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Holland rout Hungary 4-0
Published on:Friday, March 25, 2011 - 23:20
Holland has won the first of two back-to-back Euro 2012 qualifying matches against Hungary. The encounter in Budapest ended in a convincing 4-0 victory for the Dutch.
The venue was a touch depressing. The Ferenc Puskás Stadium, a concrete colossus named after Hungary’s greatest footballer ever, was only half filled, with the stands in the upper ring left empty, for safety reasons. Built during the post-war communist era, in the glory years of the “Magical Magyars”, the all-seater stadium will be torn down in two years’ time.
The restoration of the national team is proceeding just slightly quicker. Under the stewartship of Sándor Egervári, Hungary have made great strides towards qualifying for next year’s European Championships and were keen to perform well against group E leaders Holland on Friday.
Their star player initially led the way from the left flank with some clever passing. Balázs Dzsudzsák cut through the Oranje defence several times to test goalkeeper Michel Vorm and continually switched positions with the other Magyar menace, right-winger Gergely Rudolf.
But what the hosts failed to do, Holland achieved twice in the first half, and twice in the second. As early as the 8th minute, captain Rafael van der Vaart tucked in the ball from close range. And with half-time approaching, it was Ibrahim Affelay who deftly controlled a cross before hammering the ball into the net from within the penalty box.
"That was a demonstration of superb individual skill by the Barcelona player," says James Sharpe, former Dutch athlete and Freedom Party MP, based in Budapest.
"But it came during a weaker spell for Holland. The Dutch were lucky to get the first goal, which was clearly a goalkeeping error. And the second came as a result of a long ball, a style of play Holland had resorted to instead of the quick short-distance precision passing which the team is so good at."
Another two quick goals
Then, at the start of the second half, the game exploded, flowing in both directions, with Holland rapidly gaining the upper hand. The guests proved lethal in their finishing, with Dirk Kuyt and Robin van Persie netting from close range in the 54th and 62nd minutes.
"We saw some astonishing gallery play by the Dutch," says Mr Sharpe, "with 64 percent possession and sublime fast-paced passing which dazzled the Hungarians."
"The Holland defence, midfield and attacking lines now played closer to each other and Hungary just lacked the skills to stop the onslaught. It was a magnificent collective performance. Hungary just threw in the towel."
As Dutch dominance grew, the game turned more ugly, with Ibrahim Affelay becoming the victim of a string of fouls for which two yellow cards were given. Affelay's replacement Eljiro Elia was soon carried off too but able to resume play within minutes.
Blow for Hungary
To spare more limbs, Holland manager Bert van Marwijk brought on two substitutes ten minutes from time: Ruud van Nistelrooy and Kevin Strootman for Dirk Kuyt and Rafael van der Vaart.
Three minutes before the final whistle, Hungary came close to scoring, but with three classy saves in succession, Michel Vorm showed why he was picked to replace the injured first choice, Maarten Stekelenburg.
"This must come as a terrible blow for Hungary. And it could easily have been 5-0 or 6-0," says Mr Sharpe, who fears the worst for Hungary in the return match, scheduled in Amsterdam on Tuesday.
Holland defender John Heitinga concurs. Speaking after the match, he stressed that "the entire Dutch squad is hungry to win."
"We're very keen, we all want to bring the best out of this team. And you've seen in this match that our footballing qualities are best served when the basic patterns of our play are observed and all the basic assignments are carried out. And everyone enjoys playing for this outfit. We're all delighted to team up again for the next match."
Hungary 0 - Holland 4
Rafael van der Vaart (8')
Ibrahim Affelay (45')
Dirk Kuyt (54')
Robin van Persie (62')
Holland starting line-up:
1-Michel Vorm; 2-Gregory van der Wiel, 3-John Heitinga, 4-Joris Mathijsen, 5-Erik Pieters; 6-Nigel de Jong, 18-Rafael van der Vaart (C); 7-Dirk Kuyt, 10-Wesley Sneijder, 11-Ibrahim Afellay; 9-Robin van Persie
Substitiutions: Kevin Strootman, Eljero Elia, Ruud van Nistelrooy for Rafael van der Vaart, Ibrahim Affelay and Dirk Kuyt
Hungary starting line-up:
1-Gábor Király ; 2-Zoltán Lipták; 3, Vilmos Vanczák; 4-Roland Juhász; 5-Zsolt Laczkó; 6-Ákos Elek; 7-Balázs Dzsudzsák; 8-Gergely Rudolf; 9-József Varga; 10-Zoltán Gera (C); 11-Vladimir Koman
Substitiutions: Péter Czvitkovics, Krisztián Vadócz, Tamás Priskin for József Varga, Vladimir Koman and Ákos Elek
UEFA EURO 2012 Group E standings after the Hungary-Holland match: