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Dutch paint it oranje

sports Updated: Jun 15, 2008 00:36 IST

Agencies
Highlight Story

The Dutch dazzled once more as they slammed World Cup finalists France 4-1 to make the quarterfinals on Friday.

An early header from Dirk Kuyt and second half strikes from Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder guaranteed the Dutch top place in Group C, considered the tournament’s toughest.

France’s reply, at 2-0 to the Dutch, came from Thierry Henry.

The Dutch had stunned world champions Italy in their opening match and can afford to rest key players before their final group game with Romania on Tuesday.

The Netherlands took a 1-0 halftime lead. Dirk Kuyt put them ahead after nine minutes when he headed in a corner from Rafael van der Vaart from close range.

Midway through the first half France finally registered their first chance when Sidney Govou controlled the ball in the area and forced Edwin van der Sar to save with his foot.

Franck Ribery and again Govou also had their chances but both found Van der Sar equal to their attempts to level.

Henry made his belated Euro 2008 debut for France on Friday. The Barcelona striker was one of three changes named by manager Raymond Domenech from the side that drew with Romania.

Henry, who has recovered from a thigh problem that kept him out of Monday's goalless draw, was joined Sidney Govou, the pair replacing the ineffective Nicolas Anelka and Karim Benzema.

Domenech made one further change, replacing defender Eric Abidal with Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

Patrick Vieira, who also recovered from his injury, started on the bench.