Mon, Nov 17, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Scots blank Netherlands


Scotland's team returns to their positions after James McFadden scored the only goal of the game against Holland during their Euro 2004 first-leg match at Hampden Stadium, Glasgow, Scotland, Saturday.


James McFadden scored midway in the first half as Scotland surprised the Netherlands 1-0, while Spain, another favorite, needed a late own goal to beat Norway 2-1 in the Euro 2004 playoffs Saturday.

In other games, Latvia upset Turkey 1-0, underdog Wales held Russia to a 0-0 draw in Moscow, and Croatia and Slovenia -- former federal partners in the old Yugoslavia -- played to a 1-1 tie.

The second legs are on Nov. 19. Host Portugal and 10 other countries have already qualified for next summer's tournament.

"That was just battling, battling, battling," Scotland defender Christian Dailly told Sky Sports. "It was hard. They've got a good side -- we really earned that. We restricted them, we were getting blocks, and we also rode our luck at times."

After a good back-heel by rising star Darren Fletcher, McFadden's shot went off defender Frank de Boer and past Edwin van der Sar in the 22nd minute.

"It wasn't the best finish, but it hit the back of the net, and that's what we're concerned about," McFadden said.

The Dutch, one of the most talented teams in soccer, immediately pushed forward. Andy van der Meyde shot over the bar in the 26th minute, and de Boer's header was later cleared off the line.

Van der Meyde hit the crossbar in the 64th, and substitute Clarence Seedorf shot wide from the edge of the box in the 73rd.

"It was a great performance, and we played very well," Scotland coach Berti Vogts said. "In the second half, the legs were a little tired, but we got organized."

Dailly received a yellow card and won't be eligible for Wednesday's return leg in Amsterdam. Netherlands defender Jaap Stam is also out after picking up a yellow card.

The loss will put more pressure on Dutch coach Dick Advocaat. Advocaat -- who once coached at Glasgow Rangers -- said he would resign if the Netherlands don't reach next year's competition.

The Netherlands, a semifinalist in the 1998 World Cup and at Euro 2000, failed to qualify for last year's World Cup.

"Defensively, I think we were poor with the way we defended that situation," Advocaat said of the goal. "I think we tried to put pressure on in the second half. I think we could have got a goal and deserved to have done so in the second half."

Advocaat defended his decision to start forwards Ruud van Nistelrooy and Patrick Kluivert. He hinted he wouldn't play the two together because they're the same type of player. Kluivert was ineffective.

"I think [Saturday], the passing to the striker wasn't the best," Advocaat said.

Spain, always filled with some of the world's best players, has underachieved in big tournaments. More disappointment looked likely in Valencia until defender Henning Berg's own goal in the 85th minute. The goal came following a scramble in the box. Against the run of play, Steffen Iversen opened the scoring in the 14th minute, taking advantage of a defensive mistake. Raul Gonzalez's header made it 1-1 in the 20th minute.

Spain piled pressure on the Norwegians, totaling 30 shots. Raul was stopped three times by 'keeper Espen Johnsen, Jose Antonio Reyes shot straight at Johnsen in the first half, and Fernando Torres was wide on a breakaway early in the first half.

In Riga, a minute of silence was held before the game to honor victims of bombings that killed more than 20 people and injured hundreds of others at two synagogues in Istanbul earlier Saturday. The Turkish players wore black ribbons.

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