This fixture signalled the start of an exciting new season that will conclude with the World Cup Finals in South Africa. In preparation for their final push on qualification for the Finals (England are currently sitting in first place in EUFA qualifying group 6), England travelled to Holland for the first of two friendlies before they play another qualifier next month. Steven Gerrard pulled out of the squad prior to the match as a precaution due to a groin problem, while David Beckham started the match, earning his 113th cap.
England fell behind after only ten minutes when Kuyt latched on to a sloppy back pass from Rio Ferdinand, which was intended for Robert Green. The Dutchman was able to round Green to give his side the lead, despite England captain, Terry's, effort to stop the ball going in the net.
Frank Lampard almost equalized in the 17th minute but Stekelenburg managed to block the midfielder's shot. Gareth Barry was also close with a shot in the 28th minute, but the ball went just over the bar.
Green was required to make a save from Kuyt following Dutch a corner, but the homeside then extended their lead courtesy of an error from Gareth Barry in the 38th minute. The Manchester City player saw his pass go straight to Robben, and while Green was able to block his shot, the rebound went to Van der Vaart who increased Holland's lead.
Looking to try out more players, Fabio Capello made three changes to his line-up during half-time. The most significant change was in replacing Emile Heskey with Jermaine Defoe. Having only played four minutes, Defoe pulled a goal back for England when he ran on to Lampard's pass to beat Stekelenburg.
Defoe almost increased his tally a little later when he met a cross from Milner, making his debut, but his header went just over the bar. Carlton Cole was also unlucky when a shot from him went inches wide of Stekelenburg's goal. James Milner, making a good start in his progression from the Under-21s to senior team, was involved in England's equalizer when he crossed the ball to Defoe, who was able to put the ball away from six yards in the 77th minute of play.
After trailing 2-0 at half-time, England fought back in Amsterdam to earn a credible draw against FIFA's third rank team (England are currently in 7th place). However, Capello was upset that England left themselves open to the counter-attack late in the game. Thankfully Holland did not capitalise and had they done so, this was fortunately not a competitive match. Should England win their next competitive match, against Croatia next month, they will have a place in next year's World Cup Finals.
Stekelenburg #1, Heitinga #2, Mathijsen #4, Ooijer #3, Braafheid #5, Van der Vaart #10 - Captain (Sneijder 46 mins - #14), Robben #11 (Afellay 55 mins - #17), De Jong #6, Schaars #8 (Mednes Da Silva 82 mins - #19), Kuyt #9 (Huntelaar 78 mins - #20), Van Persie #7 (Babel 46 mins - #18).
Subs Not Used: Vorm #16, Van der Wiel #13, Marcellis #12, De Zeeuw #15.
Green #1, Ferdinand #5, A Cole #3 (Bridge 84 mins - #14), Terry #6 - Captain, Johnson #2, Barry #4 (Carrick 46 mins - #18), Beckham #7 (Wright-Phillips 46 mins - #17), Lampard #8, A Young #11 (Milner 68 mins - #13), Heskey #9 (Defoe #46 mins - #19), Rooney #10 (C Cole 59 mins - #20).
Subs Not Used: Robinson #12, Hart #21, Lescott #16, Upson #15, Walcott #22. (Full Squad)
Holland Goals: Kuyt (10 mins), Van der Vaart (38 mins)
England Goals: Defoe (49 & 77 mins)
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)