Holland had already lost their first two games of the Tournament and this Sunday they were again beaten, as Portugal booked their place in the quarter final with a 2-1 win alongside Group winners Germany, who defeated Denmark 2-1. This is the first time in the last six European Championships that the current World Cup runners up had failed to make it into the knock out stages.
The only way that Holland could have gotten through on Sunday was by beating Portugal by two clear goals and hoping for a German win against Denmark. Joachim Löw’s team did their bit and Holland began as if they might well be in with a chance of pulling off an unlikely comeback when, with a line up dedicated to attack, Van der Vaart put them ahead on 11 minutes. Unfortunately for the Dutch, Ronaldo had other ideas and just before the half hour, he pulled Portugal level.
23 minutes for Afellay
Ibrahim Afellay started on the bench and was finally brought on for the struggling Williams on 67 minutes with the scores still level. His appearance soon began to have an effect, beefing up the attack, but a quick counter attack from Portugal saw Nani lay on a second for Cristiano Ronaldo and sink any hopes Holland might have had.
Afellay played 71 minutes in the first game against Denmark and was taken off against Germany in the second, but despite that and this Sunday’s 23 minutes, there was nothing he could do to help keep Holland, who had begun as one of the favourites, in the tournament.