NETHERLANDS 2-0 NORWAY, Rotterdam, 10/06/09
Ooijer 32, Robben 51
The Dutch retained the UFWC title with this win over Norway and set up a title clash with England.
A goal in each half from Andre Ooijer and then Arjen Robben were enough to win the game for the Netherlands. Ooijer struck just before the half-hour mark, heading in a Rafael van der Vaart free kick from close range. Five minutes into the second half, Van der Vaart and Robin Van Persie set up Robben, who drove a low left-foot shot under Norway keeper Jon Knudsen.
The Dutch, already qualified for World Cup 2010, made it seven wins out of seven in their qualifying campaign. This was the Netherlands’ 37th UFWC victory, and their sixth consecutive successful UFWC title defence since taking the title from Sweden in November. The Dutch have won five of those six title matches, scoring 15 goals, conceding just three, and only failing to beat Tunisia, with whom they drew 1-1. FIFA now rank the Dutch second in the world, behind Spain.
Having seen off Sweden, Tunisia, Scotland, Macedonia, Iceland and Norway, next up for the Netherlands is England, who should, on paper, provide a much tougher test. Currently ranked sixth by FIFA (and second by the UFWC), England are also currently enjoying a hundred-percent WC qualification campaign. Last night, the English defeated Andorra 6-0. England have won 74 UFWC title matches over the history of the competition, but have not held the title since 2000.
Netherlands vs England is shaping up to be one of the biggest UFWC title matches for years. Over the next few weeks we’ll be dipping into the archives to highlight some classic UFWC matches involving both sides, and inducting some Dutch and English players into the Hall of Fame. We’ll also, of course, be previewing the big match itself. Watch this space.