Magical Robben dazzles England

England 2 Netherlands 3

After a haphazard build-up, a crazy game was settled in Holland's favour by a moment of magic from Arjen Robben to leave England in an even more confused state than they had been before.

Two down after an hour following goals by Robben and Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Harry Redknapp must have been sat at home wondering whether he really wanted the "impossible job".

By the time England had rallied manfully in the final five minutes and dragged themselves level through Gary Cahill and Ashley Young, interim boss Stuart Pearce had claims on being Fabio Capello's replacement for Euro 2012.

Robben's brilliant response - his second superb goal of the evening - gave the hosts a reality check. But after the madness, now the Football Association must get to work and sort out who will lead England into the summer, and whether Scott Parker gets to keep the captain's armband.

The stability Holland brought to Wembley, starting with nine of the team that began the World Cup final, under the same coach, Bert van Marwijk, contrasted sharply with the upheaval England have endured.

Coach and captain were making their debuts in the role - neither secure of the status beyond tonight - while Leighton Baines was among the four players to keep their spots from the November win over Sweden, with Ashley Cole on the bench.

On his first England start since November 2007, Micah Richards tempered his normal attacking instincts, yet when he did get forward, the combination with Manchester City team-mate Adam Johnson was quite rewarding.

Johnson had a goalbound shot deflected wide by John Heitinga, then released Richards, whose pass to Young led to calls for a penalty when the Manchester United man half went down under Heitinga's tackle.

Yet all too quickly, Pearce had to rip up his game plan as Steven Gerrard ambled off, as a precaution it was claimed, after feeling a niggle in his hamstring. A worrying end to an unsatisfactory day all round for the man so many expected would get the job Parker was given.

Daniel Sturridge's introduction meant Johnson had to swap sides, which rather curtailed his involvement.

The new boy did well, though. Sturridge was the source of England's first shot on target after the break, when his strike flew through a packed area and was beaten away by Maarten Stekelenburg.

Holland had managed one in the opening period, from the boot of Robben, which Joe Hart was equal to.

There was also the rare sight of Robin van Persie failing to snaffle a decent chance, the Arsenal man - who shrugged off worries about a groin injury to play - scooping over from 12 yards.

Amidst it all, Parker scurried and cajoled, making his tackles, putting his body on the line and leading from the front, just as Pearce wanted.

At one point the Tottenham midfielder was the meat in a touchline sandwich with Nigel de Jong and Dirk Kuyt, and then landed on a camera stand.

England had reason to be quite pleased with themselves, but that changed in the space of two minutes just before the hour.

Sturridge conceded possession to Robben inside his own half, failed to track back properly, then watched as the former Chelsea winger scorched to the other end of the field and exploited a momentary misunderstanding between Smalling and Cahill before drilling a precise shot past Hart.

Holland scored again on their next attack as Huntelaar got the better of Smalling to nod home Kuyt's cross.

The awful consequence of that goal was a sickening clash of heads between Huntelaar and Smalling, which ended the involvement of both in the game.

Huntelaar was so groggy that initially he still had the clump of grass in his mouth that got lodged there when he landed.

At least he was able to walk off, though. Smalling departed on a stretcher, although he was conscious.

Sturridge wasted England's best chance when he anticipated Baines' misdirected shot but then tamely turned the ball to Stekelenburg.

Cahill showed him how it should be done five minutes from time when he collected Baines' through ball and finished neatly.

It was the prelude to a mad finish as England seemed to have secured a draw in stoppage time when Phil Jones rolled a brilliant through ball to Young, who clipped home, only for Robben's second moment of class to give the visitors victory.

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album