Netherlands defeat Slovakia in Rotterdam friendly

May 31st, 2012 - 5:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Rotterdam, May 31 (IANS) The Netherlands beat Slovakia 2-0 here in a friendly match before the start of the European 2012 football championships.

After Saturday’s 1-2 loss in Amsterdam against Bulgaria, the Netherlands needed a good performance to restore its hopes for the forthcoming European Championships.

Head coach Bert van Marwijk chose Robin van Persie as central striker instead of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Ibrahim Afellay, Wilfred Bouma, Stijn Schaars, Arjen Robben and goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg were the other new names in the starting line-up Wednesday.

Afellay, who only recently returned at FC Barcelona after a lengthy injury lay-off, was the most notable player in the first half, with some energetic runs along the left-side, reports Xinhua.

He led the home-team to its first goal in the eighth minute after his shot was deflected into the Slovakian goal by Kornel Salata.

In the second half injured Bouma was substituted for Ron Vlaar, while Wesley Sneijder limped off injured and was replaced by Rafael van der Vaart. Huntelaar came in for Van Persie.

Van der Vaart brought in much needed creativity for the Dutch. He hit the crossbar from a free-kick and produced the second goal in the 75th minute.

Northern Ireland will be the last opponent before the start of Euro 2012 Saturday June 2 in Amsterdam. The Dutch start the tournament with the group match against Denmark on June 9, before taking on Germany and Portugal.

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