Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy on Tuesday heralded his side’s stunning 3-0 win over world champions Italy as his “most beautiful” in the orange shirt of the Netherlands.
The Dutch went top of Euro 2008’s so-called “Group of Death” on Monday by stunning the Italians with a comprehensive defeat and they were cheered on by fans during Tuesday’s short recovery session.
On Monday night, van Nistelrooy put the Dutch ahead on 26 minutes with a controversial goal – though UEFA said on Tuesday it was valid – before midfielder and fellow Real Madrid clubmate Wesley Sneijder volleyed home five minutes later.
Defender Giovanni van Bronckhorst – who was one of only two survivors from the Dutch side that lost a traumatic Euro 2000 semi-final to Italy on penalties – then completed the rout when he added a third on 80 minutes.
More than a thousand happy Dutch supporters turned up to see their idols train here on Tuesday in the sunshine and former Manchester United star Van Nistelrooy, 31, said the result had been a team effort.
“Yesterday’s game was the most beautiful of my career with the Dutch team,” beamed the Real Madrid forward who took his total to 32 goals in 62 international appearances.
“All the players were at the top of their game, that is why we won 3-0 against the world champions.
“It wouldn’t have been possible unless every single player was 100 percent, but that was just one game and we have to stay focused.
“We have to play France and Romania, both are very good sides.”
And Blackburn Rovers defender Andre Ooijer said the Dutchmen must play the same type of fast-paced game which floored the Italians when they play 2006 World Cup finalists France at the Stade de Geneva on Friday.
“We have to start quickly against France, the same as we did against Italy and play our own game,” said the 33-year-old centre-back.
After their exertions at Geneva Stadium the previous night, the players were given a light work out by coach Marco van Basten who hailed Monday’s win as an “historic feat”.
Both defender Mario Melchiot and Real Madrid wideman Arjen Robben trained separately as part of their rehabilitation for groin injuries.
Goal-scorer Sneijder, obviously tired, was satisfied with a light ten minute run before retiring to the changing rooms.
The Netherlands face France on Friday and play their final Group C game next Tuesday against Romania who drew 0-0 with France in Zurich on Monday.
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