TUNISIA 1-1 NETHERLANDS, Rades, 11/02/09
Klass Jan Huntelaar 61, Jamelle Saihi 67
The prolific Klass Jan Huntelaar ensured the Netherlands retained the UFWC title on this trip to North Africa. At the Stade 7 Novembre Stadium in Rades, 17,000 fans the sides play out a largely uninspiring 1-1 draw, almost as if neither team knew they were competing for the UFWC title…
Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk started with an attacking line-up featuring Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Dirk Kuyt, but it wasn’t until van Persie and Kuyt were replaced with Huntelaar and Ryan Babbel at half-time that the deadlock was broken.
Jan Huntelaar struck just after the hour mark, a free kick from Real Madrid team mate Rafael Van der Vaart landing at his feet 12 yards from goal, before being tucked away in the bottom corner.
Despite creating few opportunities, Tunisia were level within minutes, when midfielder Jamelle Saihi drove a 25-yard shot past Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenberg.
Holland had the best of the remainder of the match, with Robben and David Mendes Da Silva both missing good chances, but neither side could create a winner.
The Netherlands will now turn their attention to World Cup qualification, and their next match looks like a classic for UFWC fans. On 28 March, the Dutch will host All-Time UFWC Champions Scotland in a huge UFWC/WCQ combination match. Exciting times for the UFWC – expect more comment and build up to follow…