Van Basten bows out gracefully

Dutch boss accepts defeat

Marco van Basten admitted that his Dutch side were second best during their 3-1 defeat to Russia.

Holland had entered the quarter-final contest as firm favourites having breezed through a group which included World Cup finalists France and Italy, but were outplayed from the off in Basel.

They never looked like reproducing their earlier heroics against a well organised Russian outfit, and were fortunate to force the game into extra-time.

They had fallen behind to a Roman Pavlyuchenko opener midway through the second half, but gave themselves a lifeline when Ruud van Nistelrooy levelled four minutes from the end of normal time.

However, the Russian onslaught proved to be too great and Dmitri Torbinski and Andrei Arshavin secured Russian progression into the last four.


Van Basten, who will now take up his new role as the manager of Ajax, accepted that Russia had been the better side on the night and were worthy winners.

"We didn't play football, and never got into the game," he conceded.

"Normally we should have been in better shape than the Russians. We didn't see that.

"But the Russians played a lot better than we did and deserved their victory.

"I can live with the indisputable fact that they were better than us.

"We delivered some remarkable performances in the first round, but, today we were not able to repeat those."