Klaas-Jan Huntelaar helped himself to a hat-trick and Ruud van Nistelrooy joined in with the scoring as the Netherlands began life in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group E with a comfortable victory in San Marino.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup runners-up looked to have recovered from their disappointment in South Africa as they took a 16th-minute lead from the penalty spot, Dirk Kuyt leading the way. Recently snapped up by FC Schalke 04, Huntelaar then doubled the Oranje's advantage seven minutes before the interval and he registered again three minutes after the break, before completing his treble midway through the second half. That left Van Nistelrooy to round off the evening with a 90th-minute goal.
The match was destined to belong to Huntelaar, but it was Kuyt who delivered the opening blow for the visitors, settling their nerves from the spot after Davide Simoncini had fouled the Schalke man. The Netherlands enjoyed a perfect qualifying record on the road to South Africa and they looked determined to impress again with Poland and Ukraine the final destination this time around, Huntelaar putting the result beyond doubt with three goals in the space of 29 minutes.
The 27-year-old contested a mere 48 minutes of the 2010 World Cup, but that was 48 minutes more than Van Nistelrooy, who came out of international retirement to replace the injured Robin van Persie and capped his return with a last-gasp goal. He and his team-mates will now look to build on their strong start at home against Finland on Tuesday, when San Marino visit Sweden.
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