England were frustratingly denied a win in this match when Van der Vaart equalised with just four minutes remaining. The visitors had welcomed back Joe Cole to the team after a knee injury, the first time he had played for his country this season due to the injury. Micah Richards was handed his debut by McClaren after being surprisingly included in the squad and made a fine start to his senior international career.
With the manager having named a 28-man squad at the outset, the squad was depleted to 21 after a number of withdrawals due to injury prior to the game.
The first real chance to open the scoring in this friendly came from Chelsea's Robben after he beat Micah Richards. Paul Robinson made a good save from Robben but the ball was met by Landzaat's head, however the effort went wide of England's goal. A poor back pass in the 12th minute from Boulahrouz, almost cost Holland, however as Gerrard siezed the ball, and was clean on goal, Timmer saved the weak shot. Van der Vaart was involved in a few Dutch opportunities but nothing materialised until later in the game.
Wayne Rooney missed a great chance just before he gave England the lead. Cole found Johnson and the Everton forward played the ball on to Rooney, but rather than volleying the ball home, the Manchester United star opted to head the ball and Timmer made an easy save. Rooney made amends for his miss when in the 37th minute he met a wonderful curling Joe Cole cross in the box and knocked the ball into the net. It was his first England goal since 12 November 2005 when he scored against Argentina. England went into the dressing room at half-time in the lead.
England had started the game with a 4-3-3 formation but switched to a 4-4-2 just before Rooney's goal, and at the start of the second half they looked to have reverted back to a 4-3-3! Holland went in to the second half in search of the equaliser and possibly hoping for more. Seedorf went close to scoring in the 49th minute with a great left-foot volley, but fortunately Carrick was on hand to thwart the attempt. On a counter-attack later, Rooney tried his luck for a second goal but his shot was comfortably stopped by Stekerenburg.
Michael Carrick was just a fraction away from scoring a delightful goal from 25 yards out but his shot went just wide of Holland's goal. Sixteen minutes later Van der Vaart put the home side on equal terms and cost England the win, despite a lovely looking shot from Gerrard moments from the final whistle. Robben took a long throw which went to Venegoor of Hesselink. The Celtic player played the ball to Van der Vaart who fired the ball past Robinson from 10 yards out.
So ends another year of football for the national side, but not the season, which still has a long way to go. England must re-group to regain first place in their Euro 2008 qualifying group, which was lost last month when they fell to third place after losing to Croatia and drawing with Macedonia.
Timmer #1 (Stekerenburg 46 mins - #16), Boulahrouz #2 (Jaliens 61 mins - #12), Ooijer #3 (Vennegoor of Hesselink 84 mins - #19), Mathijsen #4, Emanuelson #5, Landzaat #8,
Schaars #6, Seedorf #10, Van der Vaart #7, Kuyt #9 (Huntelaar 61 mins - #18), Robben.
Subs Not Used: De Cler #13, Mendes Da Silva #14, Sno #15, Maduro #17, Heitinga #20.
Robinson #1, Richards #2, R Ferdinand #5, Terry #6, A Cole #3, Gerrard #4, Carrick #7, Lampard #8, J Cole #11 (Richardson 76 mins - #17), Rooney #9, Johnson #10 (Wright-Phillips 74 mins - #19).
Subs Not Used: Bridge #12, Foster #13, Brown #14, Carragher #15, Dawson #16, G Neville #18, Defoe #20, Crouch #21. (Full Squad)
Holland Goal: Van der Vaart (86 mins)
England Goal: Rooney (37 mins)
England Caution: A Cole (75 mins)
Referee: Lubos Michel (Slovakia)