Huntelaar just the ticket as Dutch show mastery

Holland 3 Scotland 0: The future is orange, not tartan, as Scotland prove no match for hungry Holland

No surprises there then. The future is still orange, not tartan. But in losing this World Cup qualifier last night to a Dutch side who eased to victory after Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's opener, at least Scotland avoided the full embarrassment of the 6-0 stuffing they suffered in 2003.

There was, though, cause for red faces from some of the defending. Scotland's manager, George Burley, described Huntelaar's predatory goal as a "free header", while Robin van Persie also scored with his head despite the attentions of three defenders. Dirk Kuyt made it 3-0 late on, from the spot, after a Scottish rookie, Christophe Berra – who was only in the team because of an injury crisis – felled Huntelaar.

For Tartan Army foot soldiers looking for a bright side, second place in Group Nine was always the Scots' best hope once they had been drawn with the Dutch. That remains true, and Wednesday's game with Iceland will be every bit as important as Burley always maintained it would be. "The home games are must-win games," he said. "Wednesday is a massive game."

Burley acknowledged Holland's superiority but also complained that a Scottish "goal" from Gary Caldwell's header at 2-0 down had been chalked off. "I've spoken to six people and nobody can tell me what was wrong with it," he said. The referee and the Dutch would tell him that it was disallowed for a push on the home goalkeeper.

The upshot of defeat is that Iceland jumped from third to second in the group last night without even playing, thanks to goal difference. Extra woe was heaped on up to 1,000 Scotland fans who paid to see this game but were refused entry when their tickets, bought on the black market, turned out to be forgeries. They missed some lovely stuff. From the Dutch.

The Oranje took about 25 minutes to get warmed up, but when they found their rhythm, they were a delight. A pair of Hollywood balls in the 29th and 30th minutes from Mark van Bommel were struck with laser precision. The first found Arjen Robben and with superb control the former Chelsea winger killed it, then dashed towards the near post. Allan McGregor stopped the shot with his feet. The second curled invitingly into the area, where Huntelaar, dipping like a sprinter breasting the tape, won a race with a team-mate, if not any Scots, to reach it. He headed back across McGregor into the right side of the net.

Burley's line-up was surprising in that he unexpectedly gave a debut start to Cardiff's Ross McCormack, 22, but with so many regulars absent, this was going to be a struggle whoever played. Burley was able, for the first time, to field simultaneously his central dream trio of Darren Fletcher, Scott Brown and Barry Ferguson. "Dream" is a relative term, as the Dutch front quartet showed.

The prolific Huntelaar – eight goals in 11 games for Real Madrid – was the spearhead and he had a none-too-shabby threesome of Liverpool's Kuyt, Arsenal's Van Persie and Real Madrid's Robben backing him up.

The one good Scotland chance in the first half went begging when Kenny Miller, free on goal, waited too long and allowed Joris Mathijsen to take the ball clean off him.

Before Huntelaar opened the scoring, he had had a shot deflected into timidity, allowing McGregor to hold, while Van Persie had a shot blocked. The Arsenal man put his team two up in stoppage time at the end of the first half by rising through a triangle of Scots to head Robben's corner home.

Robben threatened whenever he had the ball, audaciously at times, as when a slow-mo lofted shot forced McGregor to stretch to hold it.

Scotland got a sniff of goal in the second half after Brown had run the ball into the box but Andre Ooijer poked the ball to safety.

Scotland had Caldwell's "goal" from a corner discounted for infringement, then Kuyt scored the third Dutch goal from the spot after Berra felled Huntelaar, who now has a 60 per cent strike rate from 20 internationals.

Bookings: Holland: De Jong, Huntelaar.

Attendance: 49,552.

Referee: Laurent Duhamel (France).

Man of the match: Robben

Match rating: 7/10

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'