Netherlands near finals goal with winWednesday 17 October 2007
The Netherlands are one win away from claiming a place at UEFA EURO 2008™ after goals from Wesley Sneijder and Klaas Jan Huntelaar earned victory against Slovenia in Eindhoven.
Sneijder opened the scoring on 14 minutes before Huntelaar made sure of the points with two minutes to play. With Bulgaria being held to a 1-1 draw by Albania, Marco van Basten's men only need to beat Luxembourg on 17 November to join Romania from Group G at next summer's tournament. Things did not entirely go the hosts' way, however, as Rafael van der Vaart, Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben left the field injured.
The Oranje dominated early on and went ahead when Sneijder turned in Huntelaar's pass from 12 metres. Sneijder almost doubled his tally soon after but his left-foot shot came back off the post. Slovenia had their first chance on 24 minutes when Maarten Stekelenburg, deputising for the injured Edwin van der Sar, saved well from Branko Ilič. Robben had again been left out by coach Van Basten but the Real Madrid CF winger got his opportunity when Van der Vaart limped off.
The Netherlands continued to press after the interval and came close to a second in the 53rd minute when Robben crossed for Huntelaar, only for Mitja Mörec to block the AFC Ajax striker's attempt. The home team suffered a double injury setback when Arsenal FC forward Van Persie had to be replaced by André Ooijer and three minutes later Robben went off injured with Ryan Babel coming on. Sneijder had a free-kick saved by Samir Handanovič in the 70th minute before the Netherlands eventually put the game beyond doubt when Huntelaar converted Clarence Seedorf's cross with two minutes to go.
©uefa.com 1998-2007. All rights reserved.