Virtuoso Bergkamp

Holland 2 (R de Boer 52, Van Gastel pen 92) Brazil 2 (Giov anni 14, Goncalves 55) Attendance: 50,000
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The Independent Online
The malaise eating into the heart of Dutch football was brought into sharp focus again in the magnificent new pounds 80m Amsterdam Arena last night as only a fine performance from Arsenal's Dennis Bergkamp saved them from embarrassment.

The disaster experienced by the Dutch during the summer appears to have had a lasting psychological effect. Even allowing for the absence of a number of leading lights - the injured Winter, Kluivert and Overmars, the enfant terrible Davids - the football future could hardly be described as orange based on last night's events. Inevitably, the precious Ronaldo was quick and ruthless in exploiting such inadequacies and was unfortunate not to get on to the scoresheet.

In the 14th minute Ze Elias' pass isolated Giovanni against his marker and Ronaldo's Barc- elona team-mate, enjoying the sort of "lucky" bounce so often enjoyed by players of great technique, forced his shot through the hands and body of Edwin van der Sar. Twice after that goal, Ronaldinho pressured defenders into poor back passes and twice he rounded Van der Sar only to see his shots cleared off the line. The second of those attempts, after 55 minutes, brought the Brazilians a second goal.

Again, there were huge question marks over closing down and goalkeeping. The defender Marcello Goncalves collected a pass direct from the corner and beat Van der Sar with a low, near-post strike that should not have presented a problem.

A Premiership-based strike force of Bergkamp and Cruyff never looked comfortable in each other's company, nor with a Brazilian defence that was strong in the tackle and not short in the "art" of gamesmanship. It took Cruyff's removal at half-time, to be replaced by Feyenoord's more direct Gaston Taument, and a deeper role for Bergkamp, to breath life into a moribund attack.

The Arsenal man's willingness to take his marker on led to both Dutch equalisers. In the 52nd minute, Bergkamp pulled the ball back for Ronald de Boer to connect with a clean 15-yard strike. Deep in injury time Bergkamp's run into the box was rudely interrupted by Andre Luis and Jean Paul van Gastel, was able to convert an equalising penalty, following the requisite appeals from the Brazilians.

Holland: Van der Sar; Reiziger, Stam, F de Boer, Numan; R de Boer, Seedorf, Jonk (Van Gastel, 75), Van Bronckhorst; Cruyff (Taument, 45), Bergkamp.

Brazil: Carlos Germano; Goncalves, Andre Cruz, Andre Luis; Cafu, Amaral, Ze Elias, Leonardo; Donizete (Sergio Manuel, 82); Ronaldo (Jardel, 85), Giovanni.

Referee: H Dallas (Scotland).

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