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Page last updated at 20:44 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 21:44 UK

Netherlands 2-2 England

Jermain Defoe
Jermain Defoe celebrates his first goal for England against the Netherlands

By Phil McNulty

Jermain Defoe struck twice as England came from two goals down at the interval against the Netherlands to earn a creditable draw in Amsterdam.

Dirk Kuyt and Rafael Van der Vaart punished errors by Rio Ferdinand and Gareth Barry to give the Dutch control.

But Defoe came off the bench to race clear and pull a goal back after 49 minutes to give England hope.

And he steered in a cross from fellow substitute James Milner with 13 minutes left as England finished strongly.

England coach Fabio Capello will have mixed feelings about the performance of his side - and will demand the basic errors that cost two goals be eradicated as the build up continues towards what he hopes will be a serious World Cup challenge in South Africa next summer.

But he will be delighted by the spirit shown as England fought their way back into contention with Defoe as the spearhead, helped by impressive cameos from two other substitutes in Carlton Cole and Milner.

England's hopes of a morale-boosting result were undermined by a dreadful error from Ferdinand that gifted the Dutch an early goal.

Ferdinand's attempted backpass was desperately casual and fell well short of Robert Green, allowing Kuyt to round the keeper before finding the roof of the net via the outstretched leg of the despairing John Terry.

England almost hit back after 17 minutes when Glen Johnson's clever pass released Frank Lampard inside the area, but his powerful shot was blocked by the legs of Netherlands keeper Maarten Stekelenburg.

David Beckham was prominent in the early exchanges, and he set up Barry for a long-range shot that flew just over the top.

Green was then forced to save with his legs after Van der Vaart's free-kick found Kuyt at the far post, before another calamitous moment of carelessness allowed the Dutch to double their advantage.

This time Barry was the culprit with a pass straight to the feet of Arjen Robben. Green did well to block his shot, but Van der Vaart was on hand to steer home the rebound.

Capello made three changes at the interval, sending on Defoe, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Michael Carrick for Emile Heskey, Beckham and Barry.

And they reaped an instant reward inside four minutes of the restart when Defoe raced clear on to Lampard's pass and beat Stekelenburg off the inside of an upright.

Defoe was lively and got on the end of a cross from Milner, introduced for his England debut as a substitute after 67 minutes, only to head just over.

And Cole, on for Wayne Rooney, shot inches wide seconds later as England pressed for an equaliser in impressive fashion.

England were in the ascendancy, and it was no surprise when they drew level with 13 minutes left when Milner outstripped John Heitinga on the left flank and provided a perfect cross for Defoe to pounce again inside the six-yard box.

It set the stage for a powerful finish by Capello's side, as the Dutch were forced on to the back foot in the closing stages as England pushed for an unlikely victory.


Holland: Stekelenburg, Heitinga, Ooijer, Mathijsen, Braafheid, De Jong, Schaars (Mendes Da Silva 82), Van der Vaart (Sneijder 46), Robben (Afellay 55), van Persie (Babel 46), Kuyt (Huntelaar 78).
Subs Not Used: Vorm, Marcellis, Van Der Wiel, De Zeeuw.

Goals: Kuyt 10, Van der Vaart 38.

England: Green, Johnson, Ashley Cole (Bridge 84), Ferdinand, Terry, Barry (Carrick 46), Beckham (Wright-Phillips 46), Lampard, Young (Milner 68), Heskey (Defoe 46), Rooney (Carlton Cole 59).
Subs Not Used: Robinson, Upson, Lescott, Walcott, Hart.

Goals: Defoe 49, 77.

Att: 50,000

Ref: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy).



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