Netherlands 2-1 Finland
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar picked up where he left off on Friday, scoring two early goals as his side made it two wins in as many Group E outings.
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Klaas-Jan Huntelaar picked up where he left off on Friday, scoring two early goals as the Netherlands made it six points from two outings in Group E.
The FC Schalke 04 striker registered a hat-trick as the Oranje began UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying with a 5-0 victory against San Marino and he was two-thirds of the way towards another 16 minutes into tonight's meeting with Finland. Mikael Forssell pulled one back and looked as likely as anyone to register a fourth goal but the home side held on, their 12th victory in 14 matches in 2010 a national record for wins in a calendar year.
With Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Dirk Kuyt all sidelined, Bert van Marwijk was left without any of the attacking triumvirate that helped guide them to this summer's FIFA World Cup final. Yet in Rafael van der Vaart, Ibrahim Afellay and Huntelaar he has ready-made replacements and two were involved in the opener on seven minutes, Wesley Sneijder collecting Van der Vaart's short corner and delivering it for Huntelaar to head in.
It was the 27-year-old's 20th goal in 38 international appearances and he did not have to wait long for No21, converting from the spot after Markus Heikkinen had brought down Mark van Bommel. The cushion did not last long. Two minutes later Forssell rose highest to head Daniel Sjölund's corner beyond Maarten Stekelenburg and the Dutch defence, even with John Heitinga back from suspension, looked vulnerable.
Stekelenburg twice denied Forssell from close range and was indebted to Gregory van der Wiel's goal-line clearance after Mika Väyrynen had been left all alone. As the second half got under way, the Netherlands grew more vigilant and it made for a tentative finale, with much of the cheering reserved for Ruud van Nistelrooy as he warmed up on the touchline, the cries reaching a crescendo when he replaced Huntelaar with ten minutes remaining. Huntelaar's job was done.