France 1-4 Netherlands

 

Euro 2000 winners France suffered their heaviest loss in European competition when they were beaten 4-1 by the Netherlands in Berne. The result leaves France needing to win their game against Italy, with the hope that the Romania Holland game also goes their way .  

 

Dirk Kuyt gave Holland the lead in the 10th minute, heading home from Rafael van der Vaart's corner. Florent Malouda, Kuyt's marker, was guilty of some laughable defending for the goal, failing to challenge for the ball when it came in. France had their opportunities in the first half, with Sidney Govou and Frank Ribery forcing Edwin Van der Sar into action. Marco van Basten sent on Arjen Robben at half time- an attacking player for the defensive minded Engelaar. Minutes into the second half, France appealed for a penalty when Theirry Henry's shot appeared to touch Andre Ooijer's arm, but Herbert Fandel remained unfazed. Henry himself had a chance to equalise for France when Malouda's overkick saw him in a one on one position with Van der Sar, but the Barcelona forward's chip went above the bar.  

Robben set up the second goal, galloping down the left after taking control of Van Nistelrooy's cheeky backheel. His cross found Van Persie in the box, and although Coupet got a hand to the ball, it still crossed the line. Persie had come on just two minutes earlier, replacing Kuyt. Perfect substitutions anybody ?  

 

Henry pulled one back for France, getting the slightest of touches to Willy Sagnol's cross in the 71st minute. But the French were jolted seconds later, with Robben producing a goal from nowhere. Shadowed by Thuram in the box, the Real Madrid forward found just an inch of space, and shot past Coupet from the narrowest of angles. And there was still room for a fourth, with Wesley Sneijder getting into the act with a beautiful twenty yard shot in injury time.  

 

Les Bleus painted Oranje in Berne, and the Dutch have now qualified for the last eight in Euro 2008.




Tags: France, Netherlands, Dirk Kuyt, Edwin Van der Sar, Wesley Sneijder, Euro 2008

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