Holland travelled to the UK to play a delayed football 'friendly' with England at Wembley on Wednesday 29 February. The match was originally scheduled for August 2011, but had to be postponed at short notice due to the riots in London.
It was Oranje's first trip to Wembley since Euro 96, when they were beaten 4-1 by England. One of the England players in that match was Stuart Pearce, who has been England Under-21 coach for the last six years, and was the obvious choice as acting Head Coach when Fabio Capello resigned a few weeks ago.
Pearce surprised many pundits by selecting Tottenham Hotspur's Scott Parker as captain for this game. Most had expected the role to go to Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard. As it turned out, Gerrard went off with a tight hamstring after 32 minutes, and Parker played the whole match, so Pearce will feel he made the right choice.
Nine of the players in the Dutch team played in the World Cup Final against Spain. By contrast, England had a relatively inexperienced side. Unsurprisingly, eight of the starting eleven had played under Stuart Pearce at Under-21 level.
A game of two halves
It's probably the oldest cliche in football, but if ever there was a game of two halves, this was it. Before the break, the pace was pedestrian. The football was attractive enough to watch, but there wasn't much activity in the two penalty areas, and it was more like an exhibition match than a competitive fixture.
But the match roared into life just before the hour, when Holland went two goals ahead in less than two minutes. First Arjen Robben picked up the ball deep inside his own half, and ran with it all the way to the other end of the pitch, and sent a powerful low drive beyond England keeper Joe Hart.
Then the prolific Klaas-Jan Huntelaar - 31 goals in 35 games - headed a cross from Dirk Kuyt into the roof of Hart's net. But the celebrations were cut short because in the same move Huntelaar clashed heads with England's Chris Smalling. Both players went down, and had to be substituted. Huntelaar walked off the pitch with a bloody nose, but Smalling left the field on a stretcher. Luuk de Jong came on for Huntelaar.
England fight back
Play was stopped for several minutes due to the injuries, and both sides took a while to settle down. The most likely scorer for England was Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge, who had looked lively since he came on to replace Gerrard in the first half. But it was his club teammate Gary Cahill, a centre-half no less, who ran onto a ball from Leighton Baines five minutes before the end of normal time and put the ball past Maarten Stekelenburg.
On 90 minutes, England found the equalizer through good teamwork from five players. Stewart Downing's cross from the left found Scott Parker, the captain picked out Theo Walcott who in turn found Phil Jones. Jones played the ball into the area and found Ashley Young, who scored.
The Dutch have the final say
But Holland were not finished, and seconds later another individual goal from Arjen Robben sealed the win. Robben's left-footed shot took a slight deflection, which was enough to prevent a save from Joe Hart.
A game that was uneventful in the first half turned into a thriller thanks to some moments of individual brilliance from the Dutch, and a resilient display by a young England team who did well to come back from two down. Their overall performance was good, but they simply didn't have any answer to the skills on show from Robben and Huntelaar.
England: Hart, Richards, Cahill, Smalling, Baines, Gerrard, Parker, Barry, Johnson, Welbeck, Young. Subs: Green, Cole, Jones, Lescott, Milner, Walcott, Downing, Campbell, Sturridge, Carson.
Holland: Stekelenburg, Boulahrouz, Heitinga, Mathijsen, Pieters, Van Bommel, De Jong, Robben, Sneijder, Kuyt, van Persie. Subs: Krul, Emanuelson, Vlaar, Strootman, Schaars, Huntelaar, Wijnaldum, de Jong, Bruma, John, Narsingh.
Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)