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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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UEFA Euro 2012 Poland & Ukraine
Group E - Qualifications

Netherlands - Finland 2-1
Fortunate win after dynamite start

7 September 2010

After the victory over San Marino on Friday Holland have won their second Group E game in the qualification campaign for the 2012 European Championships in Poland & Ukraine as well. Tonight they beat Finland 2-1 in Rotterdam. The victory was far from convincing though. The team of Bert van Marwijk took a 2-0 lead within a quarter of an hour, but then the party was over. Finland pulled one back and Holland were then very fortunate that the visitors didn't score a second.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar opens the score in the 7th minute

Despite the victory Holland have to hand over the leading position in Group E to Sweden,who beat San Marino 6-0 and now have a better goal difference. Next month, when Sweden come to Amsterdam the two group leaders can decide who is the strongest for the moment.

Nothing indicated that Holland were in for a difficult night at first. What's more: the hosts took a 2-0 lead within 15 minutes and a big score seemed imminent. Huntelaar scored two and brought his tally to five goals in two games. But the players seemed to take it a bit too easy and thought the three points were theirs already. In the remainder of the first half Holland's performance was just bad.

After Mikael Forssel had made it 2-1 two minutes after Huntelaar's second Finland had a number of good chances to equalize, but Holland's keeper Maarten Stekelenburg showed he becoming a world class goal keeper once more. Both Mika Vayrynen and Forssel were allowed to pick a corner twice, but each time Stekelenburg denied them.

Only after the break, possibly with a thundering speech of Van Marwijk ringing in their ears, Holland found back to a decent level. Most danger came from the right, where the arduous Ibrahim Afellay created a lot of danger. On the other end Rafael van der Vaart created very little. He was supposed to stay out wide, but it's a role that doesn't suit him, as he tends to cut inside a lot and narrow down the spaces there. Only when Eljero Elia came to replace the Spurs-player some danger came from the left as well, but there was always the danger of an equalizer on the other end of the pitch.

But Holland had no intentions of letting is get that far, and the defense gave away no real chances in the second half. There were few highlights after the break. Only the entry of Ruud van Nistelrooy, ten minutes from the end, was a great moment. He got a standing ovation from the crowd, but was unable to score in the little time he got.

Goals

7' K. Huntelaar 1-0
16' K. Huntelaar 2-0
2-1 18' M. Forssell

Cards

  16' M. Heikkinen
  34' R. Eremenko
  61' T. Sparv

Lineups

M. Stekelenburg   O. Fredrikson  
G. van der Wiel   N. Moisander  
J. Heitinga   P. Pasanen  
J. Mathijsen   V. Lampi  
I. Afellay 74' J. Lens D. Sjolund 68' J. Johansson
M. van Bommel   K. Hämäläinen 46' R. Porokara
N. de Jong   M. Heikkinen  
R. Van der Vaart 64' E. Elia M. Väyrynen  
V. Anita   R. Eremenko  
W. Sneijder   T. Sparv  
K. Huntelaar 82' Van Nistelrooy M. Forssell 81' A. Eremenko

Euro 2012 campaign - Results, schedule, standings

Holland at European Championships

All time European Championships ranking

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