The Netherlands stayed two points clear of Bulgaria at the top of Group G with a nervy victory over Albania in Amsterdam.
Robin van Persie's early strike and an own goal by goalkeeper Arian Beqaj gave the Dutch a comfortable lead, but Dbatik Curri reduced the deficit in the second half to ensure a tense finish for the home side. While the Dutch now have ten points from their opening four games, Albania sit second-bottom of the section with just one from three matches.
In the absence of the injured Dirk Kuyt, Netherlands coach Marco van Basten opted for the attacking trio of Van Persie, Arjen Robben and Ryan Babel and his team started brightly. After 12 minutes Van Persie went close to opening the scoring when his long-range drive forced a save from Beqaj and three minutes later, he did break the deadlock, meeting Joris Mathijsen's header and firing home from the centre of the penalty area.
Opportunities for Landzaat
Midfielder Denny Landzaat wasted the chance to extend the hosts' lead when he shot wide from in the 23rd minute. Soon after he let another opportunity slip by when he blasted over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area. Albania then carved out their first chance of the game with Erion Bogdani testing Edwin van der Sar with a long-range drive.
The Netherlands doubled their advantage just before half-time with Beqaj left embarrassed as he put through his own net. Immediately after the interval, Armend Dallku's long-range drive almost reduced the deficit when he forced a good save from Van der Sar, before Robben's corner was headed over by Van Persie in the 54th minute.
Robben's ten-metre effort was then punched clear by Beqaj on the hour, before Albania were handed a lifeline in the 67th minute when Bogdani's cross was lashed home by Curri from 18 yards. Bogdani sent a shot wide from distance in the 70th minute, while Beqaj denied Robben in the dying stages as he looked to make the victory safe.