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England downed by late Robben goal
Published : 29 Feb 2012 22:16:51
Stuart Pearce's first game as England's interim manager ended in a 3-2 defeat as Holland's Arjen Robben scored an injury-time winner in the friendly international at Wembley.
Holland struck twice in two minutes early in the second half through Robben and substitute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
Gary Cahill and Ashley Young looked to have salvaged a draw for England by netting twice in three minutes but Robben had the final say.
The Dutch dominated the early exchanges with captain Scott Parker making several crucial challenges, while Robben was denied by goalkeeper Joe Hart. But the home side came more into the game towards the interval with the impressive Adam Johnson going close.
After 57 minutes Robben broke the deadlock with a superb finish.
Substitute Daniel Sturridge was dispossessed but there was still plenty of work for Robben to do as he attacked the penalty area from the half-way line. He was unchallenged and drove a low shot past Hart into the corner of the net.
Sixty seconds later Huntelaar doubled Holland's lead as he got above Chris Smalling to head home a right-wing centre from Dirk Kuyt.
Huntelaar and Smalling both had to be substituted after a clash of heads by Luuk De Jong and Phil Jones respectively before play could continue. The England player, who was stretchered off, looked the more seriously injured of the pair.
Cahill reduced the arrears after 85 minutes when running onto a pass from Leighton Baines, and in injury-time Young appeared to have salvaged a draw for England when he chipped the ball over Maarten Stekelenburg after good play by Theo Walcott and Jones.
However, a minute later Robben curled the ball past Hart for a Dutch winner.