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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 3, 2006

Van Basten 'disturbed' by Dutch performance

LUXEMBOURG, Sept 3 (Reuters) - The absence of four first-choice starters almost proved disastrous when the Netherlands failed to brush aside Luxembourg and had to make do with a 1-0 win in a Euro 2008 Group G qualifier on Saturday.

Coach Marco van Basten missed Rafael van der Vaart and Arjen Robben through injury while defenders Khalid Boulahrouz and Giovanni van Bronckhorst were suspended.

'It was too poor to talk about details, really nothing worked out,' said an angry Van Basten.

'These players all proved in the recent past that they can play football but didn't show that tonight.

'It is disturbing to see our performance without the injured and suspended players. That is something we have to think about.'

Against Belarus on Wednesday, Van Basten has few alternatives.

Defensive sloppiness, which was mainly caused by the weak performances of Andre Ooijer and John Heitinga, can be solved by the return of Van Bronckhorst and Boulahrouz.

But the problems on the midfield are tougher to solve. Van der Vaart is ruled out for two months with a thigh injury and Wesley Sneijder withdrew from the squad through personal reasons.

'At this point the only positive thing is that we play again on Wednesday so my team will have a second chance to show what they are capable of,' concluded Van Basten.

In 2006 World Cup qualifying, the Dutch also faced serious problems against supposedly weaker, defensively minded opponents.

In Armenia, Jan Vennegoor was needed to set up Ruud van Nistelrooy for a late winner and Macedonia held the Dutch twice to a draw.

'For several reasons our ball pace was too low and therefore we hardly created any chances,' said striker Dirk Kuyt.

'Because we failed to score the second goal they kept their belief and played the match of their lives.'

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