Van Basten will take Romania game seriously
Netherlands coach dismisses suggestion his team would take it easy for Tuesday’s game in Romania.16 June 2008
BERNE - Netherlands coach Marco van Basten dismissed any suggestion his side would take things easy for their last group game after thrashing France 4-1 Friday to qualify for the quarter-finals of Euro 2008.
Romania would now qualify at the expense of world champions Italy and France, the team they beat in the 2006 World Cup final, if they defeat the Dutch in Berne on Tuesday.
France and Italy play each other at the same time in Zurich but a win for either side would be immaterial if Romania pick up three points to finish second behind the Dutch in Group C.
It's a scenario that could prove tempting for van Basten who would eliminate two of the pre-tournament favourites.
But the Dutch coach said he would prepare for the match like any other and had not yet thought about giving some of his reserve squad players a run-out.
"Today we are happy that we have beaten France. We will start thinking about the game against Romania tomorrow but we will prepare for it seriously," he said.
Marco van Basten's substitutions proved decisive in a scintillating victory against a French side which improved considerably from last Monday's drab performance in the goalless draw against Romania.
"Today (Friday) we were a little bit lucky. We just made the goals at the right moment and that helped us a lot," van Basten said.
However the coach's decisions were instrumental in the victory. Although holding a 1-0 lead at half-time, he was not tempted to shore up the lead but sought greater attacking threat.
He said he felt the forward players were having to come back into midfield to receive the ball, and he wanted the play to go deeper in the French half.
He replaced holding midfielder Orlando Engelaar at half-time for the speed and attacking thrust of Arjen Robben, and after 10 minutes striker Robin van Persie came on for Dirk Kuyt, scorer of the opening goal.
Bringing on Robben, who missed the first match against Italy with a groin strain, in particular was a move that could have backfired, but paid off handsomely.
"It gave us greater possibilities to go deeper and give us more space to attack again. These players are quick and technically good and so we were more dangerous in the second half even though France was creating more pressure," van Basten said.
Robben raced down the left to set up van Persie to score and then hammered in the third from a tight angle less than a minute after Thierry Henry had scored for France.
Man-of-the match Wesley Snijder than completed the rout with a tremendous strike in stoppage time.
"They brought on (Bafetimbi) Gomis and (Nicolas) Anelka (both strikers), so they tried everything to make it difficult for us," van Basten said of France.
"I have to compliment the defence because there was a lot of pressure, but they managed quite well and in the end we made some good goals with some good counter-attacks.
"We were all lucky at the end of the game, and happy."
[dpa / Expatica]
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