Amsterdam: The Netherlands continued their winning streak in World Cup qualification Group D by beating Romania 4-0 here, taking a major step towards the tournament in Brazil.
After Friday's 3-0 victory over Estonia, coach Louis van Gaal lined up Rafael van der Vaart as central midfielder instead of Wesley Sneijder, who limped off with a groin injury against the Estonians. Kevin Strootman took over the captaincy from Sneijder, reports Xinhua.
Van der Vaart proved his class in the 12th minute Tuesday. After a cross by Jeremain Lens, Robin van Persie passed to van der Vaart and the latter scored from the edge of the penalty-area. After the first 15 minutes, the level of the match decreased. Both teams did not create major opportunities.
The Dutch team dominated again in the second half and added more goals. Van Persie headed in his first goal from an Arjen Robben cross (56th minute) and added a second 10 minutes later from the penalty-spot. The penalty was awarded after a foul on Lens by Florin Gardos.
Van Persie scored his 34th goal for the Dutch and passed legends Johan Cruijff and Abe Lenstra on the all-time list. Patrick Kluivert is the all-time top scorer with 40 goals.
Later, Lens made it 4-0 from close range in the final minute.
Also in Group D, Turkey and Hungary drew 1-1 in Istanbul. After Burak Yilmaz opened the scoring (62nd), Daniel Bode equalised.
The Netherlands are now on 18 points after six victories in six matches. With four match rounds remaining Hungary trail by seven points and Romania are third, eight points behind the Dutch.
Story first published on: Thursday, 28 March 2013 19:29 IST