Netherlands hit six in final Euro 2012 warm-up

Inspired by an impressive Robin van Persie, the Netherlands finished their Euro 2012 preparations in fine style by thrashing Northern Ireland 6-0 in Amsterdam on Saturday.

After consecutive losses to Bayern Munich and Bulgaria and a laboured 2-0 win over Slovakia, the beaten finalists at the last World Cup reasserted their Euro credentials as they prepare to fly out to their base in Krakow, Poland.

The one-sided success against a Northern Ireland side ranked 87th in the world also validated the tactical choices of coach Bert van Marwijk, notably in attack.

Van Marwijk appears to have definitively settled on van Persie to spearhead the Dutch attack, relegating Bundesliga top scorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of Schalke to a place on the bench.

Perfectly supported by playmaker Wesley Sneijder, and with Arjen Robben and Ibrahim Afellay in menacing mood on the flanks, Arsenal striker van Persie scored two goals.

The first, in the 11th minute, was a back-post header from a Sneijder cross, while the second came from the penalty spot on the half hour after visiting defender Michael Duff had been penalised for handball.

Sandwiched between van Persie's brace was a sumptuous 25-yard free-kick from Sneijder that cleared the wall before dipping inside goalkeeper Lee Camp's right-hand post.

Van Persie turned provider for Holland's fourth goal in the 37th minute, teeing up Afellay to send a crisp finish into the bottom-left corner.

Afellay missed a large portion of last season after injuring his knee following his move to Barcelona, but he made it 5-0 in the 52nd minute with a well-directed shot from just outside the 18-yard box.

Defender Ron Vlaar sealed victory with a powerful near-post header in the 78th minute.

The Netherlands were drawn in Group B at the Euro, where they will face Germany, Portugal and Denmark.

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