands-Denmark: lineup
Joris Mathijsen recovering well
Cruyff: "Kuyt at right back"
Mathijsen still uncertain - could miss entire tournament
Holland and Denkmark: head-to-head
Van Persie seems worth the confidence
Van Marwijk again opts for Van Persie instead of Huntelaar
Huntelaar: "Upset is not the right the word"
Ron Vlaar: "I know what I am capable of"
Van Marwijk: "We remained disciplined"
Ibi and Rafa show manager he has options
Ibrahim Afellay Oranje's Zidane?
Van Marwijk looking for certainties
Cruijff: "Not enough depth in your game is asking for trouble"
Bouma: "I've gone through the desert"
Van Persie: "Defeat at this point not a problem"
Euro 2012 finals squad
Mathijsen strains muscle
Bulgarians surprise Oranje
Ola Toivonen's goal sees Sweden beat Holland and qualify
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar sinks Moldova
Oranje maintain perfection, beat Finland
Netherlands thrash San Marino in Euro 2012 qualifier
Kuyt kills off brave Hungary for Netherlands
Oranje trash Hungary
Sweden no match for Oranje
Van Marwijk: "We left them without chance"
Dirk Kuyt out for months
"We are prepared for all scenarios"
Minimal but easy win for Holland in Moldavia
Van Marwijk: "We played very well"
Holland want result after tumultuous week
Van der Vaart to replace De Jong
"This case only has losers"
Van Marwijk drops Nigel de Jong
Holland & Moldavia: head-to-head
Holland & Sweden: head-to-head
Wisgerhof replaces Maduro
Bouma back on the radar
Netherlands - Finland 2-1
Van Marwijk: "We were late all over the pitch"
Van Bommel: "There wasn't anymore in it"
Heitinga: "That can not happen"
Van der Vaart unhappy with role on the side
Kuyt and Boulahrouz out with injury
"It all revolves around Jari Litmanen"
Sneijder: "Don't tinker with it"
Alonso: "No hard feelings"
Van Marwijk: "Second half was better"
San Marino-Netherlands 0-5
Oranje: a new mission