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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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World Cup tickets within reach

Saturday 28 March 2009

The Dutch national football team have made a big step towards the 2010 World Cup in South Africa by beating Scotland 3-0 in Amsterdam.

The victory now sees Holland leading number 2 Iceland in group 9 by eight points.

The result of the game seemed decided after only 45 minutes after Robin van Persie doubled the 1-0 margin shortly before the half-time whistle to 2-0.

The Arsenal forward was given all the space in the world by the Scottish defense to head home an Arjen Robben corner from close range.

Klaas Jan Huntelaar had put the hosts ahead on the half hour.

The center forward, who had scored 8 for Real Madrid in his last 6 appearances, had no trouble at all converting a long Mark van Bommel cross.

The two goals were a very generous reward for a poor first half.

Apart from the first fifteen minutes - with a massive chance for Kenny Miller - the Scots seemed unable to cause Holland any problems and on the other side Holland lacked the creativity to punch any holes in the black and white defense.

When the home team did create any danger it was through solo efforts of Arjen Robben, who was by far the most dangerous Dutch forward.

Holland's offensive problems were mainly caused by the fact that all four forwards wanted to play close to the Scottish goal with no one dropping back to collect a ball in-between lines.

The one player occasionally trying to get closer to holding midfielders Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel was actually the only one who shouldn't: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

The result was a lot of a long balls that were an ease pray for the towering Scottish center backs and as such the game had very little entertaining value.

After the break the depleted Scots were unable to renew their efforts and try to cause a small upset.

The one time they did get close to Holland keeper Maarten Stekelenburg - and actually scored - the referee spoiled the fun for reasons unclear to most in the stadium.

Holland seemed willing to give the home crowd of some 50,000 at least a decent score, but the real motivation against an opponent that was simply unable to do more than limit the damages was not there.

Kuyt made it 3-0 from the spot after Huntelaar was fouled in the box and that basically sums it up.

The result means that when Holland beat Macedonia on Wednesday and Scotland and Iceland decide to draw at the same time at Hampden Park; Holland have officially qualified.

More than a year ahead of the start of the tournament that would of course be tremendous news for Van Marwijk and his staff, as it would seriously lengthen the preparation period for the World Cup.

 

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