Van Basten basks in Dutch glory

Holland coach delighted with comprehensive victory

Marco van Basten was a picture of contentment after seeing his side hammer France 4-1.

The Dutch, who were still basking the glory of their 3-0 victory over World Champions Italy on Monday, were rarely troubled by a side punching well below their weight at present.

The perfect start they craved was handed to them by Dirk Kuyt after just 10 minutes, and after that they rarely looked back.

Robin Van Persie doubled the lead shortly after stepping off the bench, before Thierry Henry gave Les Bleus a glimmer of hope with 19 minutes remaining.

Holland are made of stern stuff, though, and restored their two-goal lead just 60 seconds later through another second-half arrival, Arjen Robben.

The game was already over by the time Wesley Sneijder pinged a fourth in off the underside of the bar in injury-time, but it was the ideal way to round off an almost immaculate performance.

As a result, Van Basten's men march onto the quarter-finals and have the almost unimaginable luxury of being able to rest players in their final 'Group of Death' fixture against Romania next Tuesday.

Their coach was understandably delighted at the way his side have breezed into the last eight and is looking forward to the remainder of a tournament which is promising so much.


"We can only be happy after first beating the world champions 3-0 and France 4-1," said Van Basten.

"We were a little lucky today, we made goals at the right time.

"I want to congratulate our defence and the whole team for their healthy spirit.

"To be number one in the group is very positive for us."

Real Madrid ace Sneijder has now notched against both of the 2006 World Cup finalists, while he has also received back-to-back man of the match awards.

The midfielder admits that the Dutch are living in dreamland at the moment, but has warned against premature celebrations.

"Italy was already so beautiful and this is exactly the same," he said.

"Let's build a party now, but not too much because we still need to play the quarterfinals."