Saturday, November 25, 2017

Advocaat emotional at Sneijder goal on record-breaking appearance

SoccerNews in World Cup 9 Jun 2017

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Wesley Sneijder scoring in the game that saw him become the most-capped Netherlands international left returning coach Dick Advocaat feeling emotional.

Friday’s World Cup qualifier was Advocaat’s first game of his third spell as Oranje boss, with Sneijder scoring the second goal in a 5-0 win over Luxembourg as he broke Edwin van der Sar’s record with his 131st international appearance on his 33rd birthday.

With Bulgaria beaten in Belarus and Sweden earning a dramatic win over France, Netherlands’ qualifying hopes received a boost but Advocaat was keen for Sneijder to be credited after his landmark outing.

“I was a bit emotional,” Advocaat, 69, told NOS. “It will be my age, because I was already a bit [emotional] by the national anthem. I’ll have to be a little careful with it.

“Sneijder’s passes remain of exceptional quality. There are few players in the world that can match it. We should take advantage of him for as long as possible.”

Arjen Robben, Georginio Wijnaldum, Quincy Promes and Vincent Janssen were all on target in a comprehensive Oranje win, leaving three points separating leaders Sweden, France and Netherlands in Group A with four games to go.

Sneijder played off Janssen as a number 10 against Luxembourg but Advocaat hinted he might not start the Galatasaray playmaker there in his side’s next game, a crunch clash in France in August.

“Against France he can play another position,” Advocaat added. “In late August, everyone must ensure that they are fit again. We will have a very close look at it.

“We have to go for the first place. The first two games against France and Bulgaria after the holidays are very important. It is a crazy time because many players are still not clear where they play.”

While Advocaat struggled to keep his emotions in check, Robben had no such problems after starring in the Luxembourg victory.

“We gave him [Sneijder] a nice shirt signed by all players, with his debut match and today’s game on it. Wesley has a beautiful golden dish with all matches on it. Yes, it was a unique moment,” Robben told NOS of his colleague’s landmark.

“There were no tears. But it was special. Personally, I am very proud that I could hand over the gifts to Wesley. I have nothing but praise for Sneijder, he’s been very important for the Dutch team.”

With only the leaders of the group earning qualification for the World Cup and one of the second-placed finishers missing out on a play-off spot, Robben was unsure how Sweden’s 2-1 win against France affects Oranje’s situation.

“We had perhaps hoped for a victory for France, because we would have been in control of second spot,” added Robben, whose strike took him to 33 international goals, level with Johan Cruyff. 

“Now we are in a different situation, but let’s look at positive instead of the negative. We just have to try to beat France, we have to be sharp at the beginning of the season and then there might be a little surprise in Paris. I am a positive man. We’re still in control, but it is more difficult. “

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