Dutch labour to Slovakia win
© AFP

The Netherlands were sluggish to start, but after an early own goal, went on to secure a 2-0 win over Slovakia in a friendly warm-up for their UEFA EURO 2012 campaign.

A seventh-minute own goal from Kornel Salata set the hosts on their way and a Rafael van der Vaart effort 15 minutes from time clinched a routine success in Rotterdam.

Coach Bert van Marwijk had tried various permutations in recent narrow defeats by Bayern Munich and then Bulgaria at the weekend in Amsterdam, but this time sent out more or less the team he expects to field when the EURO 2012 gets underway next week in Poland and Ukraine.

Van Marwijk fielded wide men in Ibrahim Afellay and Arjen Robben, with Robin van Persie as the lone striker to start, but the performance was somewhat laboured despite the early own goal. On the debit side, Wesley Sneijder had to go off with an ankle injury six minutes into the second half, giving way to Van der Vaart.

"Sneijder injured his ankle (left)," said van Marwijk. "We'll know more tomorrow on the real nature of this injury. I hope that it's not too serious because Wesley has been playing at a high level. I found him very in form during training. As for Joris Mathijsen (thigh injury), I think he has a good chance of playing the first match (against Denmark)."

We still lack speed and fluidly down the flanks.
Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk

"We still lack speed and fluidly down the flanks," said Van Marwijk. "It was better this evening compared to our two previous games. But we could still do better."

"Preparations aren't easy," he conceded. "I've only been working with a full squad since Monday. I'm very happy with the return of Ibrahim Afellay. Everyone knows what I think of this player. He played very well. He provoked actions, he took risks."

Afellay, whose season was curtailed with knee trouble, gave a good account of himself and was involved in the build up to the opening goal.

The Netherlands have been drawn in Group B at EURO 2012 along with Germany, Portugal and Denmark. They will kick off their campaign against Denmark in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Sunday, 9 June.