Oranje march on!
The Netherlands and Spain brought a hint of drama to Euro 2012 qualifying on Tuesday, surviving fightbacks by Hungary and Lithuania to maintain their 100 per cent records in the competition.sports Updated: Mar 31, 2011 01:59 IST
The Netherlands and Spain brought a hint of drama to Euro 2012 qualifying on Tuesday, surviving fightbacks by Hungary and Lithuania to maintain their 100 per cent records in the competition.
Dirk Kuyt scored two goals in three minutes late in the game as the Dutch, pegged back to 3-3 in the 75th minute by Zoltan Gera's second goal, snatched a 5-3 win in Amsterdam.
Two goals in the last 20 minutes, one an own goal from Tadas Kijanskas and one from Juan Mata, gave Spain a 3-1 win on a muddy pitch in Lithuania after the world champions had Xavi's first-half goal wiped out by Marius Stankevicius.
It was a rare case of big guns having to work hard for the points in a tournament which has so far featured a dull procession of effortless wins by the top sides.
The Dutch have six wins from six games in Group E while Spain have won all five in Group I and both are almost certain to top their groups.
The nine group winners will go straight to Poland and Ukraine in 2012 along with the best runners-up. The other eight second-placed teams play off for four more places.
Robin van Persie, who later went off injured, gave Dutch a 13th-minute lead. But Hungary scored twice within five minutes through Gergely Rudolf and Gera to snatch the lead from a weak Dutch defence.
Wesley Sneijder levelled just after the hour before a sequence of four goals in eight minutes saw Ruud van Nistelrooy put the Dutch ahead, Gera equalise and Kuyt score twice.