World Cup runner up Holland showed its class against Sweden in a 2012 UEFA European Championship qualifier.
After zipping off three wins in qualifying Sweden came back to earth with a thud Oct. 12 as Holland handed the Blue and Yellow a 4-1 loss in the campaign for the 2012 UEFA European Championships.
The two teams entered the match with 3-0 records but it was the Dutch that looked like the perfect team as they ran riot against the Swedes. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ibrahim Afellay each had a pair of goals to lead Holland who played without superstars Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie. Holland didn’t miss its two English Premier League stars.
The Dutch needed just four minutes to open their account. The Dutch passing game had the Swedes simply watched as Joris Mathijsen sent a back pass to Wesley Sneijder who back-heeled the ball to Rafael van der Vaart, who sent Huntelaar free to shoot hard and low past Swedish goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson.
Netherlands pushed forward again and again with a Sneijder shot hitting the side netting before he forced Isaksson to save at full stretch. Ola Toivonen had a chance to equalize in the 23rd minute but his chip over the onrushing Maarten Stekelenburg fell just wide of the post.
Eight minutes before the break it the Dutch made the score 2-0. Sneijder intercepted a Sweden throw and Afellay finished off his precise pass at full speed. Afellay did not have to wait long to double that tally. 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.
Andreas Granqvist pulled one back from Sebastian Larsson's free-kick and Stekelenburg saved from Zlatan Ibrahimović and Marcus Berg but the Dutch victory was secure.
“We were not as good as I hoped or expected,” said Swedish head coach Erik Hamrén. “We gave Holland far too much room and they were much faster than we ever thought. Still, we have to remember that we played against a World Cup runner-up. They played fantastic football.”
Next match for the Swedish team will be at Ullevi, Göteborg, on November 17 when the blue and yellow play Germany.
Klaas Jan Huntelaar makes the score 3-0 as Holland swamps Sweden 4-1 Oct. 12 in a UEFA European Championhip qualifier.