Netherlands vs. Andorra  3 - 0

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Dutch critical of Andorra mindset

14 October 2012 04:08

Netherlands midfielder Rafael van der Vaart said he was delighted to find the net in his nation's 3-0 win over Andorra on Friday.

The 29-year-old opened the scoring in their World Cup qualifying match against the European minnows, who were simply content to defend in a bid to stem the bleeding.

Van der Vaart echoed the rest of his team's sentiments that they should have furthered their advantage, and believes there is still room for improvement.

"Personally, it was a good thing that I scored," Van der Vaart told Dutch channel SBS.

"However, they weren't very strong opposition, and I realise it wasn't a great evening of football. We should have tried to make more of it."

Compatriot John Heitinga proved critical of Andorra's defensive mentality, blaming their lack of endeavour in attack for a poor match that was fortunate to only end with a 3-0 scoreline.

"They defended as a block unit," the defender told Goal.com. "They came here to defend without the thought of scoring.

"A three-goal margin was a good result for them. We had hoped for a higher score. Nevertheless, the important thing is that we won.

"It will be a good match against Romania. This will be another manner (compared to Andorra), but we want to secure qualification quickly."

Article

Three goals not enough for Van Gaal

13 October 2012 03:08

Louis van Gaal was bullish after the Netherlands saw off Andorra 3-0 on Friday night, complaining that the scoreline was not to his liking.

A routine win for the Dutch saw Rafael van der Vaart, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ruben Schaken, on his debut, all score for the hosts as Andorra were undone by two first-half goals and a third early in the second period.

But the 61-year-old coach hoped for a better team performance and more goals, considering their lowly opposition.

"I said before the match that it would be difficult for us to open up the game," Van Gaal said.

"These teams like Andorra always play very defensively, so that makes it a hard task. My prediction came true, because we won 3-0 and that's not enough.

"We tried to push through. I can also be satisfied because of my wingers, Schaken and (Jeremain) Lens. They both played a good game."

Dirk Kuyt came into the squad for his first appearance under Van Gaal, something that the coach remarked upon after the match.

"I don't bring him in to be friendly towards Kuyt. He knows that he has a lot of competition for his position up front. He gets his minutes, just like tonight. You don't have to search for something behind this," said Van Gaal.

Turning his attention to the Netherlands' next game - away to Romania, who lie second in Group D on equal points with Oranje, in Bucharest - the former Barcelona and Ajax boss played down any suggestions that Arjen Robben may be fit enough to play a role.

"I don't think Robben can play. We hear about his condition tomorrow. Then we'll also decide if some players from the Under-21 squad will come to Romania," he said.

"Unfortunately, Romania won against Turkey. I hoped for a draw, because that was the best (result) in my opinion. Now we have a difficult match in Bucharest next Tuesday."

Meanwhile, former Tottenham attacking midfielder Van der Vaart played his 101st match for the Netherlands by taking to the pitch against Andorra, and he crowned the occasion with a goal.

"I realise it wasn't a great match, but personally, it was nice to score. Of course, the opponent wasn't very good, but we've tried to make more of it. There wasn't much space for us, though," he said.

Article

Huntelaar avoids talk of records

12 October 2012 08:25

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is not losing sight of 'what really matters', despite closing in on the all-time Netherlands scoring record.

He took his tally to 33 with his goal in the 4-1 World Cup qualifying win over Hungary in September, and he is now closing in on Patrick Kluivert's haul of 40.

And while he admitted that he would like to break the record of Kluivert, who is now a coach under Netherlands manager Louis Van Gaal, Huntelaar insists that he is focusing on the team as they bid to make it to Brazil 2014.

"Of course it would be nice and an honour, too," Huntelaar told Algemeen Dagblad.

"Such accomplishments are the things you can look back on later, so of course I would like to. Patrick and I sometimes joke about it whenever we talk, but I'm not thinking about it too much, it only distracts from what really matters."

Huntelaar is with the Dutch squad as they prepare to face Andorra on Friday, before travelling to play Romania on Tuesday.

Article

Schalke´s Afellay ready to impress

10 October 2012 14:13

Schalke winger Ibrahim Afellay is confident he possesses the qualities to become a key figure at the Bundesliga club.

The versatile Dutchman has yet to really live up to the high expectations at Veltins-Arena after joining them from Barcelona on a one-year loan deal in the off-season, but Afellay has little doubt he can add something special to the team.

"I'm feeling very well and I'm slowly gaining match rhythm. It's hard to remain patient. I really love the game and I'm raring to go," Afellay told De Telegraaf.

"I know that I can add something to the team. I understand the coach's point of view, though. I have to prove my worth whenever I get playing time.

"It's the same with the national team. Of course, there's a lot of competition, but that's only normal when you're surrounded by the best players Netherlands have."

Afellay is away on international duty as the Netherlands lock horns with Andorra on Friday.