Paris: Forward Robin van Persie scored twice as Holland qualified for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil with a 2-0 away win over Andorra in Group D yesterday.
Van Persie’s stinging shot from outside the area in the 49th minute opened the scoring for the Dutch - the first team from Europe to book a place at next year’s finals - and four minutes later he scored with a tap-in after a defensive blunder.
The win in Andorra-la-Velle against a defensive home side put Holland on 22 points and beyond the reach of their group rivals after Romania earlier lost 2-0 at home to Turkey.
It is the 10th time Holland have qualified for the World Cup finals. They were runners-up in 1974, 1978 and at the last tournament in South Africa in 2010.
Meanwhile, Italy secured qualification for the 2014 World Cup with two games to spare after a patchy but dominant 2-1 win over the Czech Republic.
The four-time champions now have 20 points from eight games played in qualifying Group B, seven more than Bulgaria with two qualifiers remaining.
Meanwhile, England inched closer to qualifying for next year’s World Cup after surviving a number of scares to record a potentially crucial 0-0 draw against Ukraine in Kiev.
Ukraine had an early penalty appeal waved away and gave the visitors several nervous moments on a tense night at the Olympic Stadium, but Roy Hodgson’s men held on to move a point clear in European qualifying Group H.
Victories over Montenegro and Poland in their final two home games next month will give England a place in Brazil, but they will hope for improved performances after a muddled display in the Ukrainian capital.
The point means Ukraine remain within a point of England although they are now in second place, behind Montenegro on goal difference.AGENCIES