By Alex O'Henley at Hampden Park
Scotland recorded a famous win against the Netherlands in the first leg of their UEFA EURO 2004™ play-off at Hampden Park.
A first-half goal by James McFadden gave Berti Vogts' side a precious lead to take into the second leg in Amsterdam next Wednesday and a chance of making next year’s finals in Portugal.
Van Nistelrooij selected
Both coaches produced surprises in their lineups with Vogts preferring Paul Dickov to Kenny Miller in attack. Despite pre-match speculation that Ruud van Nistelrooij would be relegated to the bench, Advocaat started with the Manchester United FC striker leading the attack alongside Patrick Kluivert.
The Dutch created the first chance of the game within a minute. Marc Overmars won a free-kick on the left and from Andy van der Meyde's centre, Kluivert flashed a shot just wide of the Scotland goal. The early scare spurred Scotland forward and in the eleventh minute McFadden tested Edwin van de Sar after a poor header from Jaap Stam fell to him on the edge of the penalty box.
Naysmith to rescue
Immediately the Dutch broke to the other end and Van der Meyde found himself with time and space in the Scottish penalty area, but Gary Naysmith managed to get a last-ditch tackle in before the Internazionale FC player could get his shot away.
Scotland were enjoying more possession now and in the 22nd minute they deservedly went ahead. The Dutch defence failed to clear a corner from McFadden and when the ball came back to the Everton FC forward, McFadden played a sublime one-two with Darren Fletcher before hitting a left foot shot that took a deflection off Frank de Boer and rose past Van der Sar into the net.
The Netherlands were stunned and immediately pushed forward looking for an equaliser. Rab Douglas, the Scotland goalkeeper, was called upon to deal with a header from Stam and then Van der Meyde, who was causing problems for Naysmith down the left, fired a right foot shot just over the crossbar.
Six minutes before half-time, De Boer had a free header at the back post after he had escaped the attentions of Christian Dailly, but Naysmith was on the line to clear the ball away. Just before half-time, Dailly was booked for kicking the ball away after a challenge on Van der Meyde and the yellow card means he misses the second leg in Amsterdam next Wednesday.
Advocaat replaced Giovanni van Bronckhorst with Clarence Seedorf for the second half as the Dutch continued to take the game to the Scots. A cross from Van der Meyde within a minute of the re-start found Van Nistelrooij, but his header was straight at Douglas.
Stam strode forward in the 57th minute and hit a left-foot shot that went just over the bar. The big defender, who will miss the second leg after being booked, was involved again minutes later when his cross from the right caused panic. Kluivert beat Wilkie to the ball and his knockdown fell to Van der Meyde who smashed a shot that came back off the crossbar.
Seedorf wasted an opportunity for the Dutch with 17 minutes left after a good one-two with substitute Rafael Van der Vaart on the edge of the box. As the Dutch pushed forward they risked conceding again but the best chances still fell to the visitors. Van der Vaart's rasping drive in added time just went wide of the post and the Scots hung on.
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