Euro 2004: 'here we come'

20th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

20 November 2003 , AMSTERDAM — The Dutch national football team qualified for the 2004 European Championships on Wednesday night, sending the Scottish team packing with a sensational 6-0 victory at the Amsterdam Arena.

20 November 2003

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch national football team qualified for the 2004 European Championships on Wednesday night, sending the Scottish team packing with a sensational 6-0 victory at the Amsterdam Arena.

Needing to win by at least two goals after the disappointing 0-1 away loss in Scotland on Saturday 15 November, a young and rejuvenated Dutch team scored three goals in the first half as it took complete control of the last-ditch Euro 2004 qualification duel.

The team that lost to Scotland was the oldest in Dutch football history, newspaper De Telegraaf reported and coach Dick Advocaat opted for a youth policy on Wednesday night and 19-year-old mid-fielder Wesley Sneijder did not let him down.

He scored in the 14th minute and assisted Andre Ooijer (32nd minute) and Ruud van Nistelrooij (37th) to extend the lead out to three goals before the second half.

But the Dutch party did not end there, as Sneijder assisted again for the fifth as Frank de Boer headed the ball off the Scottish goalkeeper's gloved hand into the back of the net. The goal was a good reward for the record international — who surprisingly started on the bench — and his loyal service in years gone past.

Van Nistelrooij — given the nod ahead of top Dutch international record goal scorer Patrick Kluivert, who also started on the sidelines as part Advocaat's bold gamble — scored goals number four and six to end a remarkable evening for the Dutch team while 50,000 people looked on from the stands.

The Netherlands will now travel to the European Championships in Portugal, which will be held in June and July next year. The qualification comes after the Dutch miserably missed out on the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan and will go a long way towards silencing critics of an aging team full of stars once hailed as heroes.

But after recent bad press, the Orange players refused to talk with the media after the match and as way of explanation, Advocaat said in light of what had happened in recent days, the decision was entirely understandable.

Meanwhile, before the match started, thousands of Scottish fans streamed into the centre of Amsterdam, many wearing traditional kilts. The Scots gathered at Dam Square, in and around Nieuwmarkt and the Wallen area, while the Dutch fans assembled at Rembrandtplein.

Fans tried to hoist the Scottish flag at the National War Monument on Dam Square and a bagpipe player played the Scottish national anthem, Dutch associated press ANP reported.

Few problems were reported, but shortly before the match started, the doors of a Metro train were forced open at about 7pm by passengers trying to board the carriage and a group of fans took to walking on the track.

Amsterdam transport authority GVB cut the power to prevent any injuries and police were called in to clear the Waterlooplein station. Trains resumed operating 30 minutes later.

And thousands of Dutch fans — interspersed by a few Scottish fans — who did not have tickets for the match assembled in Amsterdam cafes and bars to watch it on TV and as the Orange lead was extended, both the disappointed Scottish and jubilant Dutch fans celebrated alike.

No resentment or bad feeling was noticed among the crowd. "We had tough luck, you had good luck. We are now for Holland," Scottish fan Barrie Neilson, of Glasgow, said.

Police had expected few problems before the start of the match and a spokeswoman said the championships qualification match went off without a hitch. "Perhaps it helps if men put on a skirt," she said. 

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Dutch news

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