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Perfect Netherlands see off Sweden

Netherlands 4-1 Sweden
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored twice to take his group tally to eight and Ibrahim Afellay struck his first two international goals for a fourth win.

Perfect Netherlands see off Sweden
Perfect Netherlands see off Sweden ©UEFA.com

The Netherlands maintained their perfect record in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group E with a convincing win against Sweden.

Two goals each from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ibrahim Afellay put the game beyond the visitors to Amsterdam, who did at least manage a consolation through Andreas Granqvist. The Netherlands, who have now won their last 12 qualifying fixtures, are three points ahead of Hungary with Sweden a similar distance further back, holding a game in hand.

Missing the injured Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie, the Netherlands started with the same side that won 1-0 in Moldova on Friday and they made their first attack after four minutes count, a combination move that cut through the heart of the Sweden team. Joris Mathijsen's reverse pass was met by a Wesley Sneijder back-heel to Rafael van der Vaart, who sent Huntelaar free to shoot hard and low past Andreas Isaksson.

Straight from the restart, the Netherlands pushed forward again and Sneijder's shot hit the side netting before he then forced Isaksson to save at full stretch. Ola Toivonen had a chance to equalise in the 23rd minute but his chip over the onrushing Maarten Stekelenburg fell just wide of the post.

Dirk Kuyt was forced off with an ankle injury after landing awkwardly just before the half-hour but eight minutes before the break it was 2-0, the Oranje again finding a route through a visiting back line missing the suspended Olof Mellberg. Sneijder intercepted a Sweden throw and his precise pass was finished off by Afellay at full speed, his first international goal in 30 appearances.

Afellay did not have to wait long to double that tally though first, ten minutes into the second half, he turned provider as he tricked Mikael Lustig on the left and crossed for Huntelaar to head in his eighth goal in qualifying. Four minutes later Huntelaar returned the compliment, setting up Afellay to make it four.

Granqvist pulled one back from Sebastian Larsson's free-kick and Stekelenburg saved from Zlatan Ibrahimović and Marcus Berg but victory was secure and the FIFA World Cup finalists will go to Hungary on 25 March knowing another win would put them in sight of qualification.