Robin van Persie netted a hat-trick to become Netherlands’ all-time record goalscorer and inspire them to an 8-1 victory over Hungary.
The 30-year-old struck twice in the first half to equal Patrick Kluivert’s tally of 40 goals, and he broke the record eight minutes after the break with a close-range finish.
The Manchester United striker opened the scoring early with a well-placed header before Kevin Strootman doubled the Dutch’s lead with a looping header of his own.
Jeremain Lens and Van Persie’s second then put the hosts in complete control at the break and while Hungary pulled a goal back through a Balazs Dzsudzsak penalty, Van Persie soon netted his 41st international goal to take his place in the record books.
Szilard Devecseri scored an own goal with 25 minutes left before a free
-kick double from Rafael van der Vaart and Arjen Robben sealed Netherlands’ emphatic win.
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal made five changes to the side that beat Andorra to seal their qualification last month, while the visitors brought in Zsolt Korcsmar and Jozsef Varga for Zsolt Laczko and Akos Elek from their 5-1 win over Estonia.
Hungary soon found themselves chasing the game as Van Persie opened the scoring after just 16 minutes, the striker backing off his defender inside the penalty area to head Daryl Janmaat’s cross into the top corner for his ninth goal of qualifying.
And nine minutes later, the lead was doubled by Strootman. Lens delivered a perfect cross this time onto the head of the Roma midfielder, whose looped header beat Adam Bogdan.
Lens then got his name on the scoresheet in the 38th minute after Strootman’s chipped pass to Robben had been cleared by a Hungary defender and the Dynamo Kiev forward reacted quickest to fire into the back of the net.
And as the Dutch ran riot, Van Persie netted their fourth just before half-time to move level with Kluivert. Robben raced down the left and clipped a cross to the front post, where the Manchester United man was on hand to headed past Bogdan.
The visitors were awarded a penalty two minutes into the second half after Jeffrey Bruma handled a Dzsudzsak cross. The midfielder took the penalty himself and calmly sent Michel Vorm the wrong way to pull a goal back.
But the night belonged to Van Persie, and with 53 minutes on the clock he claimed his place in Dutch footballing history. Strootman and Robben were again involved as the former found the latter with a left-wing cross, and when the Bayern Munich forward headed the ball down to Van Persie, he had the simple task of knocking the ball home.
It was six when a Lens cross to the back post was headed into his own goal by Devecseri, but the Dutch were not finished there.
First, Van der Vaart’s 86th-minute free-kick from the edge of the area found the net via a deflection before Robben curled home another set-piece on the brink of full-time to condemn Hungary to a defeat that leaves their play-off hopes in the balance.