The Netherlands produced a performance reminiscent of their 1970s and late 1980s vintage as they overran Austria 3-0 in Vienna to move top of EURO 2004™ Group 3.
Never in danger
Dick Advocaat's side, for whom Boudewijn Zenden and Clarence Seedorf were peerless on the wings, Philip Cocu and Edgar Davids dominant in midfield and Patrick Kluivert and Roy Makaay always threatening up front, were three up in 29 minutes, and never looked in danger.
Optimism for Austria
Austria, who led the group at the start of the day thanks to wins against Moldova and Belarus, deployed veteran Andreas Herzog against a Dutch side without Ruud van Nistelrooij.
The Dutch dominated the early exchanges, and it was no surprise when they went ahead a quarter of an hour in. Cocu's clever through-ball was flicked on to Kluivert, who drew Austrian goalkeeper Alex Manninger and back-heeled to Seedorf, the winger making no mistake with his close-range shot.
Cocu steals in
Five minutes later, and it was 2-0. Davids was fouled 30 metres from goal, and although Seedorf's free-kick hit the post, Cocu stole in to poke the ball in with Manninger still committed from his original dive. Austria had few answers at this stage, with the visitors keeping possession for long periods.
Makaay on hand
The third goal arrived in the 29th minute after one of the Netherlands' many quick breaks from midfield. Kluivert gave a display of skills on the edge of the area and was tackled - only for the ball to deflect kindly to Makaay, who made no mistake from eight metres. No further goals arrived in the half, but the Netherlands continued to give a display of possession football that left their opponents chasing shadows.
Little changed in the second period, as the Netherlands went forward at will, and four minutes into the half Kluivert saw a header cleared off the line. Zenden, Makaay and Seedorf also saw chances go close as the period wore on, although they could not add to their lead.
The home side did show a little more attacking thrust in the last 30 minutes, but rarely looked like breaking down Jaap Stam and Frank de Boer, and ended the game with ten men after Martin Hiden was sent off 13 minutes from time for an elbow on Cocu.