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Netherlands 5 Luxembourg 0: Sneijder scores on record-breaking appearance

Wesley Sneijder was on target as he became the most-capped Netherlands international in a 5-0 World Cup qualifying win against minnows Luxembourg in Rotterdam on Friday.

Coach Dick Advocaat was leading his country for the first time in his third spell in charge and Oranje were desperate for a victory, starting the game fourth in Group A, six points adrift of leaders France.

Against such modest opposition a Netherlands win always looked inevitable, but Bulgaria’s shock loss in Belarus and Sweden’s 2-1 victory over France in Stockholm has rejuvenated their seemingly slim hopes of qualifying for Russia 2018.

Arjen Robben was on target against Luxembourg in November and he opened the scoring for his side after 21 minutes at De Kuip, running on to Wesley Hoedt’s pass to finish easily.

But it was always likely to be Sneijder who stole the spotlight and he picked out the bottom corner with a terrific 20-yard drive to double the lead before half-time and mark his 33rd birthday in some style.

Georginio Wijnaldum added a powerful third before Quincy Promes headed in the fourth and Vincent Janssen scored a penalty after being brought down by goalkeeper Ralph Schon as Netherlands wrapped up an important three points easily.

54 – Wesley Sneijder had 54 touches in the first half v Luxembourg, eight more than any other player. General. pic.twitter.com/5aBgwSIDHR
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) June 9, 2017

Robben should have got Advocaat’s latest reign off to a flying start in the first minute after working a neat one-two with Janssen, but his shot was blocked by Schon’s legs.

Janssen had a snapshot saved and Luxembourg briefly threatened at the other end before Robben broke the deadlock, as he did in his side’s 3-1 win in Luxembourg.

Hoedt won the ball back in midfield and swapped passes with Sneijder before freeing Robben, the winger running through on goal to slot in his 33rd international goal – equalling the tally of the iconic Johan Cruyff.

And in a low-tempo game a burst of quality from Sneijder on his big day lit up the match.

Janssen linked up with Memphis Depay, who fed Sneijder just outside the penalty area and the playmaker arrowed a gorgeous strike into Schon’s bottom-right corner.

11 – Wesley Sneijder has now scored a goal for the Netherlands in 11 consecutive years (2007-2017). Evergreen.
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) June 9, 2017

Kevin Strootman should have made it 3-0 but the Roma midfielder failed to convert a brilliant Sneijder free-kick that was delivered wickedly into the danger zone.

Luxembourg were gifted a golden chance to reply in stoppage time after a dreadful Jasper Cillessen pass to Strootman, but the goalkeeper made amends by saving from forward David Turpel.

Netherlands chances continued after the interval, Schon making a brilliant flying diving save to his right to tip Robben’s swerving effort around the post, before the offside flag denied Janssen.

33 – Arjen Robben is now joint-seventh all-time Dutch top goalscorer with 33 goals, equaling Johan Cruijff & Abe Lenstra. Class.
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) June 9, 2017

Luxembourg’s youngest ever player Vincent Thill then reacted furiously to his substitution after 54 minutes, the 17-year-old booting over a kit bag before sullenly taking his place on the bench.

With Luxembourg’s resistance crumbling Wijnaldum thumped home a loose ball in the box for his side’s third goal, and there was more to follow.

A downward Promes header from Stefan de Vrij’s right-wing cross beat Schon, before Sneijder departed to a standing ovation on his landmark appearance having surpassed Edwin van der Sar’s 130 appearances for Oranje.

With six minutes remaining, Janssen was sent down in the box by goalkeeper Schon and crashed in the subsequent penalty to complete the rout.

Next up for Advocaat’s men is France away in August in a blockbuster match likely to be decisive for their World Cup chances, with three points now separating the top three teams in a tight Group A.


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