AMSTERDAM: Holland set themselves up for the bid to regain European primacy for the first time in 24 years by thrashing a weak Northern Ireland 6-0 at the Amsterdam ArenA.
Arsenal’s Robin van Persie scored twice with Wesley Sneijder and Ibrahim Afellay adding further first-half goals. Afellay made it five in the 51st minute before defender Ron Vlaar completed the scoring.
Irish manager Michael O’Neill, without the vast majority of his first-choice team for the match, has now lost both of his games in charge with a combined tally of nine conceded and none scored. He said: “It was a tough night for everyone concerned, I can’t fault the players in relation to their effort but the gulf in class was evident for everyone watching the game and evident for us watching on the side.”
Denmark put their run of two successive defeats behind them to see off Australia in their final Euro 2012 warm-up game. They beat a strong Socceroos line-up featuring Harry Kewell 2-0, with Liverpool defender Daniel Agger winning and converting a penalty, before Andreas Bjelland netted his first international goal.
Portugal were given a pre-tournament wake-up call by Turkey, losing 3-1 in Lisbon. Umut Bulut’s brace put Turkey 2-0 ahead and, although Nani got one back, the visitors held on and increased their lead with Pepe’s own goal.
Co-hosts Poland enjoyed a routine win, beating Andorra 4-0 in Warsaw. Ludovic Obraniak got them on their way and Robert Lewandowski made it two before penalties from Jakub Blaszczykowski and Marcin Wasilewski sealed the rout.
In Oslo, all the action came late on as Norway and Croatia drew 1-1. Eduardo gave the visitors the lead with 11 minutes left, only for Tarik Elyounoussi to level two minutes into stoppage time.
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