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Sweden smothered by dominant Dutch

AFP/The Local · 13 Oct 2010, 07:44

Published: 13 Oct 2010 07:44 GMT+02:00

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The victory sees the Dutch maintain their perfect start to the qualifiers with four wins from four matches with the only black spot of the night an ankle injury to winger Dirk Kuyt that saw him taken to hospital.

After only four minutes of play, Swedish defender Andreas Granqvist, starting in place of the suspended Olof Mellberg, turned the ball over the Dutch sniper Wesley Sneijder.

Sneijder in turn fed the ball to to Rafael van der Vaart who then set up Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.for the Netherlands’ first goal.

The Dutch later took advantage of an ill-conceived throw in by left back Behrang Safari, which landed at Sneijder’s feet, making it easy for teammate Ibrahim Afellay to take his feed and split through the Swedish backline for the score.

“Not good at all. It’s a catastrophe,” Sweden’s star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic told TV4 following the match.

Ibrahimovic struggled to find a path to the goal for much of the match, with his first real scoring chance coming on a strike from 20 metres out which ended up in the arms of Maarten Stekelenburg.

“They were much better than us. It feels like they could control the game. Every time we made progress, it feels like we got hit back,” said Ibrahimovic.

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk said that he was worried the injury to Kuyt was a serious one, but was delighted with the manner of his side's victory.

"We played really well," said van Marwijk, who was praised last week for the stance he took over ejecting midfielder Nigel de Jong from the squad for a horror tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa in the English Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle.

"We could have scored a few more. But we also offered up a few opportunities to our opponents. But overall, we played football that I like to watch."

Huntelaar - who has failed to sparkle both at AC Milan and then Real Madrid before alighting on Schalke 04 – later took his tally to eight goals in the four qualifiers when he made it 3-0 following up a beautiful piece of individual skill by Afellay.

Story continues below…

Afellay had never scored in his previous 29 appearances for the 'Oranje' but he ended that drought in style on Tuesday.

He added to his first half tally and rounded off the scoring in the 59th minute after being found by Huntelaar and finished the match in tears with the emotion of it being too much for him.

The Swedes were shell-shocked but still at least managed a consolation effort by Granqvist in the 69th minute.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:31 October 13, 2010 by eppie
Come on Sweden this is nothing to be ashamed of. You lost from a team that despite having had a half strength attack (van Persie not playing well, Robben injured but playing and Huntelaar not playing) almost won the world cup.

And this time at least Huntelaar is allowed playing time (which was one of van Marwijks biggest mistakes in the world cup.....a mistake also made by the traines of Madrid and Milan). Huntelaars goals per played minute ratio is very high.

When Holland manages to keep an injury free team untill the european cup, together with some new players getting more playing time they will reach the final again in 2012.

It shouldn't be a problem for Sweden however to take the second place in this group.
10:01 October 13, 2010 by Argentina84
Hey! Don't worry, be happy!

At least you could score a goal.That means you did much better than Argentina against Germany! lol =)
12:51 October 13, 2010 by Audrian
It is well known that the Dutch team is a formidable team and the outcome of the game would have been known. Loosing 4 to 1 was probably possible because of the Swedish slow start and total dependence on one player to score a goal, which made it easy for the Dutch to know the intension the Swedish forward. In the last few minutes the Swedes began to realize their mistakes and began to regroup and play better.

If Sweden had played the way it played the last thirty minutes Sweden would have lost 2 to 1 or it would have ended in a draw.
15:25 October 13, 2010 by StockholmSam
Best-looking uniforms I have ever seen Sweden wear. The normal yellow and blue unis are just too colorful for me. The white shorts, blue jerseys and blue socks look fab.
20:13 October 13, 2010 by mojofat
Not a soccer fan...although the world cup can be fun. I watched the game with a group of swedish friends to lend some support for the home country team, but it was embarrassing to watch....like children playing grown men. Everyone left the party in a somewhat sour mood.
21:29 October 13, 2010 by Beavis
Well what do you expect if you revolve the team around the donkey that is Zlatan missing constantly from a metre out, put him on the bench where he belongs and give the other players a go and Sweden will have a chance.. otherwise its going to be a 3rd place finish again
09:37 October 15, 2010 by Alf Garnett
As an impartial bystander I thought the referee was rubbish & on par with the Swedish players.

Well done Holland this performance shows you can actually play sporting football, well apart from the diving & other unsporting behaviour.
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