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Dutch crush France to reach last eight
June 14, 2008 02:34 IST
Last Updated: June 14, 2008 03:29 IST
The Netherlands qualified in dynamic style for the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 [Images] with a 4-1 victory over France [Images] which left the hopes of the World Cup runners-up hanging by a thread on Friday.
Dirk Kuyt, Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder [Images] scored for the Dutch, with Thierry Henry [Images] replying as France slid to their heaviest defeat in a major tournament finals since their 5-2 loss to Brazil [Images] at the 1958 World Cup.
Kuyt opened the scoring with a powerful header in the ninth minute following a Rafael van der Vaart corner and poor marking by the defence.
The second goal capped a swift counter-attack involving Ruud van Nistelrooy [Images] and halftime substitute Robben who raced away from the chasing defenders before crossing low and hard for Van Persie to volley in.
Goalkeeper Gregory Coupet got a hand to the ball but could only watch in agony as it bounced over the line.
Henry, France's all-time leading scorer, had been guilty of the miss of the match five minutes earlier when he lobbed way over the bar with only Edwin van der Sar to beat.
But he pulled one back after 71 minutes with his 45th goal for France in his 101st international.
His joy was short-lived as 30 seconds later Robben netted from an almost impossible angle, lashing the ball past Coupet.
Sneijder completed the rout with a fierce long-range drive in stoppage time as the Dutch maintained the sparkling form they showed in Monday's 3-0 romp over world champions Italy.
"The scoreline is tough if you look at the match but they did the same as they did against Italy, they relied on counter-attacks," said Henry.
"We created some chances but the Dutch took theirs beautifully. We played quite well ... now we have to beat Italy and hope Romania don't beat the Dutch."
Complete Coverage: Euro 2008