Romania knocked out after defeat against Netherlands (Lead)

June 18th, 2008 - 6:25 am ICT by IANS  

Berne (Switzerland), June 18 (DPA) Romania were Tuesday knocked out of the Euro 2008 competition after losing 2-0 to Group C winners Netherlands in a match played in Berne. The Romanians, who surprisingly went into their final game with a chance to advance to the quarter-finals, would have joined the Dutch in the next round had they won.

They could have even gone through had they drawn and the other group game between France and Italy in Zurich had also ended in a draw. Italy won 2-0 though and went through.

In a game in which Dutch coach Marco van Basten played his second string side, the opening goal was scored in the 54th minute by Klaas- Jan Huntelaar from a Ibrahim Afellay cross.

Robin van Persie added a second three minutes from the end with a well-taken shot from inside the area after a defence splitting pass found him in space. The Arsenal forward went around two defenders before unleashing a powerful strike.

The Romanians never looked like a side that was desperate to win the game and perhaps sat back in the hope of securing a draw which would have been enough had Italy and France also drawn.

But even once news came through of an early Italian goal in Zurich, Romania did not up the pace by much. Instead it was the Dutch who created most of the chances.

Arjen Robben, who was one of the few regulars to be in the starting line-up, but has not seen much action at the competition due to an injury, had the best chance for the Oranjes in the first half, but shot wide.

Romanian veteran Adrian Mutu was the most lively of the Romanian players and had a couple of half-chances, without putting Dutch reserve goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg under any real pressure.

In the second half the Romanian did not even change their game plan once the Dutch had taken the lead. Instead, it was the Dutch who had the more enterprising game.

They were rewarded a few minutes from the end with their second goal gave them three victories out of three games played in the group phase.

The victory sees the Netherlands win the group with nine points, while Italy are second on four points. Romania have two points, while the two-time champions France will return home with just one point.

Italy will face Spain in the quarter-finals, while the Netherlands will take on either Russia or Sweden.

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