PORTUGAL 2, HOLLAND 1
The “Group of Death” claimed a surprise victim tonight as Holland were dumped out of Euro 2012 having been beaten by Germany, Denmark and now Portugal.
Former United striker Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Portugal overhauled an early Dutch goal by Rafael Van der Vaart to sink a poor Holland side which included City enforcer Nigel de Jong.
The Dutch fielded several changes as Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Van der Vaart were included to beef up their attack notably at the expensive of captain Mark van Bommel and the tactic seemed to work as they took an early lead through the Spurs playmaker.
Holland needed to win by two clear goals, however, but the service to Huntelaar, whose name was cheered by Dutch fans when it was read out prior to the game, dried up as quickly as each of the Dutch attackers, with Wesley Sneijder a particular culprit, seemed to fade out of the game.
With Robben and Van Persie also struggling to maintain the Dutch tempo it fell to Portugal to grab the chance that they were presented with to cement their place in the knockout phase.
Cristiano Ronaldo is their talisman and he started by rattling the Dutch woodwork and seeing a header collected by Dutch ‘keeper Maarten Stekelenburg before he levelled matters.
Holland didn’t seem to respond at all to conceding the equaliser which with Ronaldo constantly testing the Dutch defence with shots just off target or saved by Stekelenburg meant it was only a matter of time before he found his range for his second goal to make it 2-1.
Both Ronaldo and Van der Vaart hit the post late on as the Dutch pushed forward for what seemed increasingly like a consolation goal.