World of Sport

England v Netherlands: Classic matches

World of Sport

England take on Netherlands in a friendly at Wembley on Wednesday night.

The Dutch arrive at Wembley as hot favourites, with the visitors having finished as runners-up at the last World Cup - while England's young squad have been dogged by injuries.

As ever between two traditional footballing nations, a great tussle is expected. We look back at some of the best England v Netherlands matches from down the years.

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2002 (Friendly) Netherlands 1-1 England

This match was notable for two reasons: Michael Ricketts and Darius Vassell both made their international debuts, and both experienced markedly different fortunes.

Sven-Goran Eriksson employed a 4-3-3 formation for the first time in his reign, with Ricketts and Vassell flanking Emile Heskey.

Patrick Kluivert opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Ruud van Nistelrooy's flick-on deflected inadvertently off Sol Campbell's outstretched leg to allow the striker to finish coolly past goalkeeper Nigel Martyn.

Two substitutions were made at half-time with Kevin Phillips replacing the ineffectual Ricketts, and Wayne Bridge making way for Chris Powell.

Vassell equalised in the 61st minute with an emphatic scissor-kick past Edwin van der Sar from David Beckham's cross out on the right. The former Villa forward would go on to win a further 21 England caps, while Ricketts was confined to that solitary first-half appearance.

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England's Darius Vassell scores the equalising goal on his debut against Holland

1996 (European Championships, group stage) England 4-1 Netherlands

The match will be remembered for the potent strike-force of Teddy Sheringham and Alan Shearer, who between them scored all four goals for the buoyant hosts as they combined in almost telepathic fashion.

Kluivert netted a consolation for Netherlands in the 78th minute, but by then England had routed their opponents with some inspired football.

The goal which stood out was Shearer's second and England's third. Sheringham executed a sublime dummied lay-off to his strike partner, who drilled his shot fiercely into the top corner of the net to finish the move with aplomb as the Wembley crowd were sent into raptures.

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Alan Shearer celebrates with Teddy Sheringham after scoring England's third goal

1993 (World Cup qualifier) Netherlands 2-0 England

The match infamous for the best and worst of Netherlands skipper Ronald Koeman, and the documentary that focused on England manager Graham Taylor's subsequent touchline meltdown  (and made "do I not like that!" a common cry up and down the country for several years).

England were desperate for a victory after a late penalty had seen the Dutch steal a point at Wembley. And it all seemed to be going to plan when captain David Platt was clean through on goal with the score at 0-0... but he was hauled down just outside the box by the last man, Koeman.

Referee Karl-Josef Assenmacher of Germany gave a free kick but nothing else, to the fury of Taylor, who felt the defender should have been shown the red card.

Koeman, to compound England's misery, later proceeded to plant an exquisite free kick into the top corner of David Seaman's net. Dennis Bergkamp duly doubled the Dutch lead to bury England's World Cup hopes.

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Graham Taylor during the infamous World Cup qualifier that cost him his job.

1988 (European Championships, group stage) England 1-3 Netherlands

Netherlands, and Marco van Basten in particular, were imperious at the 1988 European Championships, and England were put to the sword at the Rheinstadion in Dusseldorf.

Van Basten opened the scoring in the 43rd minute with a stunning swivel and shot after England striker Gary Lineker had struck the post from a tight angle.

'Captain Marvel' Bryan Robson equalised for Sir Bobby Robson's side just after half time with a bundled finish over Hans van Breukelen following a slick one-two with Lineker, before a crisp left-footed strike from Van Basten in the 71st minute.

The striker completed his hat-trick with a back-post volley five minutes later, beating Peter Shilton on what was his 100th England cap. The Dutch would not look back, with captain Ruud Gullit later lifting the trophy after yet another Van Basten goal - yes, that one - in the final.

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Ruud Gullit masterminding the win over England

1946 (Friendly) England 8-2 Netherlands

Walter Winterbottom's side raced into a 5-0 lead inside the first 35 minutes, courtesy of a hat-trick from centre-forward Tommy Lawton. Sir Tom Finney added a sixth on the brink of half-time, before Lawton scored his fourth, and England's eighth in the 78th minute.

Lawton, who had just joined Chelsea for £11,500, notched 22 goals in 23 appearances for his country, having also represented Notts County and Everton, with the thrashing of the Dutch at Leeds Road, Huddersfield a crowning moment in his career.

The delightfully-named Kick Smit grabbed a consolation strike in the 87th minute to narrow the deficit to 8-2. England's thrashing could have been even more emphatic had captain George Hardwick converted a first-half penalty.

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Tommy Lawton leaping for a header at Wembley

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