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Van Nistelrooy vaunts Dutch class

Published: Wednesday 30 March 2011, 9.06CET
Ruud van Nistelrooy pointed to the Netherlands' "class in front of goal" as the difference between the sides after the Group E leaders clinched a thrilling 5-3 win against Hungary.
by Berend Scholten
from Amsterdam ArenA
Van Nistelrooy vaunts Dutch class
Ruud van Nistelrooy (right) was among the scorers for the Netherlands on Tuesday ©Getty Images
 
Published: Wednesday 30 March 2011, 9.06CET

Van Nistelrooy vaunts Dutch class

Ruud van Nistelrooy pointed to the Netherlands' "class in front of goal" as the difference between the sides after the Group E leaders clinched a thrilling 5-3 win against Hungary.

Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooy credited his side's "class in front of goal" for the thrilling 5-3 triumph against Hungary that left them nine points clear at the top of UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group E.

Bert van Marwijk's men found themselves 2-1 behind shortly after half-time and were pegged back to 3-3 with 15 minutes remaining, but still made sure of victory in Amsterdam courtesy of two late Dirk Kuyt efforts. The 2010 FIFA World Cup finalists now have six wins from six outings in the qualifying section, having posted a more emphatic 4-0 success against Hungary in Budapest last Friday.

"We were already playing a bit loosely in the first half without them profiting, but in the second half they took advantage and suddenly we were 2-1 behind," Van Nistelrooy told UEFA.com. "That was a bit of a shock, but we didn't have time to think about it and we kept playing football. The fans were behind us and we were able to turn it around. Hungary really went for it. They wanted to make up [for Friday's result] and they did that, but we won in the end thanks to our moments of class in front of goal."

Van Nistelrooy came on for the injured Robin van Persie at the break and he promptly took his international tally to 35 strikes in 70 appearances, hitting the Oranje's third with a low right-footed shot. "It's wonderful to be part of this team and contribute something to it, as I did today," added the 34-year-old Hamburger SV forward.

His team-mate Joris Mathijsen was similarly pleased with the outcome, though was troubled by the Netherlands' shortcomings at the back. "Looking back over the two matches, then six points, nine goals scored and three conceded is not bad," commented the centre-back. "We have to stay critical, however. Today was not good and we were a bit too arrogant perhaps. Conceding three goals should never happen."

The Hamburg defender also revealed that Kuyt's exquisite 81st-minute finish that rounded off the victory owed something to good fortune. "I don't think Kuyt himself realised how he managed to put that ball in," said Mathijsen. "He's owned up to that already, by the way. But we're obviously still happy with it."

In the Hungary camp, defender Pál Lázár was able to pick out plenty of positives from the visitors' performance. "It was a crazy match," said the 23-year-old full-back. "For me, this game against the Netherlands was the best of my life. Beforehand, I had said we needed to defend well and then try to counterattack. We managed to score three goals but we've still ended up point-less.

"We played better than in the game in Budapest," he continued. "Our strikers, Gergely Rudolf and Balázs Dzsudzsák, both played very well and this gives us hope that the next match will maybe be an easier one." Third in the group, level on points with Sweden but having played two matches more, Hungary are next due to visit San Marino on 7 June, with the Oranje not in competitive action until they welcome the same opponents on 2 September.

Last updated: 30/03/11 14.41CET

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