Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Holland Land a Famous Win; World Cup Holders Humbled as Dutch Wreak Havoc

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Holland Land a Famous Win; World Cup Holders Humbled as Dutch Wreak Havoc

Article excerpt

Holland 3

Italy 0

MARCO van Basten celebrated his finest moment as Holland coach by leading his team to an "historic" victory over his good friend Roberto Donadoni and world champions Italy.

The Dutch beat the Azzurri for the first time in three decades in their Euro 2008 opener in Bern and handed van Basten's former AC Milan team-mate Donadoni, who has just signed a two-year contract extension, his worst defeat as national team boss.

"I am very proud of my team," said van Basten. "We have won against Italy, the world champions. "This is an historic win because I don't think we have ever beaten the Italians 3-0."

A stunned Donadoni wore a brave face after the defeat, and insisted his players would be able to fight back in their next game.

"We had an off-day," he said. "The game started badly and finished terribly for us.

Our intention was not to start this tournament and concede a 3-0 defeat.

"I was not surprised by Holland's display, they played as we expected them to play. The first goal complicated our lives and I thought we were very naive in the second goal.

"We reacted well in the second half and despite having chances, it was not to be."

The Dutch were lucky to take a 26thminute lead after Ruud van Nistelrooy turned in Giovanni van Bronckhorst's effort despite being clearly offside.

Wesley Sneijder then celebrated his 24th birthday in style by adding a stunning breakaway second on the half-hour mark. Italy had numerous chances to reduce the deficit after the restart but Edwin van der Sar came to the rescue, making superb saves from Andrea Pirlo's free-kick and Fabio Grosso's close-range effort.

Van Bronckhorst completed a wonderful evening for Holland by heading past goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in the 79th minute as the Dutch celebrated their first victory against the Italians since the 1978 World Cup. …

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