International Matches

Holland 1 - Spain 0

Holland: Van der Sar (Waterreus 46'); Reiziger, Stam (Ooijer 46'), Frank De Boer, Numan (Paauwe 70'); Makaay (Ricksen 84'), Van Bommel (Landzaat 65'), Cocu, Overmars (Sikora 69'); Hasselbaink, Kluivert. 4-4-2.
Spain: Cañizares; Pujol, Nadal (Curro Torres 77'), Hierro (César 46'), Juanfran; Joaquín (Tiko 46'), Sergio, Iván Helguera (Valerón 46'), De Pedro (Vicente 69'); Raúl (Capi 46'), Morientes (Diego Tristán 46'). 4-4-2.

1-0. 31. Frank De Boer. Headed past Cañizares following Overmars corner.

From our international correspondents Borja Pantzov and Goran Arsic.

The World Cup is nearly here, and there are only a couple of friendly games left before managers have to name their squads (which someone said would be 23 players this time around, two less than normal, probably because plane tickets are quite expensive to get out to South Korea and Japan). Camacho's marketing people obviously got to him and told him that he would have to pick a couple of players with names which could be easily written in Hangul and Katakana, and so he calls up Tiko and Capi for this game. We suppose it won't be long then before Ito and Oli get picked as well - good job Beguiristain and Zubizarreta have retired, they would have no chance of getting in this squad. A couple of old new faces as well, with Deportivo's César back after three years and Real Sociedad's Del Pedro also returning, and Raúl is getting his 50th cap for Spain, a record which only Pele achieved at the tender age of 24. No place though for Molina, who has never been forgiven since giving away the goal in the Euro 2000 game against Norway in the same stadium where today's game takes place, the De Kuip stadium in Rotterdam.

Holland have a new manager, Dick Advocaat, who has replaced an old friend of ours, Louis Van Gaal. How the ex Barcelona manager failed to get this team in to the World Cup finals will remain a mystery for ever, and just looking at the line up makes us think what we will be missing this summer. Ziempre negatifo, as he used to say down here. Advocaat has called up five Barcelona players, four more than Camacho, and with Deportivo's Makaay and ex Atlético Madrid striker Hasselbaink also in the line up it makes you think they could have saved costs playing the game in Spain (by the way, Goran asks if they award the players Dutch caps when they play for their country?). Anyway Holland line up with four forwards, Makaay, Hasselbaink, Kluivert and Overmars (impressive, and that's without Van Nistelroy, Davids and Seedorf), and we must be in for goals. However it turns out not to be the case, and when the goal does come it scored by a defender. With most of his squad decided Camacho gives a run out to Joaquín, Sergio and De Pedro in his midfield, with only Helguera there from a probable first choice four. Joaquín is playing well at club level but has yet to adapt to the pace of international football, but he puts in a dangerous ball which Raúl fails to capitalise on after Van der Sar saves. De Pedro also causes some problems for the Fulham keeper with a couple of free kicks.

Holland are getting on top though, and after shots from Cocu and Hasselbaink test Cañizares, Frank De Boer beats him with a header from an Overmars corner. Where were the defence by the way? At half time Camacho turns to Deportivo, brining on Diego Tristán, Valerón and César to join Sergio (and Makaay of course), with Tiko and Capi also coming on to make their debuts. Things improve a bit, but Spain are lacking a creator, a Guardiola, Xavi or Mendieta, who could make the difference. Capi and Valerón go close, Tiko hits a couple of good free kicks and Tristán drives another just over the bar. But this is not their day, and with seven changes during the game (Puyol switching to central defence etc.), it ends up being a training match. Camacho only has one more game against Northern Ireland next month to decide who he takes to South Korea / Japan, and he must now surely pick those players for the last game. He says he will most likely take Mendieta and if Guardiola's name is not too long and complicated for his marketing men maybe him as well. Otherwise he has a lot to choose from, Luis Enrique, Urzaiz, Salgado, Munitis, Tamudo, Baraja, Xavi, Rufete etc., plenty of class up front and in midfield but maybe lacking a bit in defence. He has to make his mind up quickly though. Time is running out.