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FT Netherlands 1 – 2 Portugal

FT Netherlands 1 – 2 Portugal

Early at 11′, Robben darted in from the right and again he unselfishly laid it off, this time to Van der Vaart on the edge of the area. He opened up his body and then curled a delicious shot with his left foot into the left corner, the ball bending beautifully past Rui Patricio’s dive. 1-0 for Holland.

It had to happen eventually, and Portugal fully merit this, because they have been the superior side since Holland’s goal. At 28′, the move started from a poor clearance from Willems, who allowed Portugal to come straight back at the creaking Dutch defence. Pereira scooted in from the right and then poked a reverse-pass through to Ronaldo, who had made a cracking run in from the left. He took a touch and then coolly clipped it past the helpless Stekelenburg from close range. 1-1.

At 74′, an aimless Holland attack broke down, Sneijder and Van der Vaart losing it between them. Immediately Portugal broke, Moutinho finding Nani in oodles of space down the right flank. He clipped a sublime pass from right to left towards Ronaldo. He could have hit it first time, but a gentleman always takes his time, and he took the chance in swaggering fashion, cutting inside to leave Van der Wiel on his backside before slamming it into the bottom-left corner from close range. He has been outstanding. 2-1 for Portugal.

A miserable Bert van Marwijk stands on the touchline, a disbelieving look on his face, wondering where it all went wrong. The clues were there tonight: Holland were a bunch of talented strangers, while an effervescent Portugal were so much more than the sum of their parts and fully deserved their win. To be fair, they also had Cristiano Ronaldo in unstoppable form, which tends to be quite useful. He answered his critics with two fine goals to cap a fantastic display and if he continues in this form, Portugal have no reason to fear anyone.

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