SCOTLAND 0-1 NETHERLANDS, Glasgow 09/09/09
Elia 82

UFWC champions the Netherlands retained their title with this win against all-time UFWC champs Scotland. The result also effectively ended Scotland’s hopes of qualifying for World Cup 2010, with the Dutch already qualified.

Scotland were without first choice goalkeeper Craig Gordon, with Cardiff City’s David Marshall deputising.

The Scots started brightly, but the Dutch created the first clear chance, with Dirk Kuyt striking a post. But Scotland fought back, and Kenny Miller could have had a penalty after apparently being pulled down by Nigel de Jong. De Jong then moved upfield to force a good save from Marshall.

But again Scotland responded, with Miller’s cross-shot clipping the Dutch crossbar. Then Steven Naismith’s shot was parried onto the post by Netherlands keeper Michel Vorm, and Miller pounced on the rebound with the goal at his mercy, only to strike his follow-up straight at Vorm.

The first half had simmered with tension, with some tasty challenges flying in, and Darren Fletcher and Robin van Persie in particular seemingly keen to continue their Man United versus Arsenal rivalry.

The second period was less exciting, but the Netherlands began to dominate. First Kuyt headed a corner over the bar from close range. The Liverpool striker was later booked for diving.

Miller had another chance for Scotland, seeing a shot squirm out of Vorm’s hands and wide.

Then, on 82 minutes, substitute Eljero Elia latched onto a failed clearance from David Weir and showed great composure to coolly slot the ball past Marshall to give the Dutch a 1-0 lead. Elia, the 22-year-old Hamburg winger, had caught the eye in the Netherlands’ win over Japan on Saturday.

The goal was decisive, and the Scotland team appeared visibly deflated. Having battled well, the Scots had nothing left to offer.

The next UFWC title match, on 10 October, will see the Netherlands travel to Sydney to defend their title against Australia.

About Paul Brown

Paul is a freelance journalist and author. He created the UFWC in 2003, and subsequently wrote the Unofficial Football World Champions book. He can be found on Twitter @paulbrownUK.