Dutch football was delivered from a long-time obsession. Finally, a penalty series in a major tournament ended well for Holland. Arjen Robben´s spot kick meant Holland had defeated Sweden Saturday and are through to the semi-finals of Euro 2004. Johnny Heitinga, a second-half substitute, scored one of the spot kicks, Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed his on behalf of Sweden. Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder did not play.
The quarter-final match between Holland and Sweden never reached a high level. Only in overtime some exciting moments for both goals occurred. But there were no goals, despite the fact that both teams hit the posts.
The whole of Holland then held their collective breaths. After Euro 1992 (semi-final against Denmark), Euro 1996 (quarter finals against France, the 1998 World Cup (semi-final against Brazil) and Euro 2000 (semi-final against Italy), would it go wrong in the penalty series again?
Thanks to an iron concentration and tight team spirit, this time the Dutch survived in Faro. Ruud van Nistelrooy, Johnny Heitinga, Michael Reiziger and Roy Makaay scored, Cocu hit the post. Because Ajax striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic had also missed, the poker game started again. Goalkeeper Van der Sar stopped Mellberg´s penalty, after which Arjan Robben shot Holland straight into seventh heaven.
Sweden - Holland 0-0 after overtime. Holland win after penalties: 4-5. Kallstrom 1-0, Van Nistelrooy 1-1, Larsson 2-1, Heitinga 2-2, Ibrahimovic misses, Reiziger 2-3, Ljungberg 3-3, Cocu misses, Wilhelmsson 4-3, Makaay 4-4, Mellberg misses, Robben 4-5.
Ref.: Michel (Slw). Att.: 29.000. Yellow: Ibrahimovic, Ostlund (Sweden), De Boer, Van der Meyde, Makaay (Holland).
Sweden: Isaksson; Ostlund, Jakobsson, Mellberg and Nilsson; Jonson (65. Wilhelmsson), Svensson (81. Kallstrom), Linderoth and Ljungberg; Ibrahimovic and Larsson.
Holland: Van der Sar; Reiziger, Stam, De Boer (35. Bouma) and Van Bronckhorst; Seedorf, Cocu and Davids (61. Heitinga); Van der Meyde (87. Makaay), Van Nistelrooy and Robben.