Netherlands get back on track with Euro qualifying win over Latvia

BY foxsports • November 16, 2014

The Netherlands got their Euro 2016 Group A qualifying campaign back on track as they thrashed Latvia 6-0 in Amsterdam.

Dutch manager Guus Hiddink had threatened to walk away if the Oranje were beaten again, having seen his side defeated in both away games so far against the Czech Republic and Iceland.

However, any suggestions of another shock result were dispelled as captain Robin van Persie put the home side ahead after just six minutes with his 48th international goal.

Rampant Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben cracked home a second and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar netted a third from close range just before half-time.

Jeffrey Bruma scored his first senior international goal after a corner with 12 minutes left. There was still time for Robben to lash in another from the edge of the Latvia box to cap a fine individual display, with Huntelaar adding a late sixth with a crisp turn and low finish.

The victory came at a cost, however, with Manchester United's defensive midfielder Daley Blind limping off in the first half.

The Netherlands are third in Group A with six points from four matches, three behind Czech Republic and Iceland, who meet in Plzen later on Sunday.

The Netherlands were immediately on the offensive as Ibrahim Afellay's 18-yard effort struck the post before the home side swept into the lead on six minutes.

Huntelaar laid the ball off out to Robben on the right, before turning to clip a pass back into the six-yard box, where van Persie headed past former Crystal Palace goalkeeper Aleksandrs Kolinko.

The Dutch maintained their momentum as both wingers Robben and Afellay stretched the visitors.

Latvia, though, threatened on the counter attack, as Valerijs Sabala sent a free header wide from a central position inside the penalty area.

The Netherlands were forced into a change after 20 minutes when Blind hobbled off with what looked like a knee problem following a hefty challenge against Eduards Visnakovs, and was replaced by Jordy Clasie of Feyenoord.

Afellay again tested the Latvia keeper with an angled drive after cutting inside from the left.

Robben continued to terrorize the visitors defense, collecting a quick pass from Wesley Sneijder and darting into the area, as Kolinko came out to block with his feet.

Van Persie's downward header was too close to the Latvia keeper, but Kolinko could do nothing as Robben lashed in a second goal on 35 minutes.

After collecting the ball on the left, Robben exchanged passes with the Dutch captain, before stepping inside and sending the ball into the top right corner from 20 yards.

Latvia were over-run again three minutes before the break.

Afellay sped down the left and crossed for Schalke forward Huntelaar to sweep the ball in at the near post, taking his international tally to 37, alongside Dennis Bergkamp in third place on the all-time Dutch goalscorer list.

The one-way traffic continued in the second half.

Robben was inches away from scoring a fourth on 57 minutes when his curling 25-yard free-kick dropped onto the top of the crossbar, before drilling a low, angled effort just wide.

Despite their dominance, Holland looked less than composed at the back, with a deep ball causing some panic before it was headed goalwards by Valerijs Sabala and collected by a grateful keeper Jasper Cillessen.

The Oranje chalked up a fourth with 12 minutes left when Van Persie flicked on a corner, which PSV Eindhoven defender Bruma stabbed in from four yards.

Robben lashed in number five after a positive run from Georginio Wijnaldum down the right, cutting inside to fire past Kolinko from the edge of the box.

Huntelaar and substitute Memphis Depay were both denied by the busy Latvia keeper, before the Schalke striker swept in a sixth goal on 89 minutes.

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