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Watford defender Lee Hodson in Northern Ireland team heavily beaten by Netherlands
Lee Hodson played the full 90 minutes as an understrength Northern Ireland team crashed to a 6-0 defeat against the Netherlands in Amsterdam.
With three players making their senior debuts and a further eight regulars missing, Michael O’Neill’s side found themselves 4-0 down by the interval but they managed to restrict one of the favourites for Euro 2012 to just two further goals after the break.
“It was a tough night for everyone concerned,” the manager said after the match, “I can’t fault the players in relation to their efforts.
“The class was evident for everyone watching the game and it was evident to us watching from the side.
“It was very difficult for us. We had an inexperienced side against a team that’s preparing for a major tournament and one of the favourites to win that major tournament.
“We were asking the lads to play that have had three days training in the last five or six weeks. It was unrealistic to expect too much from them.
“It’s difficult to see if we’ve learned anything. The hurt to their personal and professional pride is where they’ll learn because I think they’ll come back and will want to be stronger as a result of that.”
The Watford full-back and his international team-mates found themselves 2-0 down inside 13 minutes when Robin van Persie converted a Wesley Sneijder delivery with a back-post header before Sneijder struck with a superb free-kick.
Van Persie doubled his tally from the penalty spot in the 28th minute after Shane Ferguson had been adjudged to have handled, and the Arsenal striker turned provider nine minutes before half-time for Ibrahim Afellay to make it 4-0.
The same two players combined for the fifth nine minutes into the second half, with Afellay curling in from 20 yards, before Ron Vlaar completed a good night’s work for the Dutch on 78 minutes, heading home a corner.