Already guaranteed a place at UEFA EURO 2012, the Netherlands ensured qualification as section winners by extending their perfect qualifying record to nine successive Group E victories with a slender triumph in Rotterdam. As in Chisinau on 8 October last year, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored the only goal of the game to take his tally for an impressive campaign to 11 goals.
Bert van Marwijk's side might have won the match more convincingly but for the excellence of visiting goalkeeper Stanislav Namaşco who pulled off a string of saves throughout the match. Indeed, the Oranje began brightly, with Dirk Kuyt's early strike ruled out for offside and Robin van Persie sending a ferocious shot narrowly over. Namaşco twice then denied Rafael van der Vaart before making a remarkable double-save on the half-hour mark from Huntelaar's free-kick and Kuyt's follow-up.
Namaşco's resistance was eventually broken five minutes before the interval when Mark van Bommel sent a long pass to Kuyt, who raced into the area before picking out Huntelaar, who completed the simplest of tap-ins for his 29th goal in Oranje colours.
The hosts continued to dominate thereafter, Van Persie hitting the crossbar early in the second period, although the hitherto unemployed Michel Vorm had to be alert to Anatoli Cheptine's drive. Despite the best efforts of the Dutch to extend their lead, they failed to turn their superiority into further goals and were relieved to watch Victor Golovatenco's header whistle over the crossbar five minutes from the end. The Netherlands are six points clear at the top from second-placed Sweden, who await them in Solna on Tuesday.
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