Netherlands coach pleased with early World Cup qualification

The Hague, Sep 11 (IANS) The Netherlands became the first European team to qualify for the 2014 football World Cup, a satisfying feat for head coach Louis van Gaal.

After a 2-2 draw against Estonia in Tallinn Friday, the Dutch national team defeated Andorra 2-0 Tuesday in Andorra la Vella. Manchester United striker Robin van Persie scored both goals in the second half, reports Xinhua.

"This was the goal we wanted to achieve and we could not do it faster than this," Van Gaal reacted to Dutch TV channel NOS.

"We had to rebuild the team after Euro 2012. We changed the squad and still we managed to qualify as first European team, with a goal difference of plus 20. I think we did a good job."

The win was enough for qualification, as Romania lost 0-2 at home to Turkey. With two match rounds remaining, the Dutch already secured the top spot in Group D with 22 points out of eight matches, eight points ahead of Hungary and nine ahead of Turkey and Romania.

Just like four years ago, the Netherlands were the first European team to qualify for the World Cup. The Dutch secured their 10th World Cup participation.

Since 1990, the Netherlands have only failed to qualify once. Under current coach Van Gaal, the Oranje missed out on the 2002 edition.

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