Football: Inspiring Bergkamp

Holland 3 Stam 31, Kluivert 52, Bergkamp 83 Belgium 1 Staele ns pen 66 Attendance: 43,000
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The Independent Online
Two deadly one-twos from the striking combination of Patrick Kluivert and Dennis Bergkamp took Holland to an emphatic 3-1 victory over Belgium here last night.

The result gave the Dutch a three-point lead over Belgium and they look almost certain to qualify for next summer's World Cup finals in France as outright winners of Group Seven.

The Dutch, with only one match left to play, have a vastly superior goal difference over Belgium, who they have now beaten home and away in the qualifying series. Belgium would have to beat Wales by 13 goals and the Dutch would have to lose to Turkey to prevent the Dutch from qualifying automatically.

The home side totally dominated the first half against a compliant Belgium team who sat back waiting to soak up the attacking pressure. The Dutch were unlucky to go in only 1-0 up at half-time after the PSV Eindhoven defender Jaap Stam burst through a crowd of players at a corner to find the top left-hand corner of Filip de Wilde's net after 31 minutes.

The best chance of the first half had fallen to Bergkamp. The Arsenal striker chased a diagonal ball from Frank de Boer deep into the Belgian box but slid his low shot inches wide. He then missed another fine opportunity on 36 minutes after a delicate one-two with Kluivert.

Their failure to get to grips with the Dutch brought a tetchy response from the visitors and there was a rush of Belgian yellow cards, Bertrand Crasson booked for a foul on Philip Cocu, Luis Olivera for dissent and Philippe Albert, the Newcastle United defender, for pulling Bergkamp's shirt.

But following the restart, the Dutch superiority began to show. Kluivert picked up the ball 35 yards out, traded passes with Bergkamp and beat De Wilde with a low near-post shot on 52 minutes.

Lorenzo Staelens brought Belgium back into the game from the penalty spot midway through the half after Wim Jonk pulled down Olivera in the box.

However, Holland soon turned the pressure back on and Kluivert turned provider after 83 minutes, sending the ball through before Bergkamp struggled past two defenders to score from close range.