The Netherlands continued their build-up to EURO 2008 with a comfortable 3-0 victory against Ukraine at the De Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam thanks to goals from Dirk Kuyt, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Ryan Babel.
Dutch coach Marco van Basten, who still has to trim his squad from 26 to 23 players, was missing the injured Robin van Persie and Mario Melchiot while Ruud van Nistelrooy, Arjen Robben, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, Edwin van der Sar and Wesley Sneijder have all been given permission to join up with the squad later on. Giovanni van Bronckhorst started as team captain at left-back, while Orlando Engelaar and Ibrahim Afellay had a chance to prove themselves in midfield. In the 4-2-3-1 system, Engelaar was the holding midfielder with Demy de Zeeuw while Kuyt, not present in the previous two friendlies, on the right of midfield, Afellay on the left, and Rafael van der Vaart playing as an attacking midfielder in support of lone-striker Huntelaar.
Kuyt opened the scoring after 23 minutes as the Liverpool FC striker headed in after a fine cross from the left wing by Van Bronckhorst. Seven minutes before the break it was Van der Vaart who was the provider as he found Huntelaar in space and the AFC Ajax striker did not hesitate in firing in the second goal. The final goalscoring action came 18 minutes into the second half when another Liverpool player, Babel, made it 3-0. The winger had only come on one minute earlier for Afellay but he controlled a beautiful Van der Vaart pass on his chest before finding the net. The Oranje host Denmark in Eindhoven on Thursday and Wales in Rotterdam on 1 June before they start their EURO 2008 campaign against Italy on 9 June, after which they will face France and Romania in Group C.
Netherlands: Stekelenburg, Ooijer, Heitinga (Boulahrouz 62), Bouma (Mathijsen 73), Van Bronckhorst (De Cler 62), Kuyt, De Zeeuw (De Jong 73), Van der Vaart (Landzaat 79), Engelaar, Afellay (Babel 62), Huntelaar.
Ukraine: Kernozenko, Yezersky (Gay 46), Mandzioek, Chigrinsky, Nesmachnyi, Yarmash, Tymoschuk, Nazarenko (Kravchenko 75), Golaido (Kalynychenko 46), Voronin, Shevchenko (Seleznyov 67).
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