Oranje through to Euro 2012 finals after dispatching Finns

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The Netherlands have booked their place at next year’s European Championships following an emphatic 2-0 victory over Finland in Helsinki.

With six straight wins in their qualifying group, the Dutch are guaranteed a place in the finals either as group winners or as the best runner-up.

The only team that could have overtaken them if they failed to win their group, Turkey, missed a penalty in the last minute of their match of Austria, meaning they can no longer equal Holland’s total of 18 points from matches against the top five teams in their group.

The Dutch showed the class that has taken them to the top of FIFA’s official world rankings for the first time as goals from 21-year-old PSV midfielder Kevin Strootman and substitute Luuk de Jong, in the last minute, saw off the Finns.

But coach Bert van Marwijk expressed frustration with his team for failing to kill off their opponents much earlier. “This was a match we should have won 6-0,” he said. “It was easy for us for long periods, but we forgot to score.”

Strootman, who only last year was playing in the Dutch first division for Sparta, capped a fine performance with a superb volley from Wesley Sneijder’s cross in the 29th minute.

“Kevin played with great maturity,” said Van Marwijk. “As a player he’s somewhere in between Nigel de Jong and Rafael van der Vaart. Not just a holding midfielder, but not an out-and-out attacker either. He formed a good trio with Mark van Bommel and Wesley Sneijder.”

The Dutch, who join fellow former winners Germany, Spain and Italy as guaranteed qualifiers for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine, will secure first place in Group E if they avoid defeat against Moldova on October 7. On current form, that would seem a formality.

Source: De Volkskrant: Nederland verzekert van EK-ticket
Photo by Jimmy Baikovicius

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