Holland ease into last eight

Van Basten's men give Raymond Domenech Les Bleus

Holland booked their place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 with a convincing 4-1 victory over a shell-shocked France.

Dirk Kuyt, Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder were the heroes for Marco van Basten's side, while Thierry Henry grabbed a scant consolation for Les Bleus.

The Dutch took the lead inside 10 minutes as Kuyt headed home a Giovanni Van Bronckhurst corner from the right.

The Liverpool man was able to muscle his way past Florent Malouda and from six-yards out gave Gregory Coupet no chance as he nodded into the top corner.

France looked increasingly threatening as the half drew on, but went in at the break a goal behind.

Raymond Domenech's men once again looked the more likely to score after the interval but were hit by a sucker punch just before the hour-mark.

Robben's burst down the left allowed him to pick out the unmarked Van Persie in the middle and the Arsenal striker's volley crept agonisingly past Coupet.

Henry thought he had given Les Bleus hope on 71 minutes when he swept home a Franck Ribery cross, only to see his joy turn to despair 60 seconds later.

Holland, who are so quick on the break, freed Robben inside the box and from a seemingly impossible angle he smashed a third into the roof of the net.

The Dutch were not done yet though and saved the best for last as Sneijder curled a spectacular effort in off the underside of the bar as the game ticked into injury-time.

The Dutch look dangerous and will fancy their chances of securing a first international title in 20 years.


Holland's confidence was sky high after their stunning victory over the Italy on Monday, and Kuyt's opener after just ten minutes helped them settle.

It was a simple goal of the kind France rarely concede, Rafael van der Vaart sending a corner in from the right and Kuyt beating Malouda in the air to head home at the near post.

The Dutch posed all sorts of problems early on, with Sneijder firing just over in the 15th minute and then Kuyt poking a shot over the bar when free in the area after he pounced on a weak Lilian Thuram header.

France had been criticised back home for their laboured performance against Romania in Zurich but they upped the tempo here and created a host of half-chances in the final 20 minutes of the half.

Their first sight on goal came when Govou's near-post effort drew an excellent instinctive save out of Edwin van der Sar.

Three more opportunities fell to the French in the space of a few minutes - Malouda, Govou and Ribery all bringing decent stops out of Van Der Sar with low drives.

Henry curled wide from 20 yards with the last opportunity of the half but at the start of the second period, he thought he had earned his side a penalty.

Govou's driven cross-shot was deflected into his path and the Barcelona striker's goalbound effort was blocked by the hand of Andre Ooijer.

Referee Herbert Fandel was obviously unsighted and only gave a corner, much to the chagrin of the French.


Henry had an immediate chance to exact his revenge but having been put clean through in the 53rd minute by Malouda's spectacular pass, the former Arsenal skipper sent his lob way over.

His profligacy was punished on the hour mark when two of Holland's second-half substitutes, Robben and Van Persie, combined to put the Dutch further ahead.

The goal originated from some sublime skills by Ruud van Nistelrooy on the touchline and his Real Madrid team-mate Robben took the ball on.

His perfect cross from the left found Van Persie, whose volley crept over the line despite the best efforts of Coupet.

Henry finally got his goal in the 71st minute when he glanced home a cross from the right from Willy Sagnol but, within seconds, Robben restored Holland's two-goal cushion.

The left-winger ran onto Sneijder's through-ball down the left channel, won himself half a yard against Thuram and drove home a powerful drive from a narrow angle into the roof of the net.

The impressive Van Nistelrooy almost got himself on the scoresheet with seven minutes left with an impudent header, but it was clawed out by Coupet.

It was left for Sneijder to add garnish, his superb curling shot from 25 yards giving Coupet no chance.