Van Nistelrooy revels in Dutch win
Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has heralded his side's 3-0 win over world champions Italy as his "most beautiful" in the orange shirt of his country. The Dutch went top of a highly-competitive Group C at UEFA EURO 2008 by stunning the Azzurri with a comprehensive defeat, and they were cheered on by fans during Tuesday's short recovery session.
On Monday night, Van Nistelrooy put the Netherlands ahead on 26 minutes, before attacking midfielder and fellow Real Madrid player Wesley Sneijder volleyed home five minutes later. Defender Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who was one of only two survivors from the Dutch side that lost a dramatic EURO 2000 semi-final to Italy penalties, then completed the scoring by adding a third on 80 minutes.
More than a thousand happy Dutch supporters turned up to see their idols train on Tuesday in the sunshine, and former Manchester United star Van Nistelrooy said the result had been a team effort. " ," beamed the 31-year-old, who took his total to 32 goals in 62 international appearances.
"All the players were at the top of their game, that is why we won 3-0 against the world champions. It wouldn't have been possible unless every single player was 100 per cent, but that was just one game and we have to stay focused. We have to play France and Romania, both are very good sides," he warned.
Blackburn Rovers defender Andre Ooijer beleives the Dutch must play the same type of fast-paced football which undid the Italians when they play France at the Stade de Geneva on Friday. "We have to start quickly against France, the same as we did against Italy and play our own game," said the 33-year-old centre-back.
After their exertions at Geneva Stadium the previous night, the
players were given a light work-out by coach Marco van Basten, who
hailed Monday's win as a "historic feat". Both
right-back Mario Melchiot and Real Madrid winger Arjen Robben
trained separately as part of their rehabilitation for groin
injuries. Goal-scorer Sneijder, obviously tired, was satisfied with
a light, ten-minute run before retiring to the changing rooms.
The Netherlands face France on Friday and play their final Group C game next Tuesday against Romania, who drew 0-0 with Les Bleus in Zurich in yesterday's other game.