Netherlands beats Estonia 3-0 in WCup qualifier
The Netherlands made it five wins out of five World Cup
qualifiers on Friday after goals from Rafael van der Vaart and
Robin van Persie helped secure a comfortable 3-0 victory over
Substitute Van der Vaart opened the scoring with the
Netherlands’ first move of the second half, controlling a pass from
Daryl Janmaat before lashing a shot into the bottom right-hand
corner from the edge of the box.
Van Persie added a second goal after 72 minutes, firing home
from close range after another pass by Janmaat, before Ruben
Schaken scored the third in the 83rd.
The Netherlands remains top of Group D, with a perfect record of
15 points from five games, five points ahead of Hungary and
Romania. The last time the Dutch lost a World Cup qualifier was in
Van der Vaart came on for Wesley Sneijder after 36 minutes when
his teammate left the field with groin pain. The two are old
friends from their Ajax days but are now vying for the playmaker
spot. Coach Louis van Gaal said it was unlikely that Sneijder will
play Tuesday against Romania.
For his part, Van der Vaart was just pleased to have broken the
”It was a sharp pass, and then you have a little luck that
you’re able to turn with it,” he said. ”There wasn’t much
Estonia had two chances in the last moments of the first half
that might have changed the course of the game. Midfielder
Konstantin Vassiljev took a long range shot that Dutch keeper
Kenneth Vermeer parried – but only to Vassiljev’s feet. His second
effort was more dangerous, but Vermeer scrambled and dived again,
this time holding the ball.
”The first half was an investment in the second half,” Van
Gaal said, as his team tried to wear down the well-organized
Estonian defense. But once the first goal went in, Estonia’s
defense became less tight, and Van Gaal said it was relatively easy
for the Dutch to add to the scoreline.
Estonia had a chance to get back in the game on 78 minutes when
Martin Vunk broke free to challenge Vermeer one on one, but he
chipped his shot over the top.
Summing up the Dutch qualifying campaign to date, Van Gaal said:
”We’re in good shape.”