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Netherlands hopes to keep its 'clockwork Orange' momentum going at Euro 2008

Netherlands hopes to keep its 'clockwork Orange' momentum going at Euro 2008

As if they needed to be reminded it was true, the scoreboard at the Dutch training ground showed the incredible result: "Pays Bas 3-0 Italie."
A few hundred fans all clad in orange were singing off their happy hangover in morning sunshine Tuesday and giving the Netherlands players a standing ovation as they jogged past. From underdogs, the Dutch became a European Championship favorite overnight, within the space of a match that already ranks among their greatest ever.
"Lets not go crazy now," warned defender Andre Ooijer, who will likely hold on to his starting position against France on Friday.
It was easy to get carried away after the best game under the four-year reign of Marco van Basten. Even the coach called the victory over the World Cup champions "historic."
The squad survived the match without any additional injuries, and even standout winger Arjen Robben was passing balls again despite his groin injury. Mario Melchiot was also kicking balls again after his groin injury kept him out.
It was unclear if Van Basten would stick to the same lineup for Friday's game against France, considering he had played defender Khalid Boulahrouz specifically to keep speedy Italy winger Antonio Di Natale out. He will also be able to count on a fully fit Robin van Persie after the Arsenal winger came on as a substitute and had no lingering effects from a thigh strain.
Even though all warned not to get carried away, Van Basten acknowledged it was an ideal base to build on after he and his team were questioned by the Dutch media for months.
"This gives us confidence. This gives us power," Van Basten said. "It gives us a feeling that we can do more."
The Dutch now lead Group C with three points ahead of France and Romania, who played to a scoreless draw on Monday. Oranje could already qualify with victory on Friday.
"If we lose against France however, we will have problems again," Van Basten said.
Robben is still set to miss the France game and might not even make it back in the first round after injuring his groin on Saturday.
Against Italy, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wesley Sneijder scored in the first half, and standout defender Giovanni van Bronckhorst added the third on a counterattack late in the game to give Italy its most lopsided loss in the history of the European Championship.
For the Dutch, it was redemption after leaving the World Cup two years ago stained by one of the ugliest games with the most fouls in history, a 1-0 loss to Portugal involving four red cards and 16 yellows.


Updated : 2021-01-23 04:31 GMT+08:00