Netherlands hold England to 1-1 draw

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Wayne Rooney scored his first international goal in a year to help England earn a 1-1 draw at the Netherlands on Wednesday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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Amsterdam, the Netherlands:

Wayne Rooney scored his first international goal in a year to help England earn a 1-1 draw at the Netherlands on Wednesday in an international friendly. Rooney got behind the Dutch defence in the 37th minute and kicked the ball into the net with his right heel. It was the Manchester United striker's first goal for England since scoring against Argentina in a friendly last November in Geneva. Steve McClaren said he was pleased to see Rooney back in form for England. "His performance was back to Wayne Rooney as we know him," McClaren said. Rafael van der Vaart equalised for the Netherlands in the 86th, stabbing the ball in after a long throw from the left. The draw will do little to take the pressure off McClaren, who has been under fire since his team lost to Croatia and drew with Macedonia in European Championship qualifying. "We were all disappointed we didn't win the game - we deserved to," McClaren said. "The chances we created, we should have won." Both teams had chances to win in the last minute - Steven Gerrard's close-range shot was saved by Netherlands goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, and England goalkeeper Paul Robinson denied Klaas-Jan Huntelaar at the other end. Chance squandered In the 29th, Rooney squandered an easy chance when he headed the ball weakly to starting goalkeeper Henk Timmer instead of shooting after the ball ballooned to him unmarked in front of the Dutch goal. Gerrard also could have scored in the first half when he intercepted a back pass by Khalid Boulahrouz but could not squeeze the ball under Timmer. The best chance in the first half for the hosts came in the 11th minute when Robinson parried a powerful shot by Arjen Robben and Denny Landzaat headed the rebound wide. The Netherlands was solid in midfield, but playing without a specialist on the right wing stymied the attack. "I think it was a reasonable performance," Netherlands coach Marco van Basten said. "It was a strong England side and we were missing a few important players who can give a little extra, such as (Robin) van Persie, (Edwin) van der Sar and (Wesley) Sneijder." The Netherlands leads its Euro 2008 qualifying group, but Van Basten has been scrutinised for his team's poor play and his disputes with players, most notably the absent Ruud van Nistelrooy. The Real Madrid striker, who scored four goals Sunday in the Spanish league, has vowed never to play for the Netherlands while Van Basten is in charge. Micah Richards, an 18-year-old Manchester City defender, had a strong debut for England, canceling out the threat of Robben on the left wing. (AP)

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