Experimental Dutch held by Ukraine

FIFA World Cup™ runners-up the Netherlands' were held to a 1-1 draw ahead of their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign by the event's co-hosts Ukraine on Wednesday.

PSV Eindhoven midfielder Jeremain Lens put the Dutch side in front in the second half, while Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Alexander Aliev pulled the scores level just a minute later.

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk said he was pleased with what how effectively a third choice Dutch side - the coach only selected one player from the World Cup squad allowing the others the match off - had performed against an experienced Ukrainian outfit.

"I do not want to comment on any individual," van Marwijk said after the match. "I just watched them play, was studying their ability. And I found several more candidates to compete for places in the first choice squad. Ukraine is an experienced team, who have been playing together for a long, long time. I consider today's result to be logical."

I just watched them play, was studying their ability. And I found several more candidates to compete for places in the first choice squad.
Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk

His Ukrainian counterpart Miron Markevich said that he had been disappointed by their first-half performance but more enthused by the second-half display. "We played nervously before the break making too many poor moves," he said. "But after the break we were better in creating moves. We were up against a very well-drilled team of skillful players and I'm happy about my team's defensive play though we failed to keep a clean sheet."

The visitors, fielding a weakened team, put Ukraine under early pressure.  Early Dutch attacks resulted in Yaroslav Rakitsky picking up a yellow card for a rash foul on Lens but it was the hosts who created the first clear chance in the match.

Aliev fed veteran striker Andrei Shevchenko, who slipped past Chelsea defender Jeffrey Bruma before firing in a shot that went inches wide into the side netting. Netherlands also had a chance for an opener in the 34th minute after a mix-up in the home defence but Ukrainian goalkeeper Andrei Pyatov managed to stop Siem de Jong's close-range attempt.

After the break, Ukraine stepped up the tempo with Aliev, Bayern midfielder Anatoly Tymoshchuk and defender Alexander Romanchuk all testing the Dutch 'keeper Michel Vorm from long range. The South Africa 2010 finalists lost their shape completely but, with Ukraine seemingly in control, it was the Dutch who broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute.

Theo Janssen's 25-metre shot hit the woodwork and ricocheted off Pyatov to the unmarked Lens who swept in the rebound. A minute later, however, Ukraine were on level terms when Aliev's free-kick from 22 metres flew in under the crossbar.

The Dutch, who were crowned European champions in 1988, are scheduled to start their EURO 2012 qualifying campaign at San Marino on 3 September.