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Wednesday, 21 June, 2000, 22:05 GMT 23:05 UK
Dutch delighted to top group
Frank de Boer
Frank de Boer drills home a free kick to make it 2-2
Dutch goalscorer Frank de Boer insisted winning Group D was crucial to Holland as they ensured home advantage in their quarter final with victory over France.

The Dutch now play Yugoslavia while France meet Spain in Bruges - and de Boer claims that is another crucial advantage to have been won by the Dutch.

"I think it's important that we ended on top of the group," De Boer said.



It's important that we ended on top of the group

Holland's Frank de Boer
"Spain are a lot stronger than Yugoslavia as an opponent. Yugoslavia played a tough match today and picked up some red and yellow cards and that could be to our advantage," de Boer said.

The Dutch are coming into form after a slow start and de Boer believes they are now justifying their position as pre-tournament favourites.


Frank De Boer celebrates with Patrick Kluivert
Frank De Boer celebrates with Patrick Kluivert

"In the first two matches we didn't play well but won, whereas here in the first half we played well and found ourselves 2-1 down.

"We hardly allowed them any chances but they scored twice from nothing situations," he said.

"In the second half we were lucky that the game turned around with my free-kick," he added.

Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard praised his team for their comeback and set his sights firmly on lifting the trophy on home soil on July 2.

"We made things difficult for ourselves and were chasing the game and we only got a grip on the game once we had equalised," he said.

Dangerous

"We had to defend further up the pitch and play more simple football but the lads reacted fantastically in the second half."

"But we were playing the world champions, who are very dangerous up front.

"We showed we can equal France and do better than them."

France coach Roger Lemerre was happy that France played their part in the classiest game of the tournament so far.

"It was a high quality game against very solid opposition and it was played in a wonderful atmosphere. I am satisfied with my team," he said.

It was a high-quality game. Now I hope we can meet Holland in the final

French coach Roger Lemerre

"The Dutch played very strongly and the match was decided by Frank de Boer's free-kick. It changed the course of the game.

"Every one of the teams reaching the quarter-final is a good side," he added.

"But I am very satisfied with both our defence and our attack. Now I just hope we can meet Holland again in the final."

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See also:

21 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Group D goes Dutch
21 Jun 00 | Euro2000
France v Holland clockwatch
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