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Double Dutch strike wrecks Romania's hopes
Darren Ennis | June 18, 2008 02:52 IST
Last Updated: June 18, 2008 04:13 IST
Second-half goals from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Robin van Persie gave Netherlands a 2-0 triumph over Romania on Tuesday, wrecking their hopes of qualifying for the Euro 2008 [Images] quarter-finals.
Huntelaar sidefooted home in the 54th minute from a right-wing cross by Ibrahim Afellay and Van Persie made sure of victory with a fierce left-foot drive in the 87th after expertly controlling a free kick by Demy de Zeeuw.
The Dutch finished with a 100 percent record at the top of Group C and play Sweden or Russia [Images] in a quarter-final tie in Basel on Saturday.
Romania needed to win to reach the last eight but, after gritty draws against world champions Italy [Images] and France [Images] earlier in the tournament, Victor Piturca's side lacked imagination and creativity against a Dutch side showing nine changes.
"It's a pity because we had a chance, we couldn't take advantage of it after the first two games," Piturca told reporters. "The Dutch team were better and fresher than us tonight."
A poor first half ended scoreless with a nervy Romania forced to shoot from long range.
Captain Cristian Chivu fired a free kick over from a good central position after nine minutes before Adrian Mutu and Gabriel Tamas went close with 25-metre drives.
Arjen Robben should have snatched the lead for the Dutch in the 36th minute when he latched on to a through ball from Huntelaar but slipped it wide from six metres with only keeper Bogdan Lobont to beat.
Van Persie also missed a good second-half opportunity when he turned defender Sorin Ghionea inside out before his shot was parried away superbly by Lobont's outstretched hand.
Complete Coverage: Euro 2008