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Rediff.com  » Sports » Double Dutch strike wrecks Romania's hopes

Double Dutch strike wrecks Romania's hopes

Last updated on: 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 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 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 and France 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.

Darren Ennis
Source:
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