The Netherlands (NL) fought off a Rest of the World (RoW) comeback and proceeded to a comfortable 12-8 victory today in the MD football league.
After a narrow 8-9 defeat in the first leg of the fixture, the Netherlands had something to make up for in the return game. This was immediately visible at the start of the game where good pressure resulted in a couple of chances that had Spanish goal keeper Faustino stretched. However, it took a open goal scoring chance for RoW for the NL to wake up and press on and it finally broke the deadlock after a corner kick was not cleared well by the RoW defense. Top scorer Marrink took the team by the hand and lead the Dutch to a 6-1 lead at half-time.
The RoW team, which was missing no less then 4 players, including Pedersen (Den, transfer to Aarhus), Schroer (Deu) and de Melo (Por) (illness), and Brazilian star player De Souza due to an injury, had a good half-time talk and came charging out of the locker rooms. By changing their 1-2-1 lineup to a 1-1-2 they managed to keep continous pressure high up the field and even brought the game to a sizzling 8-8 about halfway the second half by a top corner goal by 1/8th French player De la Digue. The energy drained away from both teams, but with some beautiful saves by De Vries and some serious tackling by Van Eerden the NL managed to keep compact and pulled away again through some real tiki-taka-style goals. As RoW had to take all the risks in the final phase, NL could happily play on the counter-attack and brought the score to 12-8 when the final whistle blew.
The NL will now proceed to play the next round where they will face Portugal who reached the superfinal by defeating France 1-0 after extra time.
Stats: NL-RoW 12-8 (6-1). NL: A. de Vries, S.J. Marrink, F. van Eerden, P. Frederix. RoW: R. Alessandri, S. Thallmair, I. Faustino, Q. de la Digue.
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