Euro 2012 review

Netherlands edge thriller

March 29, 2011

Dirk Kuyt fired a late double to help Holland maintain their 100% record at the top of Euro 2012 qualifying Group E with a dramatic 5-3 win over Hungary in Amsterdam.

Dirk Kuyt is the toast of the Netherlands after his brace earned a 5-3 win over Hungary.
GettyImagesDirk Kuyt is the toast of the Netherlands after his brace earned a 5-3 win over Hungary.

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The Dutch had to battle from behind after quick-fire goals from Gergely Rudolph and Zoltan Gera cancelled out Robin van Persie's early opener in the first five minutes of the second half.

Wesley Sneijder and Ruud van Nistelrooy restored the home side's advantage and, despite Gera hauling Hungary back level, Kuyt clinched the points with his brace in the 78th and 81st minutes.

The win put the Dutch nine points clear at the top of the group while Sweden replaced Hungary in second place on goal difference after Mikael Lustig and Sebastian Larsson scored in a 2-1 home win over Moldova.

World champions Spain also maintained their 100% in Group I with a 3-1 win over Lithuania in Kaunas.

Xavi's early strike was cancelled out by Marius Stankevicius in the 57th minute but an own goal by Tadas Kijanskas restored Spain's advantage and Juan Mata made sure of the points seven minutes from time.

The Czech Republic shrugged off the disappointment of their weekend loss to the Spaniards by coasting to a 2-0 win over group minnows Liechtenstein with goals from Milan Baros and Michael Kadlec.

Turkey moved into second place in Group A behind leaders Germany with a vital 2-0 win over Austria in Istanbul. Arda Turan and Gokhan Gonul scored the home side's goals.

Meanwhile Belgium also moved into contention as they hammered Azerbaijan 4-1 in Brussels. Jan Vertonghen, Timmy Simons, Nacer Chadli and Jelle Vossen scored in a comfortable win.

A late equaliser from Konstantin Vassiljev earned Estonia a 1-1 draw at home to Serbia in Group C and allowed Slovenia to cling onto second place in the group after a hard-fought goalless draw in Northern Ireland.

Tal Ben Haim scored the only goal as Israel edged past Georgia 1-0 in Tel Aviv in Group F, while Adrian Mutu scored twice as Romania got back on track in Group D with a 3-1 win over Luxembourg.