The Dutch team are out of the European football championship after losing 3-1 to Russia in the quarter-finals in Basel on Saturday night. Dutchman Guus Hiddink, trainer of the Russian side, will go on to take his team into the semi finals next week.
After a 0-0 stalemate at the end of the first 45 minutes, Russia scored their first goal nine minutes into the second half. The Dutch equaliser came four minutes from the final whistle with a stunning header by Ruud van Nistelrooy taking the game into extra time.
The Russians’ second goal came in the 112th minute followed four minutes later by their decisive third goal.
Russia’s victory was a shock to most football experts who had expected the Dutch – hitherto unbeaten in the tournament – to thrash their opponents without too much trouble.
Oranje’s goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was without doubt the Dutch team’s best player in what was his last international game.
Saturday’s match was his 16th European championship game making him joint record holder with Frenchman Lilian Thuram who ended his international career earlier in the tournament after his team lost against Italy in the group round. In total he has played 128 international matches.
Saturday’s match was also Dutch coach Marco van Basten’s last as national coach. He takes over as trainer at Amsterdam’s Ajax next season, leaving Bert van Marwijk to coach the national side.
‘They had many more chances and deserved to win,’ Van Basten told Nos tv after the game.
Holland have only won the European championships once – when they beat Russia 20 years ago in Dusseldorf.
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