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Netherlands 2-0 Wales: Robben’s Dutch courage

Arjen Robben attempts to navigate his way past Daniel Gabbidon and James Chester. Picture: Getty

Arjen Robben attempts to navigate his way past Daniel Gabbidon and James Chester. Picture: Getty

ARJEN Robben scored the first goal and made a second to give the Netherlands a winning send off before they head to the World Cup but again it was a far from convincing performance as they beat Wales 2-0 in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

Robben made up for his profligacy at the weekend, when he missed a host of chances in a 1-0 win over Ghana in Rotterdam, to bury a snap effort from close range just after the half hour mark.

The winger struck home a rebound off a Welsh defender after Robin van Persie’s angled effort had been stopped by the legs of goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

He should also have had a goal seven minutes earlier after some mazy skills but his shot was fortuitously blocked by defender Chris Gunter.

The Bayern Munich playmaker then set up substitute Jeremain Lens for a second in the 76th minute in a swift counter attack, created by an interception and then a clever forward pass from Wesley Sneijder for Robben to run and square for Lens to easily tap home.

But overall, the Dutch performance will have done little to strike fear into their opponents as they depart for Brazil on Thursday, just over a week before they play Spain in their opening Group B match in a repeat of the 2010 final.

They also meet Australia and Chile in the group stage. There were patches of potential but as many laboured passages of play as there were slick passing movements. The debate over what formation best suits their squad will continue long after their arrival in Brazil as coach Louis van Gaal continues to tinker.

Van Persie, who went narrowly wide just before halftime, looked to struggle with a knock and did not reappear for the second half.

Wednesday’s match was the last of three warm-up games at home for the Dutch, who drew with Ecuador and beat Ghana over the last three weeks.

Wales, without Gareth Bale or Aaron Ramsey, sought to catch the Dutch with some swift counter attacks mostly orchestrated by captain Joe Allen, coming closest in the 67th minute when a quick throw in caught the Dutch defence and allowed substitute Jermaine Easter a chance, quickly smothered by goalkeeper Jasper

Cillessen.

Teenage debutant George Williams, a youth team player from Fulham, ran through three defenders minutes after coming on as second half substitute as he looked a find for the future.

 

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