Ajax-coloured Holland have dream night

With a technical staff consisting completely of former Ajax players, Holland won their first qualifying match for the World Cup 2006 by defeating the Czech Republic 2-0. There were four Ajax players in the starting line-up. ,,Finally", said Ajax defender Nigel de Jong about the long-awaited win against the Czechs. ,,It was about time." With the victory, first-time national team boss Marco van Basten had an excellent start of the qualifying series.

Four Ajax players started for Holland: Van der Vaart and Sneijder in midfield and De Jong and Heitinga in defence. Zdeneki Grygera joined his teammates on the pitch late in the match, but soon after, Van der Vaart was replaced by defender Boulahrouz. Holland were leading 1-0 by then. Kuijt found Van der Vaart who selflessly passed to Van Hooijdonk. The striker only had to put his foot behind the ball for the 1-0.

With Holland leading and the Czech republic coming on strong in the second half, Marco van Basten took off Van der vaart in favour of defender Boulahrouz. Although the Czechs had some good chases, Holland stood their ground. Nigel de Jong's task was to defend Milan Baros and apart from a few risky moments the Ajax defender held his own.

In the latter part of the match, Holland scored again. Kuijt passed to Van Hooijdonk who headed it in. The young Holland squad managed to keep a clean sheet in the remainder of the game. The joy after the victorious match could not have been more geniune.

Holland - Czech Republic 2-0 (1-0). 33. Van Hooijdonk 1-0, 84. Van Hooijdonk 2-0.
Holland: Van der Sar; De Jong, Ooijer and Heitinga; Van Bommel, Sneijder, Van der Vaart (64. Boulahrouz) and Davids; Kuijt, Van Hooijdonk (86. Van Bronckhorst) and Castelen (74. Makaay).
Czech Republic: Cech; Jiranek (59. Grygera), Bolf, Ujfalusi and Jankulovski; Heinz, H├╝bschman (62. Vachousek), Rosicky and Tyce (76. Lokvenc); Koller and Baros.