Huntelaar strike

The Netherlands were not held entirely in check, as Van Persie headed wide from an Engelaar cross. Romania then threatened for the first time, Adrian Mutu collecting a throw-in and twisting and turning to work space only to pull his shot across the face of goal. Next, Boulahrouz got behind the Tricolorii back line on the right, cutting the ball back for Huntelaar, but the AFC Ajax striker lifted his effort over. Robben was soon guilty of a more glaring miss, running on to a Huntelaar flick only to nudge his attempt wide of Bogdan Lobonţ's right-hand post. Paul Codrea may have been equally disappointed to have missed the target after Răzvan Raţ's teasing pass from the left wrong-footed the Dutch defence as half-time approached.

The Group C winners took up where they had left off after the interval and might have broken through within four minutes of the restart when a long ball found Van Persie with only Gabriel Tamaş for company. But while the Arsenal FC attacker spun his marker, Lobonţ turned his low shot round the post brilliantly. The goalkeeper had no chance five minutes later, however, Afellay's ball from the right finding its way through a crowded penalty area for Huntelaar to guide in expertly.

Late clincher
With news filtering through that Italy had taken a 2-0 lead against France, Romania's situation now looked desperate. Still unable to master possession, they continually found themselves on the defensive but while flying interceptions and timely challenges kept Piţurcă's men in contention, it was goals that were needed. Mutu set up substitute Florentin Petre for an overhead kick that looped over but for all their efforts, Romania were not to conjure up a second Miracle of Berne at the stadium that hosted West Germany's 1954 FIFA World Cup triumph, Van Persie underlining the class divide with the fiercely-struck second goal. The Netherlands will play either Sweden or Russia in the last eight in Basel on Saturday, while Romania finish in third position.


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