Europe

Netherlands beats Norway 1-0

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OSLO, Norway (AP)

Mark van Bommel scored in the second half Wednesday to give the Netherlands a 1-0 win against Norway in a World Cup qualifier. Van Bommel scored in the 63rd minute after the home side failed to clear a corner. Dirk Kuyt hit the crossbar just a minute earlier. "We knew it was going to be a very tough game," said Netherlands captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst. "We are very happy with the three points. It gives us a lot of trust and confidence going into the future." Norway came out strong after a slow-paced first half and pushed the Dutch back in the first 15 minutes after the break. John Carew had several chances but failed to put the ball past Dutch keeper Edwin van der Sar. The win leaves the Netherlands in first place with three wins in Group 9, while Norway is in fourth place with only two points. "If we had only been able to raise our game one more notch we would have made it," Carew said. "It's not over yet but we've made it very difficult for ourselves." Christian Grindheim had Norway's best chance in the first half when he curled a corner kick just outside the post in the 39th minute. The visitors replied just before halftime, when Kuyt set up Ibrahim Afellay, who replaced injured winger Ryan Babel, but his shot went wide. Norwegian substitute Tarik Elyounoussi had Norway's best chance to equalize, but fired a volley straight at Van der Sar in the 80th. Elyounoussi sought a penalty in the final minutes when he fell inside the box, but the referee didn't blow the whistle.
Lineups: Norway: Jon Knudsen, Jon Inge Hoiland, Kjetil Waehler, Brede Hangeland, John Arne Riise, Henning Hauger (Thorstein Helstad, 85), Morten Gamst Pedersen (Tarik Elyounoussi, 77), Christian Grindheim, Fredrik Winsnes, Steffen Iversen, John Carew. Netherlands: Edwin van der Sar, Dirk Marcellis, Andre Ooijer, Joris Mathijsen, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Mark van Bommel, Demy de Zeeuw, Dirk Kuyt, Rafael van der Vaart (Wesley Sneijder, 76), Ryan Babel, (Ibrahim Afellay, 26), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Robin van Persie 57).

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