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Sunday 21 December  
Sweden celebrate their win against Holland
Theo Tamis's picture
Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden

Sweden hurt Holland 3-2

Published on : 11 October 2011 - 9:00pm | By Theo Tamis (Photo: RNW)
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“This hurts,” Holland manager Bert van Marwijk said right after the match following his team’s shock defeat in Stockholm. “We were the better team and should have won this game. Congratulations to the Swedes, though.”

It was a tactical victory, earned by dint of hard work, solid defending and a bit of luck. In a way, the Dutch were beaten by their own game, in the sense that Sweden put result before elegance of play.

The disruptive tactics didn’t bother the 37,000-strong crowd at the Råsunda Fotbollstadion. They were happy that by beating Holland, their team had secured automatic qualification for next year’s European Championship finals as best runners-up. Besides, they wanted to see their team “put right” before their home crowd the horror 4-1 defeat in the first fixture in Amsterdam.

Now was the time to beat the Dutch, for whom there was no more, and no less, than prestige involved. After all, Oranje already had already secured both first place in qualifying Group E and top-seed status for the draw for the finals.

Defensive football
Sweden started off cautiously with a double defence line in a bid not to give away too much space - and to wait for the opportunity to launch a deadly counter-attack with their tall forwards. They didn’t have to wait long. Fourteen 14 minutes in, Kim Källström converted a free-kick from 20 metres with a perfect curler in the top right corner.

The Netherlands kept their cool and managed the equaliser eight minutes later when Erik Pieters sent a cross over from the left for Klaas Jan Huntelaar to head in.

  • Holland manager Bert van Marwijk<br>&copy; Photo: RNW -
  • Sweden manager Erik Hamrén<br>&copy; Photo: RNW -
  • Holland attack<br>&copy; Photo: RNW -
  • The two sides listen to the Dutch national anthem<br>&copy; Photo: RNW -
  • Quite a few Holland fans in the Rasunda stadium<br>&copy; Photo: RNW -
  • Holland skipper Mark van Bommel and manager Bert van Marwijk greeted on arrival<br>&copy; Photo: RNW -
  • Holland fan in Stockholm<br>&copy; Photo: RNW -
  • Holland fans in Stockholm - &quot;The Substitute Bench&quot; it reads on their backs<br>&copy; Photo: RNW -

Then, at the start of the second period, the match exploded, much to the enjoyment of the capacity crowd. A Dirk Kuyt header in the 48th minute gave Holland the lead. But just two minutes later, Sweden were awarded a penalty after Mathijsen handled the ball. Sebastian Larsson made no mistake from the spot. Another two minutes and Ola Toivonen punished some sloppy Dutch defending with a high shot: 3-2.

Back in their trenches
Sweden’s tactics appeared to pay off. The hosts dug themselves in once more, allowing the Dutch the dubious privilege of a lot more possession and a few more chances.

When the final whistle went, Holland coach Bert van Marwijk was facing his third defeat since 2008. The Dutch hadn't lost a qualifier for four years. They had won the previous 17 in a row. But it wasn't losing this perfect record that irked Van Marwijk:

“I’m not a great believer in statistics. I'd like to focus on how we play. Wherever we play, we play our own game. That’s important in a tournament too. But this time, we weren’t concentrated for the entire game. Lapses in the space of two minutes cost us this match.”

Sweden starting line-up:

1-Andreas Isaksson (GK); 2-Mikael Lustig; 3-Olof Mellberg; 4-Daniel Majstorovic; 5-Martin Olsson; 8-Anders Svensson; 9-Kim Källström; 20-Ola Toivonen; 7-Sebastian Larsson; 11-Johan Elmander


12-Johan Wiland; 6-Emir Bajrami; 13-Andreas Granqvist; 14-Tobias Hysén; 16-Pontus Wernbloom; 17-Pierre Bengtsson; 18-Samuel Holmén

Holland starting line-up:

1-Michel Vorm (GK); 2-Gregory van de Wiel, 3-Jeffrey Bruma; 4-Joris Mathijsen, 5-Erik Pieters; 6-Mark van Bommel (C); 7-Robin van Persie; 8-Kevin Strootman; 9-Klaas Jan Huntelaar; 10-Rafael van der Vaart; 11-Dirk Kuyt


16-Tim Krul; 12-Khalid Boulahrouz; 13-Edson Braafheid; 14-Nigel de Jong; 15-Stijn Schaars; 17-Eljero Elia; 18-Luuk de Jong;


jamuna 14 October 2011 - 12:03am

holland still qualify for euro 2012 .and sweden were just getting there own back on the dutch.holland played a great match

Anonymous 12 October 2011 - 1:34pm / Lalaland


jasmin 12 October 2011 - 2:40am

It really hurt-a shocking defeat!! Miss Edwin van Der Saar, and Maarten was also good. Vorm needs more to defend his net. Oranje need lessons from Swede and Moldovan goalies and defenders, they did not allow Oranje any chance, and it is a big thing! Without the star players, the Oranje have had bad luck...The coach needs to protect his stars from injuries and find a fine goalie...Wonder if injuring Maarten deliberately, is a plan to pull the Oranje down!!! The goalie is the main strength, his injury should be probed, in my view. Btw, Oranje needed this rude awakening before the Euro 2012..that other teams are working harder and are not San Marino..Bert van Marwijk is a wise man, he will make sure that those two minute lapses do not happen again....Find a steel wall like Edwin, coach....Best wishes for 2012...

Anonymous 11 October 2011 - 9:09pm

Very disappointing....Oranje lose the tenth match...Vorm needs to pull up his goalkeeping...

Anonymous 11 October 2011 - 8:41pm

Oh dear, what is Vorm doing?

Anonymous 11 October 2011 - 7:32pm

Win in style, Oranje!

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